The ‘mainstreaming’ of gender issues throughout all aspects of peace and reconstruction processes has been widely advocated for at least a decade. However, women are often absent from peace processes, and most post-conflict planning for reconstruction continues to ignore, or inadequately account for, gender issues. Hence, gender inequalities go unchallenged. This article examines two key challenges in promoting greater female participation and ensuring the effective inclusion of gender issues within peace and reconstruction strategies. First, there is a need for institutions which are sensitive to gender issues, and committed to promoting gender equality as a part of peace processes. Second, women’s full participation in these institutions needs to be supported through capacity building. This article discusses two initiatives in Sri Lanka which aim to respond to these challenges.
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