Making it stick : navigating the paradox of gender mainstreaming through frictional encounters in South Sudan
May 10, 2017
Zeleke, Elleni Centime
Conflict continues to be a part of daily existence in South Sudan. While the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan in 2015 sought to bring the two warring factions together, violence is still a reality for thousands fleeing the country. Women in particular are implicated in these struggles; since July 2016, 90% of the refugees have been women and children. Given this context, I analyze UNSCR 1325 and its rhetoric of "gender mainstreaming" in all levels of peace processes to understand the problematic of gender in South Sudan. I pose the question: How is gender mainstreaming -- as articulated by UN Resolution 1325 -- taken up within South Sudan and in what ways do these dynamics manifest themselves in the overall landscape of peacebuilding? Ultimately, I argue that gender mainstreaming inhabits a paradoxical state in South Sudan. While it is a necessary policy and integral component for further peace processes, its ideology continues to fragment women’s experience and compartmentalize their practical and strategic interests. While regional actors attempt to navigate this problematic, it is on the localized level that individuals utilize the universalized notions of gender mainstreaming and local realities to renegotiate the discourse of mainstreaming. Consequently, this friction produces an understanding of women that moves beyond the liberal paradigm to recognize women’s full agency and complicate notions of what is necessary in the overall framework of peacebuilding in South Sudan.
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