Transitional justice refers to legal and quasi-legal mechanisms of accountability for widespread human rights violations in the aftermath of conflict or repression. Although a relatively new field of scholarship, gender has been a prominent sub-stream of transitional justice literature since the field’s inception, linked to broader demands for accountability for gender-based violence under international law. The key concerns of this body of gender and transitional justice scholarship have been the pursuit of accountability for specifically gendered harms, the inclusion of women in mechanisms of accountability, and increasing attention to the role of transitional justice in constructing ideal types of post-conflict masculinity and femininity. This chapter provides an introduction and overview to gender and transitional justice, focusing on the key lines of academic debate, as well as the key mechanisms of post-conflict transitional justice activity, namely prosecutions, truth recovery, reparations and institutional reform.
The chapter provides an introduction and overview of key themes and dilemmas in gender scholarship and practice in transitional justice. The chapter begins by addressing preliminary definitional issues concerning ‘gender’, while also outlining the international normative and policy framework that guides the treatment of gender in transitional justice practice. The chapter identifies and outlines the following key themes of gender work in the field: the definition of ‘harm’ in transitional justice; addressing structural gender inequalities through transitional justice; the participation of women in processes and mechanisms; the place of men and masculinities; and practice to date in addressing violations experienced by sexual minorities. The chapter considers some of the enduring dilemmas in gender work in transitional justice, in particular the ongoing challenge of operationalising gender in practice, whether such efforts should be principally technical or transformative, and the gender implications of the mooted relationship of transitional justice to empire. The chapter concludes by emphasizing the importance of translating scholarly and policy developments into gender-equitable outcomes in transitional justice.Gender; harm; inequalities; masculinities; sexual minorities; empire