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Women as Architects of Peace: Gender and the Resolution of Armed Conflict

22 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2007 Last revised: 26 Dec 2007

Margaret E. McGuinness

St. John's University - School of Law


This essay was adapted from remarks at the 2006 Symposium, Gender, War & Peace: Women's Status in the Wake of Conflict, held at Michigan State University in 2006. As many of the contributions to the symposium demonstrate, women and girls experience particularized harms from armed conflict, including, for example, the psychological fall-out and physical damage of sex-related war crimes, the permanent displacement of women and children from their homes, and the destruction of families and livelihoods. Redressing these harms through post-conflict accountability mechanisms is an important, but incomplete response. Peace processes - the informal and formal mechanisms through which wars are ended and transitions to post-war order are managed and regulated - may have longer term consequences for the welfare of women than the underlying armed conflicts. Domestic and comparative studies tend to demonstrate that women behave differently from men within dispute resolution processes. Given these differences, and because war carries particularly devastating effects for women and girls, efforts to end war and prevent the recurrence of armed conflict should systematically consider the role of women and include women as active participants in peace building.

Suggested Citation

McGuinness, Margaret E., Women as Architects of Peace: Gender and the Resolution of Armed Conflict. Michigan State University College of Law Journal of International Law, Vol. 15, p. 63, 2006; University of Missouri School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2007-23. Available at SSRN:

Margaret McGuinness (Contact Author)

St. John's University - School of Law ( email )

8000 Utopia Parkway
Jamaica, NY 11439
United States

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