Between the Hammer and the Anvil: Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Islam and Women’s Rights

Authored by: Deniz Kandiyoti

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Democratization and Political Participation, International Law, National Security Forces and Armed Groups, Post-Conflict Reconstruction
Country: Afghanistan, Iraq
Region: South and Central Asia
Year: 2007
Citation: Kandiyoti, Deniz. "Between the Hammer and the Anvil: Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Islam and Women's Rights." Third World Quarterly 28, no. 3 (2007): 503-517.

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This paper argues that gender issues are becoming politicized in novel and counterproductive ways in contexts where armed interventions usher in new blueprints for governance and ‘ democratization.’ Using illustrations from constitutional and electoral processes in Afghanistan and Iraq, it analyses how the nature of emerging political settlements in environments of high risk and insecurity may jeopardize stated international commitments to a women’s rights agenda. The disjuncture between stated aims and observed outcomes becomes particularly acute in contexts where security and the rule of law are severely compromised, where Islam becomes a stake in power struggles among contending factions and where ethnic/sectarian constituencies are locked in struggles of representation in defense of their collective rights.