First Advisor

Barbara Tint

Date of Publication

Winter 3-29-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Conflict Resolution


Conflict Resolution




Nepāla Kamyunishṭa Pārṭī (Māovādī), Women and peace -- Nepal, Peace-building -- Nepal, Women -- Nepal -- Social conditions, Conflict management -- Nepal, Nepal -- Politics and government -- 1990-, Nepal -- History -- Civil War (1996-2006)



Physical Description

1 online resource (xii, 291 pages)


The proliferation of intrastate armed conflicts has been one of the significant threats to global peace, security, and governance. Such conflicts may trigger resource exploitation, environmental degradation, human rights violations, human and drug trafficking, and terrorism. Women may suffer disproportionately from armed conflicts due to their unequal social status. While they endure the same effects of the conflict as the rest of the population, they also become targets of gender-based violence. However, women can also be active agents of armed conflict and perpetrate violence. Therefore, political and scientific communities at the national and international levels are now increasingly interested in developing a better understanding of the role of women in, and effect on them from, armed conflict. A better understanding of the roles of women in conflict would help to prevent conflicts and promote peace. Following in-depth interviews with civil society members who witnessed the decade-long armed conflict between Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) and the Government of Nepal (GoN) (1996-2006) and thereafter the peacebuildng process, I assess the political and economic agency of women particularly in terms of their role in, and impact on them from, the armed conflict and peacebuilding processes.

My research revealed that a large number of women, particularly those from rural areas, members of socially oppressed groups, poor and productive age (i.e., 14 - 45 years) - participated in the armed conflict as combatants, political cadres, motivators, and members of the cultural troupe in CPN-M, despite deeply entrenched patriarchal values in Nepali society. The GoN also recruited women in combatant roles who took part in the armed conflict. Women joined the armed conflict voluntarily, involuntarily, or as a survival strategy. Women who did not participate directly in the armed conflict were affected in many different ways. They were required to perform multiple tasks and unconventional roles at both household and community levels, particularly due to the absence or shortage of men in rural areas as they were killed, disappeared, or displaced. At the household level, women performed the role of household head- both politically and economically. However, in most cases the economic agency of women was negatively affected. At the community level, women's role as peacebuilders, members of community based organizations and civil society organizations either increased or decreased depending on the situation. Despite active participation of women in formal and informal peacebuilding processes at different levels, they were excluded from most of the high level formal peace processes. However, they were able to address some of the women's issues (e.g., access to parental property, inclusion in the state governance mechanism) at the constitutional level. The armed conflict changed gender relations to some extent, and some women acquired new status, skills and power by assuming new responsibilities. However, these changes were gained at the cost of grave violations of human rights and gender-based violence committed by the warring sides. Also, the gains made by women were short-lived and their situation often returned to status quo in the post-conflict period.


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