The impact of conflict on women?s education, employment and health care (2009)

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There is a large body of literature on the impacts of conflict on women‘s access to services and employment. There is, however, much less written on the role of restricted freedom of movement in this relationship. Whilst the focus of this helpdesk report is on the latter, it includes literature which addresses both issues.
It is difficult to make universal statements about the impact of armed conflict on the lives of women given differences in culture, geography, and context.  The extent to which conflict restricts women‘s freedom of movement depends on a number of factors including the stage of conflict, whether the women are displaced, whether they are directly or indirectly affected by the conflict, and the cultural norms of the conflict-affected area. Forced displacement, for example, may in some cases lead to greater mobility. It can mean women assuming additional responsibilities such as taking on the role of primary breadwinner. In other contexts, women may be perceived as less threatening and thus may have more mobility to carry out economic activities which men are no longer able to do. Furthermore, women may, in some cases, be given priority for training and development programmes in health and education, as well as in income-generating activities. 
Nevertheless, it is generally accepted that the fear of violence more often than not restricts women's freedom of movement. In times of political, economic and social uncertainty, there is a strong tendency to revert to traditional values (e.g. the requirement that women are accompanied by their husband or a male relative when travelling) which appear to offer protection for women and girls but which restrict their mobility. Fear of attack may prevent women from working in fields and fetching water and firewood, and stop children from going to school.
Language: English
Imprint: Governance and Social Development Resource Centre (GSDRC) 2009
Series: Report,