Peacebuilding Through a Gender Lens and the Challenges of Implementation in Rwanda and Cóte d’Ivoire

With the hypothesis in mind that discrimination against women increases the likelihood that a state will experience internal conflict, this article contends that considering gender is a key part of an effective peacebuilding process. Evidence gathered by studying peacebuilding from a feminist perspective, such as in Rwanda and Cóte d’Ivoire, can be used to reconceptualize the peace agenda in more inclusive and responsible ways. Following from this, the article argues that a culturally contextual gender analysis is a key tool, both for feminist theory of peacebuilding and the practice of implementing a gender perspective, in all peace work. Using the tools of African feminisms to study African conflicts, this contribution warns against adding women without recognizing their agency, emphasizes the need for an organized women’s movement, and suggests directions for the implementation of international laws concerning women’s empowerment at the local level. The article concludes by suggesting that implementation of these ideas in practice is dependent on the way in which African feminists employ mainstreaming, inclusionary, and transformational strategies within a culturally sensitive context of indigenous peacebuilding processes.