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Defying Victimhood

Women and Post-conflict Peacebuilding

image of Defying Victimhood
Women are among the most competent, yet marginalized, unnoticed and underutilized actors in efforts to rebuild war-torn societies. Opportunities for sustainable peacebuilding are lost — and sustainable peace is at risk — when significant stakeholders in a society’s future peace and conflict architecture are excluded from efforts to heal the wounds of war and build a new society and a new state. The contributors to this book draw on comparative case and country studies from post-conflict contexts in different parts of world to offer their insights into frameworks for understanding women as both victims and peacebuilders, to trace the road that women take from victimhood to empowerment and to highlight the essential partnerships between women and children and how they contribute to peace. The authors examine the roles of women in political and security institutions.

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Frameworks for understanding women as victims and peacebuilders

Each week, women around the world suffer abuse at the hands of their partners, resist rape by soldiers, watch their children die of starvation and lack of healthcare, work in sweatshops, undergo female genital mutilation and are tortured for their political activities. At the same time, women organize groups for change in their communities, send human rights reports to organizations around the world, act as relief providers and peacekeepers, organize dialogues and build relationships across the lines of conflict, lead or receive training to build their capacity in the skills of peacebuilding and teach their children how to handle differences without violence. Women are both the victims of violence and the builders of peace. Yet there is no universal female experience of violence, and the differences in women’s capacity for peacebuilding are vast.

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