From gender-blind to gender-transformative reintegration: Women’s experiences with social reintegration in Guatemala

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Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) processes have become a standard component of international peace and security programming. Yet in spite of increasing attention to the need for gender-sensitive DDR in policy and academic debates, the stereotypical ways in which female ex-combatants have traditionally been addressed have led to inadequate gendered reintegration policies. This article describes the effects of a gender-blind reintegration process on the experiences with long-term social reintegration of female ex-combatants in Guatemala. Social reintegration is a profoundly gendered process, which involves the rebuilding of civilian identities, social relationships and trust between social groups. Based on in-depth interviews with female ex-combatants, this article describes how the absence of gender-sensitive reintegration strategies produced various problems for women. They faced problematic emotional and family relationships leading to psychological problems and even violence, as well as persisting stigma which produces anxiety and problems in the labour market. The article concludes with suggestions for making reintegration a gender-transformative process, by crossing the private-public divide, increasing collective strategies, and better aligning with transitional justice processes.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
JournalInternational Feminist Journal of Politics
Early online date23 Jun 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Jun 2020