Chapter 4: Untangling the gendering of the security-development nexus
This chapter challenges the gendered consequences of simplistic security-development connections. Since Security Sector Reform (SSR) is viewed as the bridge between security and development (Brzoska 2003: 46), bringing the security and development concerns of both men and women into the equation has become an important goal of SSR (Myrttinen 2009: 12). Although implementation of this goal has had to contend with a hostile environment marked by lawlessness, weak justice systems and high levels of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), the problem goes deeper than merely balancing different gender needs in a context of impunity. On paper, SSR appears to alleviate root causes through its focus on reforming the security sector, but the discourse of reform remains narrowly defined within the framework of improving coordination or addressing an implementation gap. Within that context scholars have often used an emphasis on civil society or local ownership, specifically women’s organizations, as the bridge to strengthen the common-sense connection between human security and human development (Tadjbakhsh and Chenoy 2007). The multilevel and multidimensional character of women’s insecurity fits in well with security and development discourses, which prioritize protection and empowerment strategies respectively. While Violence Against Women (VAW), for instance, is understood to be a pervasive form of insecurity with far-reaching socio-developmental implications, an uncritical belief in the cyclical connectedness of security and development leads to an automatic assumption that protection against SGBV would lead to empowerment.
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