Women, Civil Society and Peacebuilding

Paths to Peace Through the Empowerment of Women

Authored by: Michael Potter

Categories: Peace Support Operations, Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Democratization and Political Participation, Peacemaking, Political Transitions, UN Resolutions
Country: Northern Ireland
Region: Europe and Eurasia
Year: 2004
Citation: Potter, Michael. Women, Civil Society and Peacebuilding: Paths to Peace Through the Empowerment of Women. Belfast: Training for Women Network, 2004.

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Women have long been recognised as having played a major and visible role in peace movements. Debates relating to innate passivity in women, socialization processes, differential impact of conflict and coincidental factors are explored. Notions of civil society are also investigated and how women are included (or not) in the theory. In particular, it is argued that the participation of women is a key identifier of both binding and bridging social capital. The interaction of civil society with the project of peacebuilding is also analyzed, where the involvement of civil associations is a factor in building participative democracy and has a role in bypassing conflict elites which often hold societies along lines of division. Using the investment in women’s training as part of Peace and Reconciliation funding in Northern Ireland as an example, it is concluded that the empowerment of women through building their capacity to participate is essential to building social capital and creating the conditions for a lasting, inclusive peace.