v10_1999c - 2 LOOKING AT PEACE THROUGH WOMEN’S EYES:...

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Unformatted text preview: 2 LOOKING AT PEACE THROUGH WOMEN’S EYES: GENDER-BASED DISCRIMINATION IN THE SALVADORAN PEACE PROCESS1 Emma Na‘slund An assessment of international legal norms on the rights of women and men to equal treatment reveals that the Salvadoran Peace Accords discriminate based on gender, promoting in- equality between women and men. Five different sets of factors create barriers to women’s full and equal enjoyment of El Salvador’s peace: ideological, legal, structural, participatory, and budgetary. By excluding women from education, techno— logical assistance, land, and agricultural credit, the Peace Accords have far-reaching financial, political, legal, and psy— chological implications that affect women and their depen- dents. El Salvador’s cautionary lesson makes it clear that gender—related issues must be addressed explicitly at an early stage of any peace process. Remedies for gender—based dis— crimination need not be created in a void. Over the last half— century, international legal norms have buttressed the case for gender equality. Future peace accords should incorporate these norms, and reduce the obstacles preventing women from enjoying peace. INTRODUCTION The Salvadoran peace process has been praised as the “jewel of peace efforts” (Tamayo 1997, A43) and the “great reconciliation success story (Robertson 1997, AU.” Former United Nations Secretary—General Boutros Emma Na'slund is a Master in Public Afiairs candidate at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University. Looking at Peace Through Women ’5 Eye; 1 7 Boutros—Ghali has claimed that the process allows the Salvadoran people to “realize their own potential in freedom (United Nations 1995b, 7) .” In addition, the parties to the conflict, the Salvadoran Government and the rebel coalition Farabundo Marti NationalLiberation Front (FMLN) , have asserted that the accords are being “implemented fully and urgently for the benefit of all Salvadorans (United Nations 1 994, 4).” Paradoxically, feminists and women activists criticize the same peace process for exclud— ing 52.9 percent of the Salvadoran population (Murguialday 1996), for not “reflecting the reality ofSalvadoran women,” (Connexions 1993, 28) and of representing a “betrayal” of women by the FMLN (Cosgrove and Morgan 1994, 20). While the peace accords signed on January 16, 1992 ended 12 years of bloody civil war and began a transition to democracy, the accords failed to address many social problems, including those related to gender relations. In contrast to the stipulations on political and security issues, the accords’ social and economic agreements are couched in legalistic, often imprecise and ambiguous language. Feminist critics have noted that the peace agreement does not address poverty, environmental degradation, existing gender relations, and the inequitable distribution of wealth. Nevertheless, no scholarly evaluation has detailed whether the Peace Accords meet the accepted definition of gender equality based on international legal norms. A systematic review of the Peace Accords is necessary to determine whether the critique from women’s movements is legitimate. An assessment of international legal norms reveals that the Salvadoran Peace Accords discriminate based on gender. This gender discrimination has been operating ever since the Peace Accords were signed to bar women from fully participating in the peace process. Their exclusion has had particularly severe implications for land transfer programs and for pro— grams designed to reintegrate ex—combatants into Salvadoran society. Discriminatory formulations have impacted both loan access and techni— cal assistance. Reversing discriminatory practices and strengthening women’s posi- tion in the post-war Salvadoran transitional process depends 'on the adaptation and implementation ofpeace—building policies in compliance with international legal norms. Such an approach will help overcome the legal, ideological, and structural barriers that exclude women. The situa— tion also demands that peace-building efforts draw on the experience‘of all affected sectors of society, for the participation ofcivil society is crucial in the formulation of any new peace—building policies. Moreover, an expla- nation ofgender—based discrimination in El Salvador’s peace process will 18 Emma Nfislund help avoid similar practices in other peace efforts that might be undertaken outside the Salvadoran context. To develop this argument, this paper first describes the fundamental features of the Salvadoran Peace Accords and explores the various ramifi— cations of its gender bias for the peace process as a whole and for Salvadoran women and their dependents in particular. On this basis, the sections of the Peace Accords most criticized by women’s movements are compared to legal norms governing gender discrimination as established in international conventions and other international instruments. Finally, the paper speculates about the causes of discrimination and describes alternative approaches to gender and peace—building. RAMIFICATIONS FOR WOMEN AND THEIR DEPENDENTS The Peace Accords were developed through a series of six principal agreements, addressing a wide range of issues, including: significant reductions in the size and powers of the armed forces; the creation of a new national civil police; judicial and electoral reforms; economic and social development; political participation by the FMLN; cessation of the armed conflict; and United Nations verification (El SalvadorAgreements 1 992). The women’s movement has criticized Chapter V, which outlines the agreements on economic and social development, for ignoring gender concerns. The chapter encompasses six areas central to the consolidation phase of the peace process: unequal land distribution, agricultural credits, measures to alleviate the social costs of structural adjustment programs, international cooperation for community development, the Forum for Economic and Social Consultation, and the National Reconstruction Plan (El Salvador Agreements 1992). The chapter has become a delicate matter, causing the FMLN and the Government to accuse each other of violating provisions related to land rights, credit, and repatriation. Indeed, all major stipulations have been the subject of controversies over interpre— tation and complaints of non—compliance (Vickers 1992). Reintegration of War—affected Groups into Civilian Life Civil wars disrupt the lives of all citizens, but hurt some groups dispropor— tionately (Ball and Halevy 1996). Particularly disadvantaged are combat— ants and their dependents and uprooted populations that have been forced to leave their homes. In the case of El Salvador, the International Conference on Central American Refugees (CIREFCA) distinguishes among three categories of uprooted populations. The repatriated popula— tion includes groups that sought refuge in other Central American Looking at Peace T/mnfg/y Women ’5 Exec 19 countries and returned to the Salvadoran conflict—zones before the end of the war and refugees who remain abroad. The displaced population, amounting to half a million people—or one out of every ten Salvador— ans—comprises people living in other areas of the country as a conse— quence of the conflict (INCEP 1989). A 1991 census of the uprooted population reveals that it encompasses predominantly women and chil— dren. Approximately 60 percent are female, nearly 60 percent are children, and roughly 80 percent of the heads of household are women (Aguilar Zinser 1991). The uprooted populations and former combatants have similar needs, and reintegration programs ideally should be linked with community— based rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts (Ball and Halevy 1996). The reintegration efforts outlined in Chapter V of the Salvadoran Peace Accords, however, predominantly target ex-combatants; uprootedwomen and their dependents are not mentioned at all. Starting with the definition of the target groups for credit, Chapter V stipulates “an increase in loans by the commercial banks to small businessmen” (El Salvador Agreements 1992, §5A), but makes no reference to the needs of any especially vulnerable groups. Likewise, the definition of beneficiaries for technical assistance makes no mention of the most disadvantaged groups, but simply states that “peasant farmers and smallholders” (El Salvador Agree- ments 1992, §5C) should be targeted. Although this definition does not explicitly exclude women, the norm in El Salvador is to interpret both peasants and smallholders as meaning men. Statistics from the 1985 Home Survey indicate the extent to which ideological factors operate to underestimate and render invisible the agricultural labor of Salvadoran women. Only 11.9 percent of the women surveyed indicated that they worked in agriculture, whereas the corresponding figure for men was 45 per cent, or nearly all men in rural areas (FUDEM 1 992) . This data stands in sharp contrast to the general estimate among social scientists that roughly half of Salvadoran women are engaged in agricultural activities (ARIAS 1992). Clearly, many women engaged in agricultural activities do not perceive themselves as legitimate contributors in the agricultural sphere. Similarly, even if women are engaged in extensive farming activi- ties, they are rarely registered as landowners. The few exceptions are women who inherited the land in families where there are no men (ARIAS 1 992). It follows that the term “smallholder” has a strong male connota— tron. In addition, the section describing the measures to be taken to alleviate the social costs of structural adjustment programs (SAPS) makes no 20 Emma Ndslund reference to women and their dependents—even though this group has been found in multiple studies to suffer disproportionately from the implementation of such programs.2 While not explicitly stating that women are excluded, the restriction of actions to be taken to the strength— ening of “existing social welfare programs” (El SalvadorAgreements 1992, §6C) does not allow for the creation of new programs targeted at previously disadvantaged groups. Similarly, when outlining the procedures for direct external coopera— tion for community development and assistance projects, the target group is defined as “former combatants of both parties” (El SalvadorAgreements 1992, §7). To interpret who is eligible based on this criterion, the norm has been to use FMLN’s definition of ex—combatant, which defines beneficiaries in a way that only includes the “male head of household (Murguialday 1996, 48).” Women who are married or living with a partner are directly excluded, which must be regarded as highly discrimi— natory against women. Even if the word “male” were dropped, the term “head of household” would still serve to exclude many women. This is true, not because there are few defacto women—headed households, but because there are strong cultural and ideological constraints impeding most Salvadoran women from registering as dejure heads of household. As a result, only approximately one fifth of dejure heads of households are women (Garcia and Gomariz 1989). Little information is available on the number of ale flzcto women—headed households, but it is generally assumed to be well above the proportion of those that have dejure status. Among uprooted populations, for example, CIREFCA estimates that 80 per cent of the households are defizcto headed by women (ARIAS 1992). Women members of the FAES were generally engaged in supportive and care— taking functions (Murguialday 1996) . Hence, from the perspective of the Salvadoran government, the group “former combatants” does not encom— pass women. Because Chapter V failed to provide a gender—sensitive peace building approach, it is hardly surprising that the reintegration efforts undertaken since the signing of the Peace Accords have “largely left out” (Saint— Germain 1997, 87) women. Although no comprehensive gender—based evaluation is available on the reintegration programs, a review of the goals and objectives of the principal efforts in this area reveals a dominant focus on male ex—combatants.5 When resources are scarce, women have been excluded from the reintegration programs based on the rationale that “it would not be enough . . . if women were included (Saint—Germain 1997, 88—9).” Moreover, although no complete set of data is available on the Looking at Peace Through Women ’5 Eye: 21 relative size of the credit provided, the generally accepted notion is that when women do benefit from credit schemes they receive below average sized loans. In addition, the limited number of women with access to training and credit have been prepared for traditional “women’s work” that can be carried out within the domestic sphere, such as embroidery and dairy farming.4 As one women—activist puts it, “Reintegration programs for ex—combatants have not prevented the reintegration of female ex- guerrilla members back into the home (Murguialday 1996, 48).” Women’s Access to Land and Agricultural Resources Among the economically active population in El Salvador, 54.6 percent are engaged in agricultural activities (Cafias 1992a). As indicated above, the official estimate of the proportion of women engaged in agricultural activities—below 12 per cent—is arguably well below the mark. Probably closer to the truth and to the consensus among social scientists is the estimate that the large majority of the rural female population—half of Salvadoran women—is engaged in agricultural activities. The invisibility of women in agriculture became all the more apparent during the land reform implementation in the early 19805, which sought to lessen the social tension generated by inequitable land distribution. Eighty—seven percent of the producers controlled less than a fifth of the agricultural land, while 2.7 percent controlled over half the territory (Montoya 1 99 1 a) . Nevertheless, a 199 1 evaluation of the reform indicates that it benefited only around 3 per cent of the men and never encompassed the most disenfranchised, including women (ARIAS 1992). Women also were excluded from access to other productive resources, such as credit and other support services. In the words of a representative of the Arias Foundation, “The land reform benefited very few men and ignored or marginalized the women (ARIAS 1992, 55).” Chapter V of the Accords gave the pretense of following up on the agrarian reform of the 1 9805, guaranteeing the fulfillment of Articles 1 05 and 267 of the Salvadoran Constitution, which restrict the land controlled by one individual to 245 acres. In addition, the Government agreed to sell all state-owned lands not part of natural reserves. The state land and any other land voluntarily offered for sale by their owners will be distributed under different transfer programs. Not only are women not mentioned in the section outlining the provisions for the land transfer program, but by defining the target group as landless “former combatants from both Parties” and “the beneficiaries of the agrarian reform” (El Salvador Agreements 1992, V, 2B) of the 19805, it effectively excludes women. 22 Emma Ndslund Women’s Participation in Institution Building Much recent debate about peace building emphasizes the contribution of non—state civil society actors to promote conflict resolution and peace processes. Drawing on the experiences of ordinary members of civil society and seeking to enhance their contributions to peace building is regarded as vital for sustaining the agreements reached at the political level, and also works to strengthen the role and activities of the state in the long run.5 Yet women had no part in the last two sections of Chapter V of the Salvadoran Peace Accords, which establish the Forum for Economic and Social Consultation and create the National Reconstruction Plan. The Forum for Economic and Social Consultation seeks to establish consensus on economic policies. “The most representative labor and business organizations” (El Salvador Agreements 1992, §8Ca) are singled out as participants and, in addition, “the Forum may invite other sectors and political sectors,” but only “as observers (El Salvador Agreements 1992, §8Cb).” Although in theory this terminology does not completely bar women and women’s organizations, in practice women’s organiza- tions have not been invited. Hence, these groups regard themselves as “excluded from the Forum (Murguialday 1996, 48).” Moreover, the absence of women’s representatives from this political mechanism has important policy implications. As an example, it has prevented the women’s movement from effectively advocating the “incorporation into the labor code of wage equality, job security for pregnant women, and sanctions against sexual harassment at work (Murguialday 1996, 48).” The stated goals of the National Reconstruction Plan are “integrated development of zones affected by the conflict, satisfaction of the most immediate needs of the population hardest hit by the conflict and former combatants of both Parties, and the reconstruction of damaged infrastruc— ture (El Salvador Agreements 1992, V, 9).” With the exception of the problem described above related to the definition ofex—combatants, these target groups and areas certainly leave room for the design of a gender inclusive Reconstruction Plan. Nevertheless, a review of the Plan reveals that the failure to make explicit reference to women and their dependents led in practice to their almost complete exclusion from the Plan (MIPLAN 1992). In contrast, more emphasis was placed in the Plan, as well as in its subsequent implementation (Ball and Halevy 1 996), on the needs of male ex—combatants. A conceivable explanation is that the needs of this latter group had been outlined in greater detail in the Peace Accords, including “fellowships, employment and pension programs, housing programs and programs for starting up businesses (El Salvador Agreements 1 992, V, 9) .” Loo/fig at Peace Through Women ’5 Eyes 23 INTERNATIONAL LEGAL NORMS AND THE SALVADORAN PEACE PROCESS The above discussion raises the question whether the observed gender differences violate international legal norms for discrimination. In ad— dressing this question, this section first explores the relevant legal norms on the rights ofwomen and men to equal treatment, developed during the last five decades by the international community. These norms concern discrimination based on gender in the determination of legal status, the access to government services, and the right to own land. On this basis, through a comparative analysis of international legal norms and the observed gender differences in the Salvadoran peace process, this section assesses the prevalence of gender—based discrimination. International Standards and Legal Norms In 1945, the Charter of the United Nations set out the basic framework for eliminating gender—based discrimination. The Preamble begins “We the peoples of the United Nations,” and reaffirms not only “faith in fundamental human rights,” but also “the equal rights of men and women.” In addition, three Articles of the Charter specifically proclaim the equality of rights. Most important is Article 1, paragraph 3, stating as one of the purposes of the United Nations the promotion and encourage- ment of “respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.” Article 55 further emphasizes the United Nations’ role in promoting these same rights and freedoms, and in Article 56 all member states pledge themselves “to take joint and separate action in cooperating with the Organization for the achievement of the purposes set forth in Article 55.” The failure of the F MLN and the Salvadoran Government to promote and encourage the equal rights for women and men in the Peace Accords violates all three articles. In the years following the adoption of the United Nations Charter, the organization has been instrumental in elaborating on these articles through the design and adoption of a number of international conventions, platforms, and guidelines. One of the more important instruments is the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which in Article 2 pro— claims that the rights and freedoms set forth in the document shall be enjoyed by everyone “without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion.” Another significant instrument is the 1967 Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, which, for the first time, sets out the principle that 24 Emma Niislund discrimination against women is fundamentally unjust and constitutes an offense against human dignity. It also labels gender—discrimination a practice incompatible with the welfare of the family and society. The most comprehensive document on gender—based discrimination is the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAVV). The legally binding Convention, which is sometimes also referred to as the “women’s human rights bill,” commits governments to take all appropriate measures to ensure the full develop- ment and advancement of women. Over 160 countries are party to the Convention (United Nations 1997), including El Salvador, which ratified it in 1981 (United Nations 1991). The convention was the first interna— tional legal instrument to define gender—based discrimination, which in Article 1 is described as “any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women irrespective of their marital status, on the basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.” It follows that the Salvadoran Peace Accords gender—exclusive defini- tions of “combatant,” “peasant farmer,” and “businessmen,” are discrimi— natory. Under Article 2, states party to the convention “condemn dis— crimination against women in all its forms” and “agree to pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating discrimina— tion against women.” Under Article 3, parties promise to “take in all fields . . . all appropriate measures, including legislation, to ensure the full development and advancement of women, for the purpose of guarantee— ing them the exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms on the basis of equality with men.” The convention goes on to list specific areas for elimination of discrimination, including the areas covered by the Salvadoran Peace Accords: education, technical assistance, training, employment, credit, and development. These articles reveal that the exclusion of women from Chapter V of the Salvadoran Peace Accords violates a wide range of CEDAW legal principles, all of which the Salvadoran Government ratified. In addition to creating the legal instruments specified above, the UN General Assembly adopted in 1 985 a vital document on gender discrimi- nation: the Nairobi Forward Looking Strategies. The Strategies call for a series of measures for implementing equality at the national level. Specific measures include all the key areas addressed under Chapter V of the Salvadoran Peace Accords: employment, trade and commercial services, education, agriculture, credit, land tenure, political participation, and Looking at Peace Tbroug/v Women’s E26! 25 social services. As indicated earlier, the Salvadoran Peace Accords do not promote gender—specific measures in any of these areas. Clearly relevant to the Salvadoran Peace Accords is the Nairobi document’s proclamation that “peace requires the participation of all members of society, women and men alike (United Nations 1985, §251).” Specific guidelines are provided for national measures to enhance women’s participation in efforts to promote peace, including, under paragraph 253, the encourage— ment at the national level of “women’s equal role in decision—making with respect to peace and related issues.” The absence of Salvadoran women from the Peace negotiations as well as from the Forum for Economic and Social Consultation is clearly not in line with these provisions. Moreover, in the Nairobi Document, for the first time violence against women is addressed as a problem related to peace. The increased gender violence in conflict situations is recognized, and paragraph 258 calls specifically for the establishment of national machinery “to deal with the question of violence against women within the family and society.” It goes without saying that the gender—based violence—sexual harassment, domestic abuse, and rape—that invariably accompanies a climate of armed conflict is not addressed in the Salvadoran Peace Accords. Although not in effect when the Salvadoran Peace Accords were drafted, the Vienna Declaration adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights in 1993 could be used as an instrument to lobby for a reassessment of the National Reconstruction Plan. The Vienna document stresses the importance of “the eradication of any conflicts that may arise between the rights of women and the harmful effects of certain traditional or customary practices, cultural prejudices and religious extremism (United Nations 1993, §38).” It thereby condemns denying women access to resources such as land and credit merely because of traditional practices. Likewise, the Platform for Action from the IV World Conference on Women, which was adopted by the General Assembly in 1995, provides important guidelines on how to make women’s advancement and the protection of their human rights a high priority concern in the formula— tion of national policies. The signatories of the document, including the Salvadoran Government, agree to “take action to promote equal partici- pation of women and equal opportunities for women to participate in all forums and peace activities at all levels, particularly at the decision-making level.” Furthermore, the text calls for the integration of “a gender perspec— tive in the resolution of armed and other conflicts (United Nations 1995a, §142).” These principles are pivotal, not only as weapons against contin- ued gender—based discrimination in the Salvadoran peace process, but also as tools to promote a gender perspective in any future peace efforts. 26 Emma Nfislund Analysis of Gender—Based Discrimination in the Peace Process In light of the above discussion, it is clear that the Salvadoran peace process is inCOnsistent with awide range of international legal norms. As indicated in the table on the next page, the sources of these inconsistencies are of three types. First, the terminology used in Chapter V to define the target groups is gender exclusive, barring women to various degrees from programs. Secondly, the Peace Accords fail completely to address gender related concerns; the document is gender blind. Third, the Peace Accords do not cover certain areas, overlooking issues central to women such as gender—based Violence. As is illustrated in the table, the international legal norms that are violated encompass everything from violations of the UN Charter of 1945 to the inability to live up to the recommendations on access to education, land tenure, and loans established by the 1995 Nairobi Forward Looking Strategies. The table provides a far—from—complete list of available legal norms on gender and women’s issues, encompassing only the principal documents outlined above. POSSIBLE EXPLANATIONS FOR THE DISCRIMINATION Why did neither the Peace Accords nor the restructuring plans directly address gender relations? Neither the Government nor the FMLN has provided an official explanation. Rationales, given by Officers from both factions, tend to reveal a conservative view of the role of women as dependents and of men as heads of families. Men are by definition the breadwinners and intra—family interests are assumed to be gender neutral. It follows that these perceptions could be the reason behind the structuring of plans around families, rather than around individuals. Programs for families are assumed to implicitly benefit women. In addition to this ideological explanation for the gender—based dis— crimination, there were most likely other mechanisms Operating to exclude women from the peace process. Carmen Diana Deere suggests in her analysis of rural women and Latin American land reforms that, in addition tO ideological barriers, there are also legal and structural barriers to women’s access to land (Deere 1986). The most important structural barriers in the Salvadoran land reform of the 1 9805 were scarcity of arable land and rapid demographic growth (Montoya 1991b). Although these factors affected all members of society, it appears that the implications for women were particularly severe, since there was a tendency to reject women’s demands for land based on such structural land scarcity argu— ments (Saint-Germain 1 997). The legal barriers in El Salvador include the Looking at Peace T/yroug/a Women ’5_E_yet 27 Table: Gender—based Discrimination in the Salvadoran Peace Process Source Consequence Legal Norm Violated TARGET GROUP Dmm‘noxvs Beneficiaries of peace Women largely excluded Preamble of the UN Charter; building programs defined in terms that, through customary practice, have male connotations, e.g., businessman, peasant farmer, and smallholder. FMLN’S definition of of ex-combatants as male heads of households. The beneficiaries of the agrarian reform of the 19805 as the target group for the land transfer program. The women’s movement omitted from participation in the Forum for Economic and Social Consultation. GENDER BUNDNFSS Gender related needs not addressed in relation to any part of the Peace Accords. OMITTED AREAS Several areas of particular importance to women are not addressed at all, includ— ing gender—based violence and health care. from the land transfer and other reintegration pro— grams, including agricultural and micro—enterprise loans, technical assistance, services, and training. Women largely excluded from the land transfer and reintegration programs for former combatants. Women largely excluded from the land transfer program, i.e., women remain without legal access to land. Women prevented from effectively advocating gender—related issues. Focus on the needs of families and former male combatants. Women largely excluded from the subsequent peace building initiatives. Few efforts are made to meet gender specific needs of women. §38 of the Vienna Declara— tion; Art. 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Art. 1 and 10 ofthe Declaration on the Elimina— tion of Discrimination against Women; and Art. 1 of CEDAW. Preamble of the UN Charter; §38 of the Vienna Declara— tion; Art. 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and Art. 1 and 10 of the Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimina— tion against Women; and Art. 1 of CEDAW. Preamble of the UN Charter; Art. 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Art. 1 of the Declara— tion on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women; and Art. 1 of CEDAW. Preamble of the UN Charter; Art. 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Art. 1 and 10 ofthe Declaration on the Elimina— tion of Discrimination against Women; Art. 1 of CEDAW; §253 of the Nairobi Strategies; and §142 of the Beijing Platform for Action. Preamble of the UN Charter; Art. 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Art. 1 and 10 of the Declaration on the Elimina— tion of Discrimination against Women; and Art. 1, 2 and 3 of CEDAW. Art. 2 and 3 of CEDAW; and a Wide range issue specific paragraphs offering guidelines for government action, both in the Nairobi Forward Looking Strategies and in the Beijing Platform for Action. 28 Emma Niislund interpretation of peasant farmers and smallholders as the beneficiaries of the land transfer. Women suffer from a lack of representation in civil society in general, and the women’s movement from a commensurate absence from the peace negotiations. This participatory barrier underlies the prevalent legal, ideological, and structural obstacles preventing women from sharing the benefits of the Accords. In November 1989, when the Salvadoran army finally‘ agreed to meet the FMLN at the negotiating table, both sides regarded the women’s movement as irrelevant to the decision-making sphere. As a result, the only women negotiators were two female com— manders on the FMLN team; at the signing of the peace accords, all the signatories were male (El Salvador Agreements 1992). This experience is not unique to El Salvador. As Georgina Waylen has observed, in a global perspective relatively few women are involved in institutional transition politics. This is partly because democratization has not been accompanied by developments toward the wider social and economic equality that would enable broader female participation. In fact, it is fairly common for women’s movements, organizing around practical gender interests, to become increasingly marginalized as the transition continues (W/aylen 1994) Finally, the budgetary barrier must be added to this set of constraints. Insufficient funding for addressing all of the country’s urgent concerns has exacerbated the exclusion of women from the benefits of the peace programs. A justification sometimes given by government officials as well as by members of the F MLN is that budgetary pressures prevent inclusion such as the extension of credits to non-male heads of households. Women’s issues will be addressed, it is argued, when other more urgent needs—the elections in 1 994, the demobilization of ex-combatants, the implementa- tion of the land transfer program, etc.—have been addressed (Cosgrove and Morgan 1994). In sum, it appears that five different sets of factors promoted gender— based inequality in the Salvadoran peace process: ideological, legal, structural, participatory, and budgetary barriers to women’s full and equal enjoyment of the peace. ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES TO GENDER AND PEACE PROCESSES Given the five sets of impediments to women’s benefiting from the peace on equal terms with men, this section outlines the resulting policy implications. During the initial stages of peace building, the emphasis is Looking at Peace Through Women ’5 BE! 29 fl necessarily on implementing the peace accords. In most cases this leaves little time and few resources to address activities outside of those stipulated by the accords but critical to the consolidation of peace (Ball and Halevy 1996). Consequently, gender—related issues must be addressed explicitly at an early stage of a peace process. Remedies for gender-based discrimination need not be created in a void. Over the last half—century, international legal norms have emerged on the rights of women and men to equal treatment. As indicated earlier, these norms specifically address gender—based discrimination. If future peace processes ensure that peace accords do not violate these norms, the impact of ideological, legal, and structural barriers to women’s full enjoyment of peace will be weaker. Such an approach will also alleviate the problems associated with gender blindness and the omission of important issues. In the case of El Salvador, there is an urgent need to amend the National Reconstruction Plan, thereby providing an opportunity to develop new peace-building strategies in accordance With prevailing international legal norms. Guatemala’s peace process, while far from perfect, provides an encour— aging example of ways to overcome participatory constraints. Representa- tives from a Guatemalan Civil Society Assembly—consisting of a wide range of sectors, such as labor unions, the business sector, human rights organizations, the indigenous people’s and the women’s movements—— were allowed to present their views to the negotiating parties. As one of many important consequences, gender considerations are directly ad— dressed throughout the sections of Guatemala’s Peace Accords that refer to social and economic development (URNG and the Government of Guatemala 1996). An apparent lesson to be drawn from the Salvadoran and Guatemalan experiences is the significance of participatory peace processes. Efforts to build peace must draw on the contribution of all affected sectors of society in order to achieve lasting success. Finally, the budgetary impediments to change constitute a particularly weak justification for the prevalence of gender—based discrimination. \While it is true that important budgetary constraints do exist, such justifications only relate to an increase in the actual assistance provided, not to an increase in numbers of people with the right to enjoy peace programs. The actual cost of eliminating the gender—based discrimination should be assessed in order to devise strategies to address resultant budgetary pressures. Such strategies will have to include the development of new needs—based eligibility criteria for a more equitable distribution of scarce resources. 30 Emma Niz'slund CONCLUDING COMMENTS To the degree that peace processes aim to develop the basis for democracy, they'should not incorporate gender—based discrimination. In the Salva- doran peace process, such discrimination has ignored and marginalized a significant portion of the Salvadoran population, thereby preventing the peace process from achieving one of its underlying objectives: “To guarantee unrestricted respect for human rights and reunify Salvadorian society (El Salvador Agreements 1992, Preamble).” Gender-based discrimination might appear to ease budgetary and structural pressures by depriving large segments of the population from the benefits of peace—building programs. However, the extent of the hardship caused by this discrimination is‘multi—faceted. By excluding women from education, technological assistance, land, and agricultural credit, the faulty Peace Accords have far-reaching financial, political, legal, and psychological implications on women and their dependents. A more holistic approach to peace—building, therefore, conceives of peace as a multi—faceted process, which provides new opportunities and challenges for reshaping and transforming the political, economic, and cultural bases of society. The development of such an approach is predicated on compliance with international legal norms as well as on the participation of civil society in general, and of the women’s movement in particular. Notes 1The author expresses her appreciation to Professor Sara Curran for comments on previous drafts. 2See for example Lourdes Beneria and Shelley Feldman eds. 1992. Unequal Burden: Economic Crises, Persistent Poverty, and Women 3 Work. Boulder: Westview Press. 3See for example MIPLAN. 1992. Plan de Reconstruccién Nacional de El Salvador. 4See for example United Nations Development Program. 1997. Work- ing Document Nora Estartégica para El Salvador 1997. 5See for example Carlos M. Vilas. 1993. The Hour of Civil Society. Report on the Americas. Vol. XXVII, No. 2; and Palencia Prado, Tania and David Holiday. 1996. Haeia un Nueuo Rol Ciudaa’ano para Democratizar Guatemala. Montreal: ICHRDD. References Aguilar Zinser, Adolfo. 1991. CIREFCA: The Promise: and Reality of the Interna— tional Conference on Central American Refiegeex: An Independent Report. Wash- ington D.C.: Center for Immigration Policy and Refugee Assistance, Georgetown University. Looking at Peace Through Women ’5 Eyes 31 ARIAS Foundation. 1992. ElAcceso ale la Mujer a la Tierra. San Jose’: Fundacién Arias para la Paz y el Progreso Humano. Ball, Nicole and Tammy Halevy. 1996. Making Peace: The Role ofthe International Development Community. Washington D.C.: Overseas Development Council. Beneria, Lourdes and Shelley Feldman, eds. 1992. Unequal Burden: Economic Crises, Persistent Poverty, and Women’s Work. Boulder: Westview Press. Cafias, Mercedes. 1 992a. Cémo Vivimos y qué Queremos las Mujeres Desarraigadas: Repatriadas, Repobladas y Desplazadas. Autoa'iagnostieo (February). Cafias, Mercedes. 1992b. Gracias a la Guerra, Salimos de las Cocinas, donde solo Estabamos Quemandonos. Fempress No. 131. Connexions. 1993. Special Report: Women and the Peace Process. ConnexionsNo. 41: 28. Cosgrove, Serena, and Betsy Morgan. 1994. Seizing the History in El Salvador. Broadsheet: New Zealand Feminist Magazine. No. 203 (Spring): 20. Deere, Carmen Diana. 1986. La Mujer Rural y la Poll’tica Estatal: la Experiencia Latinoamericana y Caribefia de Reforma Agraria in Carmen Diana Deere and Magdalena Leon eds. La Mujery la Polz’tiea Agraria en Ame’rica Latina, Bogota: Siglo Veintiuno Editores. Frente Farabundo Marti para la Liberacién Nacional and the Government of El Salvador. 1992. El Salvador Agreements: The Path to Peace. Fundacion para el Desarrollo de la Mujer Salvadorefia. 1992. Diagnostieo ale la Situacio’n de la Mujer en El Salvador. San Salvador: FUDEM. Garcia, Ana Isabel, and Enrique Gomariz. 1989. Mujeres Centroamericanas. San Jose’: FLACSO. Herrera, Norma de. 1983. La Mujer en la Revolucién Salvadorefia. Mexico City: COPEC—CECOPE. INCEP. 1989. Centre America: Refugiados, Repatriados y Desplazados. Pan— orama Centroamerieano 21 (May—June): 72. MIPLAN. 1992. Plan de Reconstruccién Nacional de El Salvador. Montoya, Aquiles. 1991a. ElAgro Salvadoren'o antes y despue’s a'e la ReformaAgraria. San Salvador: CINITEC. ————. 1991b. La Realidad Agraria en El Salvador. Revista Estuolios Centroamerieanos XLVI, 512 Uune). ' Murguialday, Clara. 1996. El Salvador en Tiempos de Posguerra. Revista Feminista International: Lola Press 5 (May—October): 48—50. Palencia Prado, Tania and David Holiday. 1996. Haeia un Nuevo Rol Ciurladano para Democratizar Guatemala. Montreal: ICHRDD. Robertson, Tod. 1997. Former Combatants Struggle to build Reconciliation, Forgiveness—They Bury the Bitterness for Sake of their Country. The Seattle Times 24 December, A1. 32 Emma Niislund Saint—Germain, Michelle A.. 1997. Mujeres ’94: Democratic Transformation and the Women’s Movement in El Salvador. Women é‘PoliticsVol. 18, No. 2: 87— 89. Tamayo, Juan 0. 1997. A Pacified El Salvador. T/ae Ema—Picayune, 23 November, A43. United Nations. 1997. Press briefing on The United Nations and the Status of Women. 1. 19953. Report of the Forth World Conference on Women. . 1995b. ONUSAL: Mission Accomplished: United Nations Observer Mission in El Salvador. UN Chronicle, Vol. 32, 2 (lune): 7. . 1994. El Salvador Moves towards Reconciliation: Joint Declaration Signed. UN Chronicle Vol. 31, 4 (December): 4. . 1993. Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. . 1991. Report on the Fifteenth Session of the Committee on the Elimina— tion of all Forms of Discrimination against Women. . 1985. The Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women. . 1979. Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women. . 1967. Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination againstWomen. . 1948. The Universal Declaration on Human Rights. . 1945. Charter of the United Nations. United Nations Development Program. 1 997. Working document Nota Estratégica para El Salvador. Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca and the Government of Guate- mala. 1996. Acuerdo sobre Aspectos Socioeconémicos y Situacién Agraria. Vazquez, Norma. 1996. Revolution, War, and Women in El Salvador. Revista Feminism Intemacional: Lola Press 5 (May—October). Vickers, George. 1992. El Salvador: A Negotiated Revolution. Report on the America: Vol. XXV, 5 (July). Vilas, Carlos M. 1993. The Hour of Civil Society. Report on the America: Vol. XXVII, No. 2. Waylen, Georgina. 1 994. Women and Democratization: Conceptualizing Gender Relations in Transition Politics. World Politics 46 (April). ...
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