Feminism, Gender, and Women’s Peace Activism

Authored by: Judy El-Bushra

Categories: The Field of Women, Peace and Security
Sub-Categories: Democratization and Political Participation, National Security Forces and Armed Groups, Nonviolent Resistance, Peacemaking, UN Resolutions
Region: No Region
Year: 2007
Citation: El-Bushra, Judy. "Feminism, Gender and Women’s Peace Activism." Development and Change 38, no. 1 (2007): 131–47.

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Executive Summary

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on “Women, peace and security”, passed in 2000, reflects a recent growth in women’s peace activism. Women’s resistance to violence is widely believed to be a mobilizing factor in both local and international peace movements. This provokes questions around essentialism and violence of concern to feminists: are men inherently territorial and aggressive, and women naturally nurturing and peaceable? Or is the behaviour of both conditioned by particular local configurations of social relations of power? This contribution reviews these questions in the light of the experiences of women’s peace organizations. It concludes that essentializing women’s roles as wives, mothers and nurses discourages their inclusion as active decision makers in political arenas, as well as overshadowing the needs of other disadvantaged groups. Rather than seeing war as the violation of women by men, we should recognize that men and women are each differently violated by war.