Study on the Traditional and Changing Role of Gender and Women in Peacebuilding in South Sudan

Jan 4, 2021

This report is the result of a short-term study on the traditional and changing roles of gender and women in peace-building. The study involved field research in five locations (Aweil, Bentiu, Bor, Rumbek and Torit). The purpose of the study is to research how the traditional and changing roles of women/girls and men/boys, conflict dynamics in South Sudan and to recommend to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), potential partners, on possible further peace initiatives. This study contributes to UNDP’s work with women, with regard to resolving peace and security issues in the region. The study offers critical analysis in understanding of the unique potential contribution of South Sudanese women in national reconciliation and peace building. The study aims to enable the government of South Sudan and international donors to more effectively mainstream gender initiatives into their policies, programs and future activities.

The study focused on two objectives:

Assessing the extent to which gender norms and values have changed following the December 2013 and July 2016 conflicts.

Assessing the extent of gender-based violence (GBV) in the selected conflict clusters. This includes: Mapping gender-based violence. Documenting existing trends toward gender equality. Assessing successful women’s empowerment interventions. Suggesting strategies to address GBV and to promote peaceful co-existence.

One of the study hypotheses was that there are complex systems of values, individual beliefs, social expectations, reinforcements and punishments in South Sudan that support violent practices. Conflict related sexual violence (CRSV) and gender-based violence within the family, between couples and within the communities seems to have become the social norm in many areas. South Sudanese communities have, historically, not taken active measures to discourage this type of violence, particularly against women.

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