Crisis increases women's and men's economic and social burdens. However, women's disadvantaged situation, their distinctive social obligations and responsibilities, and their exposure to gender-based violence and exploitation causes them to disproportionately suffer the harms of crisis and miss out on the benefits of recovery.
The international community is increasingly recognizing women's needs and their contributions to long-term recovery, as illustrated by the passage of Security Council Resolutions 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1888 and 1889 (2009).1 These resolutions affirm conflict's differential impacts on women and girls, acknowledge the importance of women's contributions to sustainable peace, and recognize the value of their full and equal participation in decision-making processes. Security Council Resolution 1889 emphasizes the need to develop effective financial and institutional arrangements in order to guarantee women's full and equal participation in peace-building processes. It explicitly encourages the Peacebuilding Commission to “ensure systematic attention to and mobilization of resources for advancing gender equality, and to encourage the participation of women in this process” (OP 14).
The Security Council Resolutions emphasize two issues in particular—women's participation and addressing gender-based violence. In referring to financial arrangements, Resolution 1889 emphasizes women's participation. However, the reference to the need to ensure resources “for advancing gender equality” can be given a much wider meaning. It can be interpreted as questioning the extent to which post-conflict reconstruction finance contributes to gender equality in society at large—with equality encompassing the social, economic and political spheres.