This essay offers an explanation for how and why women’s rights are included in contemporary peace agreements. I identify six causal mechanisms by which women secured participation and women’s rights in the peace processes of Burundi (1998–2000) and Northern Ireland (1996–98). First, violent conflict and peace talks produce the conditions of ‘grievance’ and ‘optimism’ necessary for social movement mobilization. Second, women use ‘procedural grafting’ to demand inclusion in peace processes. Third, they use ‘strategic essentialism’ to overcome the ethno-political divisions of the conflict. Fourth, women call upon relevant practices used in peace processes of the Global South. Fifth, high-level actors may influence peace processes to further international objectives. Sixth, women’s involvement with transnational feminist networks facilitates the reproduction of international human rights language.