The Clash of Violent Conflict, Good Jobs, and Gender Norms in Four Economies

Abstract

This study draws on a large qualitative dataset from Afghanistan, Liberia, Sudan and West Bank and Gaza to explore the effects of violent armed conflict on gender norms, men's and women's perceptions of agency and empowerment, and the strong normative frameworks that surround economic participation. The findings reaffirm the sharply different effects of conflict on women and men found in the wider literature. Men widely report emasculation as their economic opportunities deteriorate due to conflict. For women, by contrast, the stressful conflict environment seems to weaken some confining norms and structures, opening up space for them to exercise more authority in their households and gain more economic independence. The study finds limited evidence, however, that by itself women's increased empowerment in such harsh circumstances can accelerate change in inequitable gender norms, or make local markets and other community institutions more welcoming of their initiatives. Men's and women's agency appears to be interdependent, and together shape the prospects for gender norm change and inclusive post-conflict recovery processes.

Citation

Petesch, P. The Clash of Violent Conflict, Good Jobs, and Gender Norms in Four Economies. The World Bank, Washington DC, USA (2012) 36 pp.

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