Inclusive Economies and Enduring Peace
Caring for carers: addressing the marginalisation of peacebuilding practitioners with care responsibilities
The experiences and marginalisation of peacebuilding practitioners with caring responsibilities has a direct negative impact on the type of peace, security and justice being built in conflict-affected environments. This is in large part because organisations engaged in peacebuilding often fail to respond to the needs of their staff with caring responsibilities, which leads to their early departure from the field, and negatively affects their work while in post. This marginalisation also occurs in the broader international development sector and has similar resultant individual, organisational and sectoral harms.
This project investigates this problem, the exacerbating factors, and challenges to overcoming it by engaging with current, former and aspiring peacebuilding and international development practitioners as well as organisations engaged in the sector. Contextual variation and ways in which to address this problem are also scoped. Initial research offers a theory of change demonstrating how caring for carers can both improve the working conditions of employees of international organisations in particular, as well as the effectiveness, inclusivity and responsiveness of peacebuilding interventions. A guide for employers is also provided on how to take the caring responsibilities of their employees into account when developing human resource policies and practices, designing working conditions and planning interventions.
Caring for Carers Toolkit
Monash GPS (Dr Eleanor Gordon) and Warwick Interdisciplinary Research Centre for International Development (WICID) of the University of Warwick (Associate Professor Briony Jones) have developed a Toolkit providing an overview of the marginalisation of peacebuilding and development practitioners with care responsibilities and the resultant individual, organisational and sectoral harms. It is aimed at organisations engaged in peacebuilding and broader international development and provides a comprehensive set of recommendations to better support employees with care responsibilities and thereby contribute to more inclusive, responsive and effective peacebuilding and development programmes. The Toolkit was published by the WICID Methods Lab, Warwick University Press and Monash GPS, and jointly launched by Monash GPS and WICID in June 2021.
You can find this toolkit here and access our toolkit series here.
- Gordon, E. and Jones, B. (2021) Toolkit: "Building Success in Development and Peacebuilding by Caring for Carers: A Guide to Research, Policy and Practice to Ensure Effective, Inclusive and Responsive Interventions"
- Jones, B. and Gordon, E. (2021) ‘Not a Care in the World: an exploration of the personal-professional-political nexus of international development practitioners working in justice and security sector reform’, International Feminist Journal of Politics.
- Gordon, E. and Jones, B. (2021) ‘Not a Care in the World’, IFJP Global, 05 April.
Monash Warwick Alliance Accelerator Grant (2019-2021)
In the immediate aftermath of conflict, much of the labour to support households is carried out by women and girls, and as infrastructure deteriorates because of a lack of investment, the pressures on women’s health and well-being increase and their participation in public life decreases.
The state provisioning of social infrastructure at this time, via macroeconomic and social reform policies, often does not reflect the gender specific impacts of these policies. This leads to what has been called ‘depletion through social reproduction’, which occurs when the gap between the outflows —domestic, affective and reproductive labour — and the inflows — medical care, income earned and leisure time — falls below a threshold of biological, financial and affective sustainability.
Professor True, Monash University and Professor Rai, University of Warwick will lead a team from both institutions to pilot research which will explore the impact of social reproductive costs in the absence of a well-developed social infrastructure supporting women within households in the face of conflict and displacement. The pilot will clarify concepts, develop research networks on the ground, and help us ask better questions towards further research. It will also inform analysis of the challenges and the opportunities in times of transition from conflict for gender sensitive economic reform, taking seriously women’s agency and potential.
This project has the potential to transform models of post-conflict recovery and reform, shaping new policies and interventions for governments and international agencies that will contribute to lasting peace and inclusive economic prosperity.
- "The hidden work of post conflict recovery" by Jay Lingham & Melissa Johnston (openDemocracy, 2 Oct 2019)
- Female caregivers in war zones need recognition and support - new research (Sep 2019)
|Feminist Everyday Observatory Tool|
Monash GPS Centre partnering with Warwick Interdisciplinary Research Centre for International Development
Beginning in 2013-14, feminist political economists at Monash and Warwick universities (led by Jacqui True and Nicola Pratt) began collaborating through the Monash Warwick Alliance with a project "Rethinking Violence Against Women: The Political Economy of Women’s Rights in Comparative and Transnational Perspectives." This project was developed as two workshops that explored the links between the gendered nature of structural inequalities and the forms of violence against women in three regional contexts (The Middle East and North Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia), including conflict and non-conflict zones.
In 2017 Jacqui True (Monash) and Shirin Rai (Warwick) expanded upon this collaboration with the project, “Post-Conflict Care Economy and Depletion of Women’s Labour”. The aim of the project, was to develop new theoretical and methodological frontiers to explore the connections between unpaid care and peacebuilding work, gender divisions of labour, the lingering effects of conflict and impact of global competition in post-conflict transitions.
At two workshops, academics and doctoral students from both Monash and Warwick presented and discussed their papers examining how to measure the value of women’s economic contributions in post-conflict contexts, and how this new knowledge can influence the role of national institutions and international financial institutions in light of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, especially: SDG 5 Gender Equality and SDG 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. Framing the themes of the workshop, Shirin Rai, Jacqui True and Maria Tanyag discussed moving from depletion to regeneration and overcoming structural and physical violence in post-conflict economies. Eleanor Gordon (Monash GPS) presented her research with Briony Jones (Warwick) on the personal-professional-political nexus of paid work in justice and security sector reform.
The workshop also included a number of case studies analysing the challenges and need for sustainable, inclusive economies in post-conflict contexts. Nicola Pratt and Sara Salem (Warwick) with Yasmin Chilmeran (PhD candidate at Monash GPS) explored the concept of depletion in the Middle East and its application for understanding the impact of conflict on social reproduction and gender divisions of labour in Egypt, Iraq and Palestine. Victoria Pereyra (Warwick) and Samanthi Gunawardana (Monash GPS) examined the gendered provision of care in prisons and free trade zones, sites of both seclusion and exclusion in Argentina and Sri Lanka. Also focusing on Southeast Asia, Juanita Elias (Warwick) and Melissa Johnston (Monash GPS) analysed the impact of conflict, trafficking and migrant labour regimes in the region and, in particular, on poor, ethnic minority women. These papers are will be published in a Symposium in Social Politics on International Studies in Gender, State and Society.
The Post-Conflict Care Economy and Depletion of Women’s Labour
Project Type: Monash-Warwick Alliance Project
The project will develop new ways of thinking about household and community social reproduction and the challenges that women in particular face given their disproportionate labour caring and provisioning for others, critically analysing the intensifying costs of this labour in ‘post’-conflict contexts where people are often physically injured and mentally traumatised by war and forced militarization and economic and social infrastructures have often suffered irreparable damage. It will also consider what state and non-state networks might be mobilised to re-build the social infrastructures required to support those engaged in post-conflict care economies.
- Jacqui True. "Introduction to Special Section of Social Politics: Post-conflict Care Economies" Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society, Volume 26, Issue 4, Winter 2019.
- Shirin Rai, Jacqui True & Maria Tanyag "From Depletion to Regeneration: Addressing Structural and Physical Violence in Post-Conflict Economies" Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society, Volume 26, Issue 4, Winter 2019.
- Victoria Pereyra-Iraola & Samanthi Gunawardana. "Carceral Spaces and Social Reproduction: Exploring Export Processing Zones in Sri Lanka and Prisons in Argentina" Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society, Volume 26, Issue 4, Winter 2019.
- Nicola Pratt & Yasmin Chilmeran. "The Geopolitics of Social Reproduction and Depletion: The Case of Iraq and Palestine" Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society, Volume 26, Issue 4, Winter 2019.
WILPF Report: A Feminist Perspective on Post-Conflict Restructuring and Recovery
Report: Financing Gender-Inclusive Peace