SOAS University of London

SOAS scholar gives recommendations on exiting violence to impact peace-building policies focusing on women

4 September 2018

SOAS Professor of Gender Studies Nadje Al-Ali has presented findings from a working group looking at women and violence as part of a major International Panel on Exiting Violence (IPEV) project that seeks to establish a new approach and dialogue with policy-makers and practitioners to exit violence.

The IPEV is a multidisciplinary community of nearly 200 international researchers and specialists. The aim of this project is to produce an analytical report containing recommendations for political and social decision-makers on exiting violence with special focus on the Middle East and North Africa.

Professor Al-Ali’s presented findings of the working group consisting of 6 international gender studies scholars to a number of policy-makers, researchers, activists and journalists at roundtable sessions in both New York and Washington DC, hosted by the Carnegie Foundation.  Her contributions to the report have been based on her long-standing research and activism in relation to Iraq, Egypt, Turkey and Lebanon.

Some of the key findings included highlighting that there is a link between increased militarisation of society and the increase of gender-based violence; that women experience violence before, during and after conflict, and the importance of considering regional, national and local factors when looking at violence against women.

Nadje IPEV conference

The recommendations informed by these finding are:

  • The politics of gender (contestations about gender norms) can be used as a litmus test in relation to degrees of democracy and authoritarianism
  • Discussions of any form of violence should not be gender blind
  • Exiting violence must include people working on the issues of gender-based equality and justice
  • The importance of involving women in decision-making processes
  • We should not fetishize nor glorify women fighters
  • Careful use of foreign policies and discourses that can be also counter-productive (i.e., measuring civilisation in terms of what women wear, creates a backlash against women’s rights)

The findings from this working group has informed a chapter available in the IPEV reports to be released later this year.