Women as keepers of peace and conflict resolution



Women have played a significant role throughout history as keepers of peace and agents of conflict resolution. While often marginalized and overlooked in traditional power structures, women have consistently shown their ability to bring about positive change and foster peaceful resolutions to conflicts. This article explores the various ways in which women contribute to peacebuilding efforts, whether at the community level or on a global scale. From grassroots activism to formal peace negotiations, women have demonstrated their unique skills, perspectives, and resilience in promoting harmony and resolving disputes. By recognizing and supporting the crucial role of women in peacebuilding, societies can unlock their full potential and create more inclusive and sustainable peace processes.

Historical Context 

Throughout history, women have faced numerous challenges in participating in peace and conflict resolution efforts. Their exclusion from formal decision-making processes and societal expectations placed upon them hindered their active involvement in matters of peace. However, women have always found ways to contribute to peacebuilding, often through informal channels and grassroots initiatives. For instance, during times of war, women have taken up roles as caregivers, healers, and peace advocates, working to alleviate suffering and restore communities.

Notable Examples 

1. The Women's Peace Movement: In the early 20th century, women began organizing themselves globally to protest against war and promote peace. The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) was established in 1915 and has since played a significant role in advocating disarmament, gender equality, and the resolution of conflicts through nonviolent means.

2. Leymah Gbowee and the Liberian Women's Peace Movement: During the Liberian civil war in the 1990s, women led a mass action movement to demand peace. Led by Leymah Gbowee, the movement brought together women from diverse backgrounds and religious affiliations to push for negotiations and an end to the violence. Their efforts culminated in the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2003.

3. Women in Formal Peace Processes: Despite the historical exclusion of women from formal peace negotiations, progress has been made in recent decades to include them. The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, adopted in 2000, recognizes the importance of women's participation in decision-making processes related to peace and security. This resolution has paved the way for greater female representation in peace talks, such as the Colombian peace process, where women played vital roles in shaping the agreement.

4. Grassroots Peacebuilding: At the community level, women have been instrumental in resolving conflicts and building peace. They often possess unique skills in mediation, negotiation, and fostering dialogue. Organizations like Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice in Uganda and the Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation in the Balkans work directly with local women to support their peacebuilding efforts and amplify their voices.

Challenges and Opportunities 

Despite the significant contributions of women in peacebuilding, several challenges persist. Gender-based violence, discrimination, and limited access to resources and decision-making spaces continue to hinder women's full participation. Addressing these challenges requires a comprehensive approach that focuses on gender mainstreaming, empowering women economically and politically, and challenging societal norms and stereotypes.

Opportunities for progress exist as well. Increasing recognition of women's unique abilities in conflict resolution has led to more inclusive peace processes. The involvement of women in decision-making positions at all levels of governance can promote gender-responsive policies and ensure peacebuilding efforts are more sustainable and effective. Investing in education and capacity-building programs for women in conflict-affected areas can empower them to take active roles in peacebuilding initiatives.


Women have proven time and again that they are essential keepers of peace and conflict resolution. From advocating for human rights and gender equality to leading grassroots initiatives and participating in formal peace negotiations, women have made invaluable contributions to the pursuit of peace. Despite historical challenges and ongoing obstacles, their determination, resilience, and unique perspectives have been catalysts for positive change.

Notable examples like the Women's Peace Movement, Leymah Gbowee's Liberian Women's Peace Movement, and the global recognition of women's roles in formal peace processes illustrate the progress made in acknowledging the importance of women in peacebuilding.

However, challenges such as gender-based violence and discrimination must be addressed to fully harness the potential of women in peace and conflict resolution. Embracing opportunities like gender mainstreaming and women's empowerment can pave the way for more inclusive and sustainable peace efforts.

In conclusion, societies and institutions worldwide must continue to support and amplify the voices of women in peacebuilding. By doing so, we can foster more inclusive, resilient, and enduring peace processes that benefit everyone and create a world where women's roles as keepers of peace are fully recognized and celebrated.

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