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The impact of civil war on gender roles: A Somaliland case study

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This MA Project advances an explanation for the evolving relationships between Somaliland men and women following the civil war in 1991 and the subsequent peace-building process. Drawing from 28 interviews and one month of field research , it develops a case study of the gender roles in Sheikh, Somaliland. In this project I detail my qualitative ethnographic research exploring the roles of men and women in a village in the Somali highlands. I will argue that, while civil war has resulted in a movement towards relative gender equality, it has also forced women out of necessity to adopt duties that were traditionally considered ‘men’s work’ while still maintaining their own responsibilities. As long as the latter continues, I suggest there will be stagnation in the development of Somaliland. This paper begins with a discussion of the pre-war social structure governing men and women. The analysis will then discuss past and current gender roles in Somaliland. Using these two time frames I will show how the Somali Civil War has shaped the status quo and permanently altered the fabric of Somali culture.
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