Struggling for Peace: How Women in Northern Ireland Challenged the Status Quo

Solutions Journal, Volume 2 , Issue 2, Feb 2011

12 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2014

See all articles by Avila Kilmurray

Avila Kilmurray


Monica McWilliams

Ulster University - Transitional Justice Institute

Date Written: February 1, 2012


Since the late 1990s women have been struggling for a place at the table in peace accords. The inclusion of women in such negotiations is not merely a question of gender equity but also contributes to an improved negotiating process and the creation of a more durable peace agreement. A new political party established in the midst of a macho conservative culture, the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition (NIWC) succeeded in getting elected to the multiparty talks that led to the Belfast Agreement in 1998 (also known as the Good Friday Agreement). The struggle to find solutions so that women’s concerns are not discarded, particularly following the implementation of a peace agreement, should resonate with those working with the UN resolutions on women and peace building. The NIWC’s legacy is its freshness of perspective and solutions-focused approach — much needed in countries coming out of conflict. The coalition’s achievements in creating workable outcomes for the long term should encourage people everywhere who seek solutions in peace negotiations so that they can rebuild their societies.

Key Concepts: •Women can play a strong role in conflict situations. •The establishment of credible networks can help women build influence in the peace process both at home and abroad. •Inclusive dialogue and risk taking are necessary to sustain relationships with excluded parties during periods of serious tension in the peace process. •Casual encounters can be essential in gathering insights from other parties and those working behind the scenes in negotiations. •Gender analysis can lead to a more comprehensive understanding of the realities of conflict and the meaning of security.

JEL Classification: J78

Suggested Citation

Kilmurray, Avila and McWilliams, Monica, Struggling for Peace: How Women in Northern Ireland Challenged the Status Quo (February 1, 2012). Solutions Journal, Volume 2 , Issue 2, Feb 2011. Available at SSRN:

Avila Kilmurray


No Address Available

Monica McWilliams (Contact Author)

Ulster University - Transitional Justice Institute ( email )

Belfast, Northern Ireland BT370QB
00442890368597 (Phone)


Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics