Ending violence and moving forward in the fragile social, economic, and political setting that follows a conflict poses challenges to women and men alike but also creates unique opportunities. Building Peace dedicate Issue 3 to gender and peacebuilding, exploring how women and men can reconstruct war-torn nations. Our authors include civil society activists, policymakers, educators, students, film-makers, and philanthropists—people working for change from multiple vantage points. They write from and about Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, and places in between, affirming a recent quote by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, execu- tive director of UN Women, “Gender equality is also smart peacebuilding.”
Making peace is a process, but a formal moment when peace is declared almost always sets the stage for what comes next. In her 2012 study, “Anchoring the Peace: Civil Society Actors in Peace Accords and Durable Peace,” Desirée Nilsson looked at eighty-three peace agreements and found that these agreements are 60 percent less likely to fail when nongovernmental actors and political parties participate in the nego- tiations. This is as strong a case as any for including women, minorities, and other underrepresented groups in peace processes.