Beiträge zur Jahrestagung des Vereins für Socialpolitik 2020: Gender Economics
This paper examines the role of ethnic-based gender norms in explaining the occurrence and intensity of sexual violence in conflict. We generate a novel dyadic dataset that contains information on the ethnic identity of the actors involved in 33 ethnic civil conflicts in Africa between 1989 and 2009 and their use of sexual violence. After exploiting ancestral economic, family, and societal arrangements, we construct and validate an ethnic-based gender inequality index. We control for a large set of fixed effects and find empirical support for two interrelated hypotheses. First, gender-unequal armed actors are more likely to be perpetrators of sexual violence. Second, we consider the perpetrator's gender norms relative to the victim's. Applying a gravity approach, we find that sexual violence is driven by a specific clash of conceptions on the appropriate role of men and women in society: sexual violence increases when the perpetrator is more gender-unequal than the victim. We show that (i) these patterns are specific to sexual violence and do not explain general violence within a conflict; (ii) differences in other dimensions of culture unrelated to gender do not explain conflict-related sexual violence.
Ethnic civil conflict sexual violence culture gender norms