Somalia and the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States: Gender Equality as the Key to Peace-building and State-building Success

  • Tabitha Mirza University of Ottawa
Keywords: Somalia, New Deal, Feminist Theory, Gender, Post Conflict Reconstruction, International Aid, Peace-Building, State-Building, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, Fragile States


The current methods which development agencies use to engage with fragile and conflict-affected states are in need of serious improvement. Transitioning out of fragility is a decades-long political process that requires a significant investment from multiple global partners. The New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States, or the “New Deal,” is a landmark global policy agreement that seeks to change traditional development cooperation from a donor-to-recipient transfer model to that of an equal partnership between governments and development partners, thereby seeking to reinforce country-owned and country-led strategies out of fragility. The Federal Republic of Somalia is one of several self-identified fragile and conflicted-affected member states participating in the g7+ New Deal Pilot Program. Since the 1960s, Somali conceptions of gender identity have undergone substantial changes as a result of conflict and peace-making processes. Having made a substantial commitment to the prioritization of women and girls’ inclusion in the nation’s peace-building and state-building objectives, Somalia’s effort has been praised for its promotion of gender equality.  There is significant literature on the United Nations Security Council Landmark Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security and which supports gender equality in peace-building and state-building processes. However, this article will use evidence from Somalia to showcase how liberal feminist and standpoint feminist programs are privileged over post-structural and institutional feminist perspectives that would otherwise drastically transform the New Deal’s implementation and its potential for success.