Sabrina Karim, Ph.D.
Sabrina Karim is an Assistant Professor in the department of Government. Her research focuses on conflict and peace processes, particularly state building in the aftermath of civil war. Specifically, she studies international involvement in security assistance to post-conflict states, gender reforms in peacekeeping and domestic security sectors, and the relationship between gender and violence. Much of her research has been in sub-Saharan Africa, where she has conducted field experiments, lab experiments, and surveys. She is the co-author of Equal Opportunity Peacekeeping: Women, Peace, and Security in Post-Conflict Countries (Oxford University Press, 2017). The book was the winner of the Conflict Research Studies Best Book Prize for 2017 and the APSA Best Book Priz for Conflict Processes in 2018. Her work has appeared in the American Political Science Review, International Organization, the British Journal of Political Science, The Journal of Peace Research, International Studies Quarterly, International Interactions, World Development, and Conflict Management and Peace Science. Her research has been supported by the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance, National Science Foundation, the Folke Bernadotte Academy, the International Growth Centre, and the British Research Council. Born and raised in Colorado, Sabrina received her PhD from Emory University in 2016. Prior to her doctorate degree, she received a Fulbright Fellowship and received her master’s degree as a Clarendon Scholar from Oxford University. She has an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.
Conflict Processes & War
Gender and Politics
Countries of Interest
How to restore citizens’ trust and cooperation with the police in the wake of civil war? We report results from an experimental evaluation of the Liberian National Police’s (LNP) “Confidence Patrols” program, which deployed teams of newly retrained, better-equipped police officers on recurring patrols to rural communities across three Liberian counties over a period of 14 months. We find that the program increased knowledge of the police and Liberian law, enhanced security of property rights, and reduced the incidence of some types of crime, notably simple assault and domestic violence. The program did not, however, improve trust in the police, courts, or government more generally. We also observe higher rates of crime reporting in treatment communities, concentrated almost entirely among those who were disadvantaged under prevailing customary mechanisms of dispute resolution. We consider implications of these findings for post-conflict policing in Liberia and weak and war-torn states more generally.
Contemporary United Nations (UN) peacekeeping deployments commonly pursue both security and economic objectives, but the existing scholarly literature contains hardly any systematic assessments of peacekeeping missions’ economic effects. We address this issue in two ways. First, we use cross-country data to show that UN peacekeeping missions are large-scale economic interventions. They stimulate demand in depressed economic environments; we find significantly higher economic growth in the presence of peacekeeping deployments than in comparable cases without them. However, we estimate that economic growth rapidly declines when missions end, which suggests that they do not necessarily promote stable economic development. Second, we provide evidence in this vein by turning to microlevel survey data that we collected in Monrovia, where the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) had a large presence from 2003 onward. Our data suggests that UNMIL's spending created demand for low-skill employment in the service sector, largely without facilitating skill transfers or loosening credit constraints for business owners. This illustrates the problem of “peacekeeping economies” suggested by our cross-country analysis: peacekeeping missions help create an economic boom fueled by demand in nontraded products, particularly low-skill services, which may not be robust to the mission's withdrawal.
In the aftermath of civil conflict, war-torn states often require government institutions to be reformed. Gender balancing, or the inclusion of more women in security-sector institutions, is an increasingly common reform incorporated into state building processes. Our theoretical priors suggest that gender balancing may have implications in terms of unit cohesion, operational effectiveness with respect to sexual and gender based violence (SGBV), and organizational gender norms. We study these propositions using laboratory experiments with police officers of the Liberian National Police (LNP). We randomly assigned the proportions of women and men in 102 groups of six LNP officers to observe their deliberative processes and group choices. In our experiment, adding more women increased unit cohesion, but we found no evidence to suggest that simply adding more women would increase group (or individual) sensitivity to SGBV. We also found that although there was an increase in participation and influence by women, male beliefs about women’s role in policing did not improve with the inclusion of women. As one of the first experimental studies to assess the effects of gender composition within the actual population of interest, our results shed light on how international interventions to address gender equality in post-conflict countries affect important outcomes related to security.
In the aftermath of civil conflict, war-torn states often require reform of their government institutions. Gender balancing, or the inclusion of more women in security-sector institutions, is an increasingly common reform incorporated into state-building processes. Our theoretical priors suggest that gender balancing may influence unit cohesion, operational effectiveness with respect to sexual and gender-based violence, and organizational gender norms. We study these propositions using laboratory experiments with police officers of the Liberian National Police (LNP). We randomly assigned the proportions of women and men in 102 groups of six LNP officers to observe their deliberative processes and group choices. In our experiment, adding more women increased unit cohesion, but we find no evidence to suggest that simply adding more women would increase group (or individual) sensitivity to sexual and gender-based violence. We also find that, despite an increase in participation and influence by women, male beliefs about women's role in policing do not improve with the inclusion of women. As one of the first experimental studies to assess the effects of gender composition within the actual population of interest, our results shed light on how international interventions to address gender equality in post-conflict countries affect important outcomes related to security.
Civilian confidence in domestic institutions, particularly in the security sector, is important for stability and state consolidation in post-conflict countries, where third-party peacekeepers have helped maintain peace and security after a conflict. While other scholars have suggested that a strong security sector is necessary for mitigating the credible commitment problem, this article provides two alternative criteria for assessing security sector reforms’ effect on confidence in the security sector: restraint and inclusiveness. Female ratio balancing in the security sector meets these two criteria, suggesting that it has the potential to help enhance confidence in the security sector and thereby create the right conditions for the peacekeeping transition. The argument is tested using original surveys conducted in post-conflict, ex-combatant communities in Liberia. The expectations received empirical support. The findings indicate that restraining and inclusive reforms could improve trust in the state’s security sector. They also demonstrate the importance of considering gender in theories related to post-conflict peace building and international relations more broadly.
With the passing of several UN Security Council Resolutions related to Women, Peace and Security, gender balancing security sector reforms (SSR)—or policies that ensure the equal participation of women in the security sector—have received increased global attention over the past two decades. However, to date, there is no explanation for variation in their adoption. This paper examines the internationalization of SSR gender reform, arguing that the presence of a peacekeeping mission within a post-conflict country affects the state’s resources and political will to adopt gender balancing reforms. We explore the effect of multidimensional peacekeeping using an original dataset on SSR in post-conflict countries, the Security Sector Reform Dataset, from 1989 to 2012. We find that peacekeeping missions increase the probability that a state will adopt gender balancing reforms in SSR. As the first cross-national quantitative examination of gender balancing reforms, these findings also shed light on the conditions under which states adopt security sector reforms more generally.
Public health emergencies like major epidemics in countries with already poor health infrastructure have the potential to set back efforts to reduce maternal deaths globally. The 2014 Ebola crisis in Liberia is claimed to have caused major disruptions to a health system not fully recovered after the country’s civil war, and is an important and relevant case for studying the resilience of health systems during crises. We use data on the utilization of maternal health care services from two representative surveys, one conducted before the outbreak of Ebola, the 2013 Liberian DHS, and another, smaller survey conducted in Monrovia in December 2014, during the height of the epidemic. We focus exclusively on data for women aged 18–49 residing in urban Monrovia, restricting our samples to 1,073 and 763 respondents from the two surveys respectively. We employ a mixed methods approach, combining a multinomial logit model with in-depth semi-structured interviews. Our regression analyses indicate that deliveries in public facilities declined whereas they increased for private facilities. Furthermore, overall facility delivery rates remained stable through the Ebola epidemic: the proportion of home births did not increase. Drawing on insights from extensive qualitative interviews with medical personnel and focus groups with community members conducted in Monrovia in August–September 2015 we attribute these survey findings to a supply side “substitution effect” whereby private clinics provided an important cushion to the shock leading to lower supply of government services. Furthermore, our interviews suggest that government health care workers continued to work in private facilities in their local communities when public facilities were closed. Our findings indicate that resources to shore up healthcare institutions should be directed toward interventions that support private facilities and health personnel working privately in communities during times of crisis so that these facilities are safe alternatives for women during crisis.
United Nations policy forbids its peacekeepers and other personnel from engaging in transactional sex (the exchange of money, favors, or gifts for sex), but we find the behavior to be very common in our survey of Liberian women. Using satellite imagery and GPS locators, we randomly selected 1,381 households and randomly sampled 475 women between the ages of eighteen and thirty. Using an iPod in private to preserve the anonymity of their responses, these women answered sensitive questions about their sexual histories. More than half of them had engaged in transactional sex, a large majority of them (more than 75 percent) with UN personnel. We estimate that each additional battalion of UN peacekeepers caused a significant increase in a woman's probability of engaging in her first transactional sex. Our findings raise the concern that the private actions of UN personnel in the field may set back the UN's broader gender-equality and economic development goals, and raise broader questions about compliance with international norms.
Since the adoption of UNSCR 1325, more female peacekeepers are participating in peacekeeping missions than ever before. Nevertheless, the current literature on peacekeeping effectiveness is largely gender neutral, discounting the unique role female peacekeepers may play in peacekeeping operations. This article addresses this missing piece in the literature by assessing how female peacekeepers and locals view the role of women in peacekeeping operations. Using interviews and focus groups conducted with peacekeepers in the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and original surveys conducted in Liberian communities, it finds that there is an “access gap” that prevents female peacekeepers from fully contributing to the mission’s operations and therefore prevents the peacekeeping mission from reaching its full potential. The findings have broader implications for how to improve peacekeeping missions’ effectiveness moving forward.
Sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) is an endemic problem in UN peacekeeping missions. It is not only a gross human rights violation, but also threatens to challenge the legitimacy of the peacekeeping mission and undermines the promotion of gender equality in host countries. We examine if the composition of peacekeeping forces along two dimensions – the proportion of women and the records of gender (in)equality in the contributing countries – helps explain variation in SEA allegations. Analysis of mission-level information from 2009 to 2013 indicates that including higher proportions of both female peacekeepers and personnel from countries with better records of gender equality is associated with lower levels of SEA allegations reported against military contingents. We conclude that substantial reductions in SEA perpetrated by peacekeepers requires cultivation of a value for gender equality among all peacekeepers – improving the representation of women may help but still stops short of addressing the root of the problem.
Since the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1325 (2000), which is referenced in most of the mandates for peacekeeping authorizations and renewals as of its adoption, UN peacekeeping forces have begun a process of gender balancing. While we have seen an increase in the numbers of female peacekeepers during the decade 2000–2010 and variation in the distribution patterns of female military personnel, we do not know if female military peacekeepers are deploying to areas that are safest or to areas with the greatest need for gender-balanced international involvement. Because the decision-making authority in the allocation of peacekeeping forces rests with the troop-contributing countries, which might not have bought into the gender balancing and mainstreaming initiatives mandated by the UN Security Council, we propose and find evidence that female military personnel tend to deploy to areas where there is least risk. They tend not to deploy where they may be most needed—where sexual violence and gender equity has been a major problem—and we find only a modest effect of having specific language in the mandates related to gender issues.
The first empirical exploration of peacekeeping with an emphasis on the implications for gender (in)equality. Uses a positivist empirical approach to explore dynamics informed by feminist international relations scholarship. Provides a comprehensive overview of gender reforms in the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). Uses new cross-national data on female peacekeepers globally and sexual exploitation and abuse in peacekeeping missions. Includes first hand accounts from female peacekeepers
Is there a ‘feminine’ response to terrorism?
I visited the Rohingya refugee camps and here is what Bangladesh is doing right
Preventing Peacekeeper Abuse Through Equal Opportunity Peacekeeping
Ending Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in War and Peace: Recommendations for the Next U.S. Administration
Preventing Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in Peacekeeping Missions
Terrorism, Democracy, and Social Media: Thoughts on the Recent Terrorist Attacks in Bangladesh
U.N. Peacekeeping and Transactional Sex
Does the Ebola Epidemic Threaten Liberia’s Peace?
Who Fired Live Rounds in West Point? The Answer Matters for Liberians
Recent Ebola Media Attention May Help Curb Epidemic in Liberia
Building trust in a reformed security sector: A field experiment in Liberia
Types of Cookies we use
This site employs two first-party cookies (served from us and by us that are essential for the site to operate) and two third-party cookies that deliver external services.
We use a server-generated session cookie to remember you when you are logged in to the site. This is essential to making sure that your profile details are those that are updated when you log in to make changes. This also lets us know who is logging into the site and when.
This site also uses a cookie that is created by your browser to remember when you agree to the cookie notice popup. This cookie stores nothing but the word "true" if you have agreed to the terms and is deleted when you close your browser. This cookie's only function is to prevent the cookie notice from popping up every time you refresh the site's homepage.
How to Disable Cookies Altogether
Information on how to disable cookies in your browser can be found here. Please keep in mind that disabling cookies will prevent the essential functions of most interactive websites and web applications, this site included.
This privacy notice discloses the privacy practices for (womenalsoknowstuff.com). This privacy notice applies solely to information collected by this website. It will notify you of the following:
Information Collection, Use, and Sharing
If you have any questions about this Privacy Notice, or need to contact us, we can be reached at .
Terms and Conditions
Last updated: August 04, 2019
Please read these Terms and Conditions ("Terms", "Terms and Conditions") carefully before using the http://womenalsoknowstuff.com website (the "Service") operated by Women Also Know Stuff ("us", "we", or "our"). Your access to and use of the Service is conditioned upon your acceptance of and compliance with these Terms. These Terms apply to all visitors, users and others who wish to access or use the Service. By accessing or using the Service you agree to be bound by these Terms. If you disagree with any part of the terms then you do not have permission to access the Service.
Our Service allows you to post, link, store, share and otherwise make available certain information, text, graphics, videos, or other material ("Content"). You are responsible for the Content that you post on or through the Service, including its legality, reliability, and appropriateness. By posting Content on or through the Service, You represent and warrant that: (i) the Content is yours (you own it) and/or you have the right to use it and the right to grant us the rights and license as provided in these Terms, and (ii) that the posting of your Content on or through the Service does not violate the privacy rights, publicity rights, copyrights, contract rights or any other rights of any person or entity. We reserve the right to terminate the account of anyone found to be infringing on a copyright. You retain any and all of your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Service and you are responsible for protecting those rights. We take no responsibility and assume no liability for Content you or any third party posts on or through the Service. However, by posting Content using the Service you grant us the right and license to use, modify, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce, and distribute such Content on and through the Service. You agree that this license includes the right for us to make your Content available to other users of the Service, who may also use your Content subject to these Terms. Women Also Know Stuff has the right but not the obligation to monitor and edit all Content provided by users. In addition, Content found on or through this Service are the property of Women Also Know Stuff or used with permission. You may not distribute, modify, transmit, reuse, download, repost, copy, or use said Content, whether in whole or in part, for commercial purposes or for personal gain, without express advance written permission from us.
When you create an account with us, you guarantee that you are above the age of 18, are a woman in the academic field of Political Science, and that the information you provide us is accurate, complete, and current at all times. Inaccurate, incomplete, or obsolete information may result in the immediate termination of your account on the Service. You are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of your account and password, including but not limited to the restriction of access to your computer and/or account. You agree to accept responsibility for any and all activities or actions that occur under your account and/or password, whether your password is with our Service or a third-party service. You must notify us immediately upon becoming aware of any breach of security or unauthorized use of your account.
The Service and its original content (excluding Content provided by users), features and functionality are and will remain the exclusive property of Women Also Know Stuff and its licensors. The Service is protected by copyright, trademark, and other laws of both the United States and foreign countries. Our trademarks and trade dress may not be used in connection with any product or service without the prior written consent of Women Also Know Stuff. Links To Other Web Sites Our Service may contain links to third party web sites or services that are not owned or controlled by Women Also Know Stuff Women Also Know Stuff has no control over, and assumes no responsibility for the content, privacy policies, or practices of any third party web sites or services. We do not warrant the offerings of any of these entities/individuals or their websites. You acknowledge and agree that Women Also Know Stuff shall not be responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with use of or reliance on any such content, goods or services available on or through any such third party web sites or services. We strongly advise you to read the terms and conditions and privacy policies of any third party web sites or services that you visit.
We may terminate or suspend your account and bar access to the Service immediately, without prior notice or liability, under our sole discretion, for any reason whatsoever and without limitation, including but not limited to a breach of the Terms. If you wish to terminate your account, you may simply discontinue using the Service, or notify us that you wish to delete your account. All provisions of the Terms which by their nature should survive termination shall survive termination, including, without limitation, ownership provisions, warranty disclaimers, indemnity and limitations of liability.
You agree to defend, indemnify and hold harmless Women Also Know Stuff and its licensee and licensors, and their employees, contractors, agents, officers and directors, from and against any and all claims, damages, obligations, losses, liabilities, costs or debt, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees), resulting from or arising out of a) your use and access of the Service, by you or any person using your account and password; b) a breach of these Terms, or c) Content posted on the Service.
Limitation Of Liability
In no event shall Women Also Know Stuff, nor its directors, employees, partners, agents, suppliers, or affiliates, be liable for any indirect, incidental, special, consequential or punitive damages, including without limitation, loss of profits, data, use, goodwill, or other intangible losses, resulting from (i) your access to or use of or inability to access or use the Service; (ii) any conduct or content of any third party on the Service; (iii) any content obtained from the Service; and (iv) unauthorized access, use or alteration of your transmissions or content, whether based on warranty, contract, tort (including negligence) or any other legal theory, whether or not we have been informed of the possibility of such damage, and even if a remedy set forth herein is found to have failed of its essential purpose.
Your use of the Service is at your sole risk. The Service is provided on an "AS IS" and "AS AVAILABLE" basis. The Service is provided without warranties of any kind, whether express or implied, including, but not limited to, implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, non-infringement or course of performance. Women Also Know Stuff, its subsidiaries, affiliates, and its licensors do not warrant that a) the Service will function uninterrupted, secure or available at any particular time or location; b) any errors or defects will be corrected; c) the Service is free of viruses or other harmful components; or d) the results of using the Service will meet your requirements.
Some jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion of certain warranties or the exclusion or limitation of liability for consequential or incidental damages, so the limitations above may not apply to you.
These Terms shall be governed and construed in accordance with the laws of the state of Arizona and the United States, without regard to its conflict of law provisions. Our failure to enforce any right or provision of these Terms will not be considered a waiver of those rights. If any provision of these Terms is held to be invalid or unenforceable by a court, the remaining provisions of these Terms will remain in effect. These Terms constitute the entire agreement between us regarding our Service, and supersede and replace any prior agreements we might have had between us regarding the Service.
We reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to modify or replace these Terms at any time. If a revision is material we will provide at least 30 days notice prior to any new terms taking effect. What constitutes a material change will be determined at our sole discretion. By continuing to access or use our Service after any revisions become effective, you agree to be bound by the revised terms. If you do not agree to the new terms, you are no longer authorized to use the Service.
If you have any questions about these Terms, please contact us at .