This case study explores the trajectory of women’s empowerment in Colombia over the past 20 years in the context of conflict. It analyses important changes in women’s political voice and legal activism, and how these in turn, are contributing to shaping policy on addressing the legacies of the conflict. It is well recognised that conflict-related violence, and the structural legacies of displacement, exclusion and discrimination, are highly gendered.
The Colombian case is an example of progress in women’s empowerment in the face of formidable and continuing challenges. Progress is identified in relation to: legal gains for women’s rights and gender equality; women’s presence and representation in public and elected positions; the advancement of a gender-responsive approach to addressing the legacies of conflict and associated mechanisms of memorialisation, reparations, restitution and transitional justice.
The case of Colombia is a valuable study in how women engage with contesting legacies of exclusion and discrimination in the prevailing political settlement, and influencing the public debate and direction of policy relating to justice, peace and accountability to take into account the gendered experience of conflict.