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Gendered Conflict, Gendered Outcomes: The Politicization of Sexual Violence and Quota Adoption

Journal article
Authors Anne-Kathrin Kreft
Mattias Agerberg
Published in Journal of Conflict Resolution
ISSN 0022-0027
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Political Science
Language en
Keywords sexual violence, intrastate conflict, civil wars, war outcomes, gender
Subject categories Empirical conflict research, Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)


Sexual violence (SV) in conflict is increasingly politicized at both the international and domestic levels. Where SV in conflict is prevalent, we argue international actors perceive gender to be salient and push for a gendered response. Simultaneously, women mobilize politically in response to the threat to their security that conflict-related SV constitutes, making demands for greater representation in politics with the goal of improving societal conditions for themselves. Jointly, we theorize the pressures from above and below push governments in conflict-affected states toward adopting gender policies. We test this theoretical framework in the case of gender quota adoption. We find that states with prevalent wartime SV indeed adopt gender quotas sooner and at higher rates than states experiencing other civil conflicts and than states experiencing no conflict in the same period. These gender quotas, we further show, are not mere window dressing but actually increase women’s legislative representation.

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