The Missing Peace: Gender Considerations in Colombia’s Reintegration Efforts

Authored by: Alexandra Amling

Categories: Statebuilding, Violent Conflict
Sub-Categories: Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR), National Security Forces and Armed Groups, Peacemaking
Country: Colombia
Region: Latin America and the Caribbean
Year: 2019
Citation: Amling, Alexandra. The Missing Peace: Gender Considerations in Colombia's Reintegration Efforts. One Earth Future, 2019.

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Executive Summary

Gender perspectives are understood as the differences in needs and challenges of men, women, boys, and girls which are based on the social construction of gender roles and norms. In DDR processes as well as in relation to other aspects of the implementation of peace agreements, these differences are often missing or not properly identified, resulting in women and girls not being able to access services and benefits. This report analyzes and contextualizes the challenges and experiences of generations of Colombian ex-combatants. Their combined experiences indicate that overall, reintegration in Colombia continues to be a challenging endeavor, especially where gender is concerned. Indeed, except for a few female FARC combatants and politically active female ex-combatants, the understanding of gender equality and knowledge of women’s rights have not permeated beyond the borders of Colombia’s urban centers. The report will extend beyond whether women and girls are simply being accounted for. In the absence of a clear understanding of the gendered nature of conflict and gender dynamics within armed groups, DDR programs generally tend to neglect the role of gender identities, whereby both men and women may struggle to live up to the expectations that their culture may place on them. In this context, there is the persistent, binary association of men as perpetrators of violence and woman as victims. When their experiences do not match the cultural expectation, men and women face difficulties with acceptance of their attitudes and behaviors. As such, looking backward to move forward is essential for implementing peace and driving reconciliation in Colombia. While not insurmountable, a few key issues stand out that offer insights on how to drive the implementation of the peace process with the FARC but also on how to advance progress for DDR processes generally