Even in the best of circumstances, women are all too often excluded from formal peacemaking and peacebuilding processes and relegated to the sidelines as observers or limited to informal peacebuilding strategies. Yet there is enormous potential in these strategies as women often strive to build bridges across political, ethnic, religious, clan and other differences through alliances arising from common concerns around violence, land, access to resources, and protection of their families and communities, and address sources of conflict at both national and local levels.
Drawing on cutting-edge research by scholars and women's rights activists in South Sudan, Sudan, Algeria, northern Nigeria, and Somalia, this book focuses on the consequences of the continuing exclusions of women from peace talks and from post-conflict governance structures. The case studies reveal how peacebuilding is gendered and why this matters in developing meaningful and sustainable approaches to peacebuilding. Examining how women activists have made a difference through informal peacebuilding activities, the contributors explore women's efforts to reshapethe post-conflict context by struggling for legislative and constitutional reforms and by advocating for political representation and political inclusion more generally within peacebuilding processes. They also look at how women have pushed back against the conservative Islamist forces that today dominate much armed conflict in Africa. Suggesting that women's formal participation in peace negotiations is vital in bringing about an end to conflict and preventing its resumption, as well as the one of the most effective strategies, this book will be essential reading for scholars and NGOs involved in development, conflict resolution and peacebuilding.

The book is the product of a research project on Women and Peacebuilding in Africa, funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Norwegian Foreign Ministry.

Liv Tønnessen

Director of Center on Law and Social Transformation and Senior Researcher

In this volume: