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In Nicaragua, gender ideologies – and, in particular, discourses of motherhood – have frequently been manipulated by political forces. In the early 1990s, at the end of the civil war, Sandinista and Contra women in Waslala united to form a group which aimed to end the political polarisation within their community and promote development. Aid agencies provided funds on the understanding that both sides would work together. Discourses of reconciliation were both powerful and pervasive, offering a way of overcoming the hatred caused by war, and bringing about a sustainable peace. These discourses draw on ideas of women as mothers and peacebuilders, which are appealing to many, including women themselves. Yet these simplistic characterisations of women are a flimsy basis on which to initiate reconciliation. This is because women’s gender identities do not exist in isolation, but intersect with other identities, including those derived from political allegiances. Ultimately, this led to the failure of reconciliation in Waslala.

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