Women as Peacemakers: Contested Terrain for Feminist Peace Studies

Authored by: Linda R. Forcey

Categories: Peace Support Operations, Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Peacemaking, Political Transitions
Region: No Region
Year: 1991
Citation: Forcey, Linda R. "Women as Peacemakers: Contested Terrain for Feminist Peace Studies." Peace and Change 16, no. 4 (1991): 331-354.

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Do women have special peacemaking skills based on their roles as nurturers, as the hands that rock the cradles? Or is the very asking of such a question part of the age-old trap of oversimplifying the notion of “woman,” denying her diffeerences with other women and commonalities with men, and thereby lessening her power? These are the questions that put feminist peace research squarely in the center of the contemporary feminist debate about the nature and power of women and the social construction of gender. After considering feminist analyses of women’s diverse experiences as peacemakers and nonpeacemakers on many levels from the familial to the iniernational the author concludes that the argument that women because of their nurturing capacities are essentially different from, and perhaps on some levels better at peacemaking than, men should neither be dismissed out of hand nor embraced as the truth. Rather, she calls for feminist appreciation of both the contributions of an essentialist standpoint and its poststructuralist critique, challenging feminist peace researchers to move beyond the debate to a finely tuned appreciation of a variety of approaches and a tolerance for ambiguity and a little theoretical untidiness.