What Prevents Peace? Women and Peacebuilding in Bosnia and Nepal
June 22, 2019
Through interviews with more than 70 women, researchers “identify five barriers that prevent women from feeling at peace in their daily lives.
There is an emerging consensus that women must play a more substantial role in transformations from violence to stability. The UN Women, Peace, and Security framework recognizes the unique challenges women face during war and affirms the important role they play in the prevention and resolution of conflicts. Despite this framework and other related efforts, peace remains elusive for many who have lived through armed conflict. What prevents formal, internationally led peacebuilding efforts from fostering sustainable peace in ordinary citizens’ lives? Put differently, despite the variety of peacebuilding mechanisms offered, what prevents peace from taking hold, for women in particular? In this paper, we focus on two postwar cases: Bosnia and Nepal. Drawing on interviews with more than seventy women in both countries, we identify five barriers that prevent women from feeling at peace in their daily lives: economic insecurity, competing truths, hierarchies of victimhood, continuums of violence, and spatial and temporal dislocation. We conclude by outlining ways that women in both countries work to overcome those barriers by pioneering innovations in peacebuilding, which may reveal possibilities for future interventions.