Civil war and female empowerment
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Conflict Resolution. 2021, 65 (5), 1-28. 10.1177/0022002720983409
Recent research has directed attention to the transformative potential of war for female empowerment. As a disruptive shock, armed conflict can create a window of opportunity for advancing the societal role of women. We complement this research agenda by looking at how conflict severity and termination condition the outcomes for women in the aftermath of civil conflict. We expect that both level of violence and mode of resolution affect subsequent female empowerment, where severe conflicts ending by a negotiated settlement have the greatest transformative potential. Consistent with expectations, we find that post-conflict improvements in female empowerment occur primarily after high-intensity civil conflicts. However, subsequent tests reveal that this effect is driven largely by conflicts terminated by peace agreements. The greatest improvement in female empowerment is seen when peace agreements have gender-specific provisions. These results support calls for a sustained effort toward mainstreaming gender issues in conflict resolution and peacebuilding processes.