Efforts to address the gender dimensions of governance, peace and security in Africa have registered some success. At the same time, fundamental challenges remain. These challenges continue to relegate gender issues to the periphery of peace and security. Among other things; this policy paper discusses the disconnect between policy, scholarship and activism; and the reality on the ground. It argues, among other things, that there is not yet a narrative that moves Africa towards transformation in gender relations in peace and security processes in Africa. The paper makes a set of observations which, in part, explain the absence of a qualitative shift toward gender equality in these fields. It offers some proposals for relocating gender considerations in mainstream governance, peace and security discourse and practice.
When weighed against expressed goals, at least in declarations and policies relating to gender peace and security, there are noticeable gaps and challenges. These have been consistent in the last two decades. They include, for example, analysis, policy and practice of gender peace and security which keep gender issues isolated from the field of security. Some of these include:
These recommendations attempt to deal with the gaps and challenges outlined in this paper.
Analysts should endeavour to take a more comprehensive approach when analysing gender in peace and security processes. They should make more organic linkages between gender and mainstream security.
African organisations should more consciously institutionalise the principles of Resolution 1325 into their methods of work, practice and daily life. They need to move beyond the technical checklists entrenched by their claims of gender mainstreaming.
Policy-making institutions and agencies should take a more holistic approach to the development and application of policy frameworks. For example, greater consultation with people working in the
Women’s groups and organisations seeking to place – and keep – issues of women’s equality at the core of the security policy agenda should become more grounded in mainstream peace and security processes and dialogues. For example, we need to analyse where we are located at this point in peace and security. Should we be doing greater analysis of the military and security industries? Including examining military expenditure against the national budget?