Policy Paper: Understanding Gender Disparity in the Conflict-affected Settings of the North West and South West Regions
This paper draws from both Focus Group Discussion data and literature on the Anglophone Crisis to discuss gender roles within the context of the conflict. It examines these roles and their effects from the perspective of women and girls, and suggests courses of action.
The crisis in the North-West and South-West regions has led to a huge change in the narrative around gender perspectives in Cameroon. It has affected the roles of women in the political, economic, and social set-ups in these regions. As regards gender disparity, the effects of the crisis in these regions have different realities for men and women. These realities are evident in general observations that women are disproportionately impacted by conflict situations due to their gender. The International Crisis Group reports that women and children have suffered hugely and stand as the most affected by the ongoing conflict in the NW and SW regions. Nevertheless, the understanding that women are affected differently by the conflict is fundamental to this paper. Women tend to occupy different roles and responsibilities within the conflict setting. They are therefore not considered victims only, but also perpetrators of violence in these regions. Since the start of the conflict, women have played many roles, either in active combat or as part of the separatist militias’ support structure. It is therefore critical to examine the gender situations of women in the midst of the conflict in the NW/SW regions, with a focus on how the conflict is affecting their participation in the political and social life of the regions. This paper further examines the specific effects of the conflict on women, presents two case studies of women’s efforts towards building peace in the region and suggests the way forward.
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