The UN Security Council Resolution 1325 has made strong provisions to include women in peace-building interventions and actions. This is, however, rarely observed in practice beyond local-level activities. This article discusses new qualitative evidence on the opportunities and barriers to women’s participation in peace-building processes, based on a comparative analysis of case studies conducted in Afghanistan, Liberia, Nepal and Sierra Leone.
The findings show that women’s engagement in peace-building activities, beyond their immediate social relations, is restricted by institutional, economic, cultural and social obstacles. These barriers prevent the realisation of gender equality objectives in peace-building initiatives. Moreover, local understandings of peace typically place family relations at the centre of how women engage with peace-building processes, and how other community members perceive women’s roles in peace-building.