Pathways and Barriers for Women’s Mobilization during Civil War: Nepal, Colombia, and Rwanda in Comparative Perspective

Peace & Change, Volume 46, Issue 1, Page 71-97, January 2021.


Under what conditions do barriers to women’s mobilization erode or emerge across various stages of civil war? The article draws upon evidence from three cases of civil war: Nepal (1996–2006), Colombia (1964–2016), and Rwanda (1990–1994). Comparative analysis of the escalation, peacemaking, and recovery process in each case reveals that the mechanisms shaping the erosion and emergence of barriers to women’s mobilization are highly interactive across all three stages of conflict. In particular, the study highlights three concepts that are essential for understanding whether or not barriers to women’s mobilization continue to erode after civil war: (1) institutional tokenism, (2) social friction, and (3) capacity to govern patriarchal backlash. This study of pathways for women’s mobilization during civil wars has important implications for the study of the interactive relationship between formal and informal institutions, and research on long‐term peacebuilding efforts designed to ameliorate deeply embedded structural and cultural violence.

This was originally published on Wiley: Peace & Change: Table of Contents.