Auteur / Author : Dina Rodríguez, Peruvian and Edith Natukunda-Togboa ONLINE
Titre / Title : Gender and Peace Building in Africa. A Reader
Collection / Series :
Editeur / Publisher : University for Peace EN
Année / Year : 2005   Nbr. Pages :      192 pages / 5,5 Mb     Taille / Size


Evaluation / Book review.
The Gender and Peace Building in Africa reader contains scholarly articles authored by Africans on issues of gender and peace building in Africa. This publication, which comes as a product of two Faculty and Staff Development Seminars in Zambia involving the University for Peace (UPEACE) Department for Gender and Peace Studies, intends to provide a platform to debate current issues of gender in conflict situations, their destabilising consequences on the economic development of Africa and the efforts being made to build bridges of peace with a gender perspective.
The publication involves contributions from 10 countries and 11 of the 13 contributors are African. All contributors agree that, in spite of the various ways in which women contribute to the peace process, formal peace negotiations and traditional institutions exclude women from participation in leadership and decision making positions (Emebet Mulugeta Tefera). Moreover, the gains made in gender relations during conflicts are usually reversed in the post conflict period (Desmond Olounphe George-Williams). The contributions that women have made not only to peace efforts, but also during war times have typically been invisibilised, making the practice of exclusion from peace processes easier to impose. The description of women in all these narratives only as victims also negates women’s participation and reinforces stereotypes about their capabilities.
Most of the contributors describe the differential impact of conflict and its added weight on women and girls, including contracting and living with HIV/AIDS (Emebet Kebede, Yas Taherzadeh). Particular attention is paid to the description of the experience of the girl child during war, outlining atrocities committed against girls, and noting that the line between victims and perpetrators has been erased in modern conflicts (Catherine Onekalit).
This volume also explores important developments towards gender equity and gives clear suggestions about how to strengthen this central principle in organising for a different world. Gender is offered as a possible tool for building peace while noting the numerous gains that women have made in their struggle for gender equity, which is necessary for social and political development (Mary E. King). The importance of education for women is underscored as a path towards greater political stability and democratic rights and the need to support multiple efforts for the empowerment of women. Also discussed is the need for this change to be made at policy level in order to create equal sharing of benefits between women and men, and make possible the gender mainstreaming of all spheres during a peace process (Consolata Kabonesa). Gender equity and human rights are intrinsically connected and struggling for one means struggling for human rights for all (Stany Ntaka Nsamala). Equality does not mean that women and men will become the same, but that women’s and men’s rights responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born male or female (Medard Rugyendo). Peace seems also to depend on multiplying peace building direct actions as demonstrated by the women's non-violent protest against the might of oil companies in the Niger Delta (Iyenemi Norman Wokoma). Finally, this volume presents a new vision, where peace will indeed have a new meaning in a world yet to be constructed and one also where justice will be for all (Mary Ang’wa). Utilizing some new pedagogical approaches (Amr Abdalla) will hopefully helps us in our path towards liberation.

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