Women and Peace-Building in Iraq

Authored by: Yasmin M. Khodary

Categories: Peace Support Operations, Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Democratization and Political Participation, Peacemaking, Post-Conflict Reconstruction
Country: Iraq
Region: Middle East and North Africa
Year: 2016
Citation: Khodary, Yasmin M. "Women and Peace-Building in Iraq," Peace Review, 28:4 (2016). 499-507.

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Executive Summary

Peace-building is comprehensively defined by the UN Secretary General’s Policy Committee as a “range of measures targeted to reduce the risk of lapsing or relapsing into conflict by strengthening national capacities at all levels for conflict management and to lay the foundation for sustainable peace and development.” Peace transformation and reconstruction processes were perceived to provide windows of opportunity to reshape existing political
settlements, especially through addressing underlying power dynamics. One very prominent actor and stakeholder that should be actively engaged in peace transformations, political settlements, and state reconstructions is, by all means, women.

As O’Connell and Harcourt asserted, however, there is a lack of robust analysis and examination of both small- and larger-scale efforts and initiatives by women to promote peace-building in fragile and post-conflict contexts. It’s important, then, to illustrate women’s roles and initiatives in peace-building in Iraq, and provide lessons learned on how to improve the peace-building process while ensuring a bigger and higher quality role for women. In line
with the Security Council Resolution 1325, the essay explores whether or not Iraqi women have been able to take advantage of opportunities opened up through state reconstructions and peace-building, such as negotiations over new state structures, peace agreements, and political settlements.