Much has been written about women’s suffering in times of war but, despite the lip-service, little has actually been done to address it. Contributors to this issue of Development in Practice discuss conflicts that have raged throughout the Middle East, Africa, and Eastern Europe over the past century and highlight the commonalities of some of what women experience during wars and their potential to contribute both to war and particularly to peace. They consider some of the reasons why women’s concerns have yet to be placed at the forefront of both analysis and practical outcomes, and present an overview of different feminist approaches to peace building and conflict resolution, as well as concrete policy measures to achieve these ends. The authors address major conceptual and practical problems in the hope of paving the way towards establishing effective strategies that might help us realise the goals of female empowerment and gender equity that have been written about for decades. They argue that it is important to move beyond the myriad projects that involve women to consider the factors that contribute to the relatively poor overall impact of such projects, an outcome which often results from a failure to understand underlying gendered power relations and the dynamics of social change.
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