Reaching a Durable Peace in Afghanistan and Iraq: Learning from Investments in Women’s Programming


Steiner, Steven E., and Danielle Robertson. 2019. Reaching a Durable Peace in Afghanistan and Iraq: Learning from Investments in Women's Programming. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace. 

Authors: Steven E. Steiner, Danielle Robertson


Afghanistan and Iraq have long been embroiled in violent conflict fueled by deep-seated local grievances and international interests. In both countries, peacebuilding agendas and gender equality advancements have struggled to take hold. Local and international civil society, allied nations, and the US government need to continue their efforts while they fight public fatigue about international investment and financing in peacebuilding and development work. To sustain peace in these countries, peacebuilding and development programs need to take seriously the opportunities for learning from years of previous implementation—especially decades of work to advance the rights, agency, and opportunities of women and girls. Evidence supports the link between durable peace and women’s participation as peacebuilders. Women and girls need to be engaged as key partners for peace by local civil society, national governments, and international implementers in shaping and defining peace agendas. For programs to be more effective in advancing gender equality and sustaining peace, they need to follow a participatory design with local voices and ownership, adopt a holistic approach to implementation, pursue long-term engagement, and move beyond traditional women’s programming by addressing gender dynamics and masculine identities through the engagement of families and communities. To be more transformative in peacebuilding work, programs will need to address root drivers of gender inequality in societies and to simultaneously undertake targeted work to support the rights and needs of women and girls. Both approaches in tandem are essential to meaningfully pursue gender equality and sustain longterm peace” (Steiner and Robertson 2019, 1).

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Society, Development, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Organizations, Peacebuilding, Peace Processes Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan, Iraq

Year: 2019

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