Spike Peterson asks: ‘How are economic practices — especially, informal activities — and forms of political violence interconnected? How are both neoliberal globalization and militarized conflicts gendered…?’ (2011: 3). In the new nation of Timor-Leste, these are important questions to answer, and strong links between gendered inequality and the informal nature of the post-conflict Timorese economy and state institutions will be shown here. However, due to its convoluted history, Timor-Leste remains little affected by global neoliberal forces although its particular marginality and underdevelopment are in part due to its location in historical global networks which left it vulnerable to exploitation and conflict from both colonial and neocolonial forces. Colonial elites and their networks have survived the long conflict with Indonesia and prosper in Timor-Leste’s post-conflict economy. It will be argued that contemporary social and economic structures are extremely gendered, leaving women doubly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.