The different roles women and men play in deadly conflicts and in efforts to prevent and resolve them remain under-researched and analysed. At Crisis Group, we seek to understand the relationship between conflict dynamics and gender identities, and to integrate all relevant perspectives in our analysis and policy prescriptions. We believe that proactively including women’s voices in the field of security and post-conflict reconstruction is critical to building resilient societies and shaping solutions for lasting peace. We have long advocated the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and subsequent resolutions on gender-based violence; greater gender diversity in political leadership and within security forces; and increased women’s participation in peace processes.
Women have suffered violence and abuse by Boko Haram, but they are not only victims: some joined the jihadists voluntarily, others fight the insurgency, or work in relief and reconciliation. Women’s experiences should inform policies to tackle the insurgency, and facilitate their contribution to peace.
For some women trapped in domestic life, Boko Haram offers an escape. But this reflects a huge abyss of desperation among women and a failure of society in the northeast [of Nigeria].