Gender and Governance in Conflict Zones: A South Asian Perspective

Women face many barriers to political participation in conflict zones across South Asia, including laws that perpetuate a culture of impunity and lack of justice for victims of violence and abuse by security forces.

To help women in countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and post-war Sri Lanka overcome these and other barriers to political participation, this research focuses on women's specific concerns in conflict zones.

Research will document two critical challenges women face when trying to influence governance practices in conflict zones:
the impact of strong state security across all South Asian conflict zones, which often creates higher threats to women's physical security and sexual integrity; a culture of impunity among security forces, and a lack of justice for victims of violence and abuse.

The research study will explore how women's marginalization in politics in South Asian conflict zones is due to governance practices, the political economy underpinning conflict, and local cultural norms rather than to the number of women in governance bodies. It underscores that while a quota strategy is an important way to ensure women's voice and agency in politics, it is inadequate.

The research will bring together researchers, women's groups, women's rights activists, policymakers, the media, non-governmental organizations, and others in three workshops in each of the four countries. A colloquium will be held to explore ways in which women's activism could have a stronger impact on governance and security policy through local and regional networks. Regional workshops and a monograph to share research findings among groups are also planned.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

End Date

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


36 months

IDRC Officer

Singh, Navsharan

Total funding

CA$ 315,800


Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Central Asia, Far East Asia, South Asia


Governance and Justice

Project Leader

Dr. Seema Kazi


Centre for Women's Development Studies

Institution Country


Institution Website