Gender and Transitional Justice : A (Wo)Men’s Issue

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Studies which focus on conflicts, politics, human rights and international relations are under continuous development. New theories and understandings of the world surrounding us emerge because the world is continuously changing. One of the research developments regarding conflicts and human rights in the last few decades has been the emergence of a field called ‘transitional justice’. Though already used in the aftermath of the Second World War, transitional justice has only recently gained more attention by researchers and still seems to be shaping itself as an independent field of study. Another world-wide change with regard to the studies of conflicts, international relations, and human rights has been the increase in focus on women’s rights and women’s participation - specifically at political levels - from the 1990’s onward (Reilly 2007, 161). This increased emphasis on including women in political decision-making and gaining knowledge of consequences of certain policies for women in comparison to men has been extensively addressed by feminist researchers in the last years. Though often focussing on women and their rights, this field also stresses the importance of understanding societal differences between the position of men and women and may, therefore, in many cases be labelled as gender-studies. Both being relatively new fields of study, theory combining transitional justice with gender research is still in its developmental stage. Researchers who have made efforts to link gender to transitional justice in the last few years are Reilly (2007), Bell and O’Rourke (2007), Rooney (2007) and Bell, Campbell and Aoláin (2007).
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