“We don’t need arms to secure us”: Gendering the post-conflict peace in Solomon Islands

Presenter: Nicole George, School of Political Science and International Studies, University of Queensland

This (work-in-progress) paper examines the spaces in post-conflict governance that women have occupied since the cessation of violent unrest that erupted in many parts of Solomon Islands in the late 1990s and continued until 2003.  The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), a classic international peacebuilding intervention, played a critical role in restoring order but was later subject to criticism for its “crude” statebuilding and “rule of law” approach and its failure to “take cues from local populations”.  Lamentably, this included mission-wide blindness to women’s critical conflict mediation and peacebuilding roles.  As the mission evolved over its 14-year stay in the country, RAMSI officials demonstrated an increased understanding of the need for greater gender sensitivity and inclusivity.  But these efforts have tended to reinforce rather than reorient the mission’s broader objectives.  Advancements in gender inclusiveness are largely contained to an increased integration of women into state security agencies as well to programs of law reform designed to better regulate high incidence rates of gendered violence.  Some women leaders celebrate these gains but others are more critical. Questioning the gendered terms of the prevailing peace they raise concerns about women’s economic disadvantage and their struggle to find “money for school fees” or put “food on the table”; the ongoing masculine dominance of corrupted electoral politics; the high levels of post-conflict trauma that continues to generate disharmony within communities; and the limited recognition or value placed upon women’s customary and faith-based reconciliation activity.

No RSVP required. All welcome. 

Learn more about the UQ Solomon Island partnership.


Forgan Smith Building, St Lucia
Sir Gerard Brennan Boardroom W353