Women and Nation-Building

Women and Nation-Building

Cheryl Benard
Seth G. Jones
Olga Oliker
Cathryn Quantic Thurston
Brooke K. Stearns
Kristen Cordell
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 212
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  • Book Info
    Women and Nation-Building
    Book Description:

    Using a case study of Afghanistan, this study examines gender-specific impacts of conflict and post-conflict and the ways they may affect women differently than they affect men. It analyzes the role of women in the nation-building process and considers outcomes that might occur if current practices were modified. Recommendations are made for improving data collection in conflict zones and for enhancing the outcomes of nation-building programs.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4449-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  8. Acronyms and Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)

    This study was undertaken to examine the role of women in post-conflict nation-building and, conversely, to better understand the impact of post-conflict societal circumstances and nation-building processes on the status and situation of female populations.

    Like research on post-conflict nation-building in general, our work was hampered by the lack of availability and poor reliability of data. One of our principal recommendations, therefore, concerns improving data collection. Without reliable data, the efficacy of programs is very difficult to assess, and this presents a serious obstacle to the development of effective programs and instruments of nation-building.

    Fortunately, the case study of Afghanistan...

  10. CHAPTER TWO The Security Dimension and Women
    (pp. 15-36)

    Within the post-conflict security context, women participate as victims, combatants, protectors, and peacemakers—all difficult and complex roles that deserve our attention. This chapter seeks to better understand women and security during reconstruction and nation-building missions, highlighting recent examples from Afghanistan. It asks three questions: How has the security environment impacted women in Afghanistan? How have women impacted the security environment there? And how can the security situation be improved for women and for the country more broadly?

    In 2001, the United States orchestrated a rapid military victory in Afghanistan. A combination of U.S. Special Operations and CIA forces, air...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Planning and Implementing Programs for Women’s Health and Education: Building Indicators of Success
    (pp. 37-58)

    This chapter examines the vital issue of planning and data mechanisms in the nation-building context, highlighting the role of health and education indicators. Such mechanisms provide feedback regarding ongoing nation-building programs and guide policy choices and resource allocations for the future. These determinants, when collected with precision and focus, are crucial to the continual redefining of the scope and goals of the nation-building mission. Moreover, development of best practices for such data collection and assessment could successfully integrate women at all levels of the policy-planning process.

    The chapter begins with an overview of useful current data regarding women in Afghanistan;...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Governance and Women
    (pp. 59-80)

    Conflict challenges the civil-societal infrastructure of a nation, placing further constraints on already marginalized groups and closing avenues for possible protection of rights. In the post-conflict context, nation-builders have an opportunity to establish a credible civil social system (most vitally, state mechanisms of governance and justice) that will reestablish this infrastructure while institutionalizing and mainstreaming women’s roles.

    Governance encompasses the process of decisionmaking about the management of the state and the delivery of its functions, as well as the way in which those decisions are implemented.¹ In post-conflict settings, the return to peace and normalcy is reflected not only in...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Economic Participation and Women
    (pp. 81-106)

    The economy of Afghanistan has “probably done more to modify male-female relations than all the human rights rhetoric of the past fifty years or more.”¹ In the post-conflict context, the reestablishment of a viable economic system presents both challenges and opportunities to nation-builders. By understanding women’s complex long-term roles within the economic system, it is possible to support culturally salient best practices for guiding this relationship in the future.

    Any effort to assess female participation in the Afghan economy, either now or during the Taliban period, must be viewed with skepticism. The structure of the economy and women’s roles in...

  14. CHAPTER SIX A Case Study: The National Solidarity Program
    (pp. 107-128)

    With its explicit gender-related goals and the visible presence of foreign implementers, Afghanistan’s National Solidarity Program (NSP) could have been expected to invoke the sort of resistance to women’s participation in nation-building that we discussed in Chapter One. A large number of NGOs were deployed to the field to implement and oversee the program, and their records provide rich material for understanding and assessing the processes on the ground. This case study illustrates that while it was not easy to obtain the participation of women, neither was this in any instance a “deal-breaker” or even a major source of discord....

  15. CHAPTER SEVEN Recommendations
    (pp. 129-138)

    In the coming years, nation-building missions in complex post-conflict environments will continue to engage the United States and the international community. Policymakers and practitioners alike must take care to evaluate present nation-building exercises. Clearly, this evaluation will need to be outcomes-based and will need to focus on the female majority of the populations in question.

    Intervention goals should be clear and unequivocal. Stakeholders in post-conflict contexts would most likely agree that promoting women’s rights is a general goal, but at times, agreeing to a common definition of women’s rights is a challenge. Women’s rights can mean different things to different...

  16. APPENDIX A Education and Health Indicators for Women and Girls
    (pp. 139-144)
  17. APPENDIX B Vital Governance Milestones for Afghan Women
    (pp. 145-164)
  18. APPENDIX C National Solidarity Program Case-Study Survey
    (pp. 165-168)
  19. Bibliography
    (pp. 169-192)