Fulfilling the Vision of Colombia’s Gender-Inclusive Peace: the Formal Reintegration of the FARC-EP’s Ex-Combatant Women

Zoe Garbis, Dr. Elvira Maria Restrepo, Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University, 1918 F Street, NW Washington, DC 20052

In 2016, the Colombian government and the guerilla group FARC-EP signed a monumental peace agreement that would bring a formal end to the country’s decades-long armed conflict. The agreement was an unprecedented move towards peace in Colombia, and also a revolutionary arena for the participation of one demographic that had systematically been excluded from peace and reconciliation efforts: women. In order to explore whether Colombia’s peace process truly has been revolutionary for its inclusion of women, this research explores how a state institution—the Agency for Reincorporation and Normalization (ARN)—has designed and implemented reintegration programming for women who are former FARC-EP combatants. Based on data collected through content and discourse analyses on legal documents, webpages, and social media outreach campaigns, I argue that the explicit acknowledgement of the impacts of conflict on women as well as the participation of women in the final peace agreement have been crucial steps to designing more inclusive reintegration programming. Despite the progress made on women’s inclusion, the ARN’s programming falls short in two ways. First, it misunderstands gender as a social identity by conflating “gender” with “women,” as evidenced by the lack of meaningful inclusion of all genders in programming as well as the treatment of women as a homogeneous social group with comparable experiences. Second, the ARN fails to design and implement intersectional programming that recognizes gender as an identity among many others, including sexuality, ethnicity, and race. Ultimately, the inclusion of women in the peace process has made strides towards fostering a democratic and inclusive peace in Colombia, but the ARN must make adjustments to their design and implementation of reintegration programming in order to effect long-term positive social change and ensure that it properly accommodates all former combatants.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Zoe Garbis

Institution: The George Washington University

Type: Poster

Subject: Gender, Ethnicity, & Cultural Studies

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 7
Date/Time: Tue 3:30pm-4:30pm
Session Number: 5057