ISBN: 978-1-84701-281-4

Jenny Lorentzen

Lund University & PRIO

Read more about this book at

Feminist scholars have long argued that war is gendered. This volume extends that argument to peacebuilding. Rich case studies on South Sudan, Northeast Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan and Algeria demonstrate how civil war presents a window of opportunity for the transformation of gender relations in society. Each case study details how women contribute to formal peacebuilding (political and negotiation processes) as well as informal (everyday and localized activities). Contrary to popular tropes about women's innate capabilities for peacefulness or for motherhood, they argue that women's common gendered experiences of conflict are what created the possibilities for mobilization across class, ethnic or other differences. Women's roles in the fight against violent extremism, a more recent topic of international debates, figures in several of the chapters. In discussions at the policy level, assumptions about women's roles are often dominated by gender stereotypes. However, through the chapters on North-Eastern Nigeria, Sudan and Algeria, the book discusses violent extremism from the perspective of women's lived experiences and women's engagement in countering violent extremism, allowing for a more nuanced understanding of women's roles, agency, and (in)security. A major strength of this volume is undoubtedly the case studies: they are well-researched and rich in detail and include a selection of cases from recent peace processes in Africa, including countries within and beyond sub-Saharan Africa. It would be interesting to see similar studies from other regions, in order to assess to what extent arguments about peacebuilding as gendered and possibilities for women's rights reforms in postconflict governance structures hold true beyond the African context.