Gender, conflict, and peace-building: how conflict can catalyse positive change for women

Although modern-day armed conflict is horrific for women, recent conflict and postconflict periods have provided women with new platforms and opportunities to bring about change. The roles of women alter and expand during conflict as they participate in the struggles and take on more economic responsibilities and duties as heads of households. The trauma of the conflict experience also provides an opportunity for women to come together with a common agenda. In some contexts, these changes have led women to become activists, advocating for peace and long-term transformation in their societies. This article explores how women have seized on the opportunities available to them to drive this advocacy forward: including the establishment of an international framework on women, peace, and security that includes United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and other international agreements and commitments to involving women in post-conflict peace-building. The article is based on onthe-ground research and capacity-building activities carried out in the Great Lakes Region of Africa on the integration of international standards on gender equality and women’s rights into post-conflict legal systems.