Beyond Identity Lines: Women Building Peace in Northern Ireland and the Korean Peninsula


Kim, Dong Jin. 2019. "Beyond Identity Lines: Women Building Peace in Northern Ireland and the Korean Peninsula." Asia Europe Journal. doi: 10.1007/s10308-019-00551-5.

Author: Dong Jin Kim


This article explores the challenges and contributions of women in building and sustaining peace in protracted conflicts by conducting a comparative case study on Northern Ireland and Korea. Similarities in the histories of the conflicts and the concurrences in the peace processes have been attracting policy makers and researchers to share lessons between the Northern Ireland and Korean peace processes. However, the peacebuilding role of women and their transversal perspective have not yet received significant attention compared to the high-level agreements, signed predominantly by male politicians. This article identifies the similarities in the peacebuilding activities of women in Northern Ireland and Korea, in terms of their recognition of the interconnection between identity politics and patriarchy, building relationships across the divide through transversal dialogue, and initiating nonviolent peace movements against the militarism of their societies. The comparative case study also shows dissimilarities between the two cases, with regard to the freedom of women to move beyond boundaries, and being part of the official peace process. This article concludes the role of women in both contexts is a key element in sustainable peacebuilding; however, it appears that women’s peacebuilding would not be able to reach its full potential to break down violent structures in conflict-affected societies, as long as their transversal perspective remains at the level of social movement, not part of peacebuilding at all levels of societies, including high-level negotiations.

Keywords: women, gender, peacebuilding, peace process, Northern Ireland, Korea

Topics: Conflict, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Peacebuilding, Peace Processes, Post-Conflict, Violence Regions: Asia, East Asia, Europe, Western Europe Countries: North Korea, South Korea, United Kingdom

Year: 2019

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