Limitations and Opportunities of Reparations for Women’s Empowerment

Authored by: Kelli Muddell

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Political Transitions, Transitional Justice
Region: No Region
Year: 2009
Citation: Muddell, Kelli. Limitations and Opportunities of Reparations for Women’s Empowerment. New York: International Center for Transitional Justice, 2009.

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Executive Summary

Reparations play a unique role within the transitional justice framework in providing justice for victims. Through both material and symbolic measures, the harms inflicted on victims can be recognized and to some extent repaired. Reparations focus more directly on victims and their needs than any other accountability mechanism. Unfortunately, very few reparations programs to date have taken women victims into account in design and implementation. This failure not only affects the participation of women victims in these programs but also runs the risk of reinforcing gender inequalities within societies. Reparations are often viewed as a way to help restore victims to being equal rights holders; however, women often do not hold the same rights as men during peacetime. In fact, these inequities contribute to women’s vulnerability to certain forms of violence during conflict, and in turn, this violence exacerbates women’s vulnerabilities in the post-conflict period.