Author(s): Oluwayemisi Ajoke Adepoju, Daniel Eseme Gberevbie, Bonny Ibhawoh
This study explored the relationship between culture, gender and peacebuilding in Africa. To achieve its aim, the study draws on the theoretical lenses of the cultural and social role theories, and extant literature. It utilizes experiences within the continent to exemplify the topic. The study found that while women in some countries in Africa have been vocal and instrumental in the resolution of conflicts and wars, they are still neglected and marginalized in efforts to find lasting solutions to conflicts and wars. Furthermore, and relatedly, it showed that the low representation and participation of women in peacebuilding in the continent is due to the harmful cultural norms particularly, masculine and power distance values which discourage women from playing active roles and having their voices heard in peacebuilding processes. However, the evidence suggests that cultural factors tend to be considered as trivial in promoting sustainable peacebuilding because peace research and practices often ignore the role of traditions and values among parties to a conflict although cultural differences have the tendency to reinforce or delegitimize peacebuilding. Thus, to ensure sustainable peacebuilding, it is important to create equal avenues for full and adequate representation and participation of women through the institutionalization of gender inclusive composition of peacebuilding teams and empowerment of women against limiting influences of societal culture. This is because evidence indicates that when women are afforded the necessary recognition with relatively higher status in societies, it increases the prospects for sustainable and gender inclusive peacebuilding. By this, the study makes theoretical and practical contributions by integrating and applying the Hofstede’ national cultural theory and social role theory to highlight and enhance understanding of the mechanisms through which cultural values can affect women’s participation in peacebuilding and post-conflict construction in warring countries.