Gender and human security issues: building a programme of action-research

Since March 2000, in partnership with the Women's Centre of Montreal and other units at Montreal universities, McGill's Centre for Developing-Area Studies has carried out an action-research programme on gender and human security issues in the context of war and reconstruction. Our interdisciplinary team of researchers and activists has been working locally with women refugees, asylum-seekers, and immigrants from various countries experiencing armed conflict, and internationally with women's organisations primarily in the Great Lakes region of Africa. Combining human security - the protection of civilians across borders - and gender - the different ways in which women and men are affected -- allows us to analyse the impact of gender inequality on the continued insecurity in war-torn societies. Our action-research in a community - university alliance addresses the personal needs (especially untreated trauma) and rights of women while also examining the socio-economic and political context of violent conflicts.