Gender, Conflict, and Development in the Global South

This course examines the relationship among gender, conflict and development and introduces theories related to them. Thoughts, approaches, and practices related to conflict transformation are also issues the course addresses.

5 ECTS Credits — Studies start 9 August 2023 — University of Helsinki

Photo credits: Gutu Wayessa
Photo credits: Gutu Wayessa

Course dates

9 August 2023 – 27 October 2023

Registration period

3 July 2023 – 4 August 2023

Coordinating university

University of Helsinki


Gutu Wayessa



Course dates: 09.08.2023 - 27.10.2023
Registration dates: 03.07.2023 - 04.08.2023
Coordinating university: University of Helsinki
Responsible teacher: Gutu Wayessa ()
Other course staff: Gutema Imana Keno
Credits: 5 ECTS
Course offered: 1/3

Course summary

This course examines the relationship among gender, conflict and development and introduces theories related to them. Thoughts, approaches, and practices related to conflict transformation are also issues the course addresses.

During the course, students will consider how development is a highly gendered phenomenon that affects men and women differently, and relatedly, how development processes account for gendered dynamics. Throughout the course, students will critically engage with questions such as the following: How do gender stereotypes influence the way people think about development? How have feminist perspectives contributed to development theories and practices? Why should development processes remain attuned to women’s development needs, and how can they do so? How does conflict open up potentially transformative spaces for gender relations, and how can development processes foster rather than hinder the achievement of gender equality? Students will gain an understanding of the gendered dimensions of conflict and development as well as evaluate diverse perspectives and policy frameworks that address these complexities.

The course covers the following topics: The concept of gender; gender and societal change; gender issues in conflict settings; gender and development policies; feminist perspectives on peace, conflict, and development; conflict analysis; and the role and potential of customary knowledge systems in addressing gender-related conflicts.

The course considers both modern and customary approaches and practices related to gender, conflict, and development. The Gadaa system and other approaches and practices of customary institutions from the Global South will be considered vis-à-vis modern approaches and practices that span the Global South-Global North divide. The Gadaa system is a democratic and egalitarian indigenous system of the Oromo people that has been in use for centuries to manage social, political, and economic spheres of life. The consideration of both modern and customary aspects of gender, conflict, and development links the course to the Global South.

Learning outcomes

The general objective of the course is to acquaint students with the knowledge and skills of identifying, describing, and analyzing the nexus among gender, conflict, and development in the contexts of modern and customary approaches to conflict and development.

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • clearly understand the intricate relationship among gender, conflict, and development,
  • evaluate whether a given conflict analysis or development planning is gender-sensitive or not,
  • analyze gender-based conflicts,
  • integrate gender into programming/planning in conflict affected environments,
  • take on board and critically engage with the assumptions, approaches, and practices of customary institutions in peacemaking and conflict transformation, and
  • examine gender and development policies regarding their positive and negative implications.

Learning methods

  • Lecturing: Live and recorded video lectures as well as lecture notes
  • Discussion: Online discussion among students, based on assigned reading materials as guided by the course coordinator
  • Self-study of assigned reading materials
  • Seminar presentation

Study materials

  • Tenna Dewo. (2013). The concept of Peace in the Oromo Gadaa System: Its mechanism and moral dimensions. African Philosophy in Ethiopia, Ethiopian Philosophical Studies II.
  • Asmarom Legesse. (2006). Oromo Democracy: An Indigenous Political System. Trenton: The Red Sea Press.
  • Thompson, M. (2006). Women, gender, and conflict: Making the connections. Development in Practice, 16(3-4): 342-353.
  • Tsjeard Bouta, Georg Frerks, Ian Bannon, 2005. Gender, Conflict, and Development. World Bank Publications.
  • BRIDGE. (1996). 'Conflict and Development' Development and Gender in Brief, issue 3, IDS, Brighton.
  • Henni Alava (ed.): Exploring the security-development nexus: perspectives from Nepal, Northern Uganda and 'Sugango'. (E-book)

Additional journal articles will be identified as weekly reading materials.

Course schedule

The course will have 9 sessions in total according to the following schedule:

09.8.2023 Wednesday Session 1
16.8.2023 Wednesday Session 2
23.8.2023 Wednesday Session 3
30.8.2023 Wednesday Session 4
6.9.2023 Wednesday Session 5
13.9.2023 Wednesday Session 6
20.9.2023 Wednesday Session 7
27.9.2023 Wednesday Session 8
04.10.2023 Wednesday Session 9

Additional information

Maximum number of students; 40 (30 students from UniPID + 10 students from the partner in the Global South (Haramaya University, Ethiopia)

Virtual Studies Course Catalogue