[TimorLesteStudies] New journal article on gender in post-conflict Timor-Leste

Sara Niner saraniner at gmail.com
Thu Aug 18 12:13:18 EST 2011

International Feminist Journal of Politics  Volume
Issue 3 <http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rfjp20/13/3>, 2011
*Hakat Klot,* Narrow *Steps*


This paper explores contemporary gender roles, particularly those of women,
in the post-conflict or post-war setting of Timor-Leste (East Timor). This
exploration is made in terms of feminist academic Cynthia Enloe's analysis
of gender dynamics in post-war societies. A well-documented gender
inequality, favouring men, is evident in East Timor and there is pressure
for women to conform to ‘traditional’ cultural norms now the war is over.
However, through a tracing of gender historically, I argue that
‘traditional’ social patterns are problematic to define. I will also argue
that those pushing women to return to ‘tradition’ are simply advocating a
subordinate role for women.

The impact of conflict and violence has been profound for the new nation and
its people, so that today both public and private, or domestic, violence is
pervasive. Part of this impact is the dominance of an elite male political
and military leadership, mostly from former resistance organizations, who
are seen as largely responsible for outbreaks of violence on a national
scale (occurring between 2004 and 2008). In Enloe's terms such a post-war
society may be characterized as militaristic in nature. When such post-war
societies privilege a militarized masculinity it is sure to have a
detrimental effect on women's participation. I argue here that this dynamic
is central to the current pressure for women in Timor-Leste to return to
‘traditional’ roles now the conflict is over.

*Dr. Sara Niner
** *School of Political and Social Inquiry, Monash University
Building H Caulfield Campus (H.5.43)
900 Dandenong Road, Victoria 3145 Australia
Ph:  +61 3 99032108
Mob: +61 (0)417 357 298
Email: sara.niner at monash.edu
To find out more about my research go to http://saraniner.blogspot.com/


Sara Niner
Australia Ph: 0417 357 298
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