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The Ethnic Conflict Research Digest

1999, Vol. 2 No. 1 .

Women and the Politics of Peace: Contributions to a culture of women's resistance

(Zagreb: Centre for Women's Studies, 1997)
360pp. ISBN 953-97414-0-8

This bilingual book (English and Croat) represents the proceedings of presentations held at the International Women's Forum: Women and the Politics of Peace in Zagreb, October 1996 and organised by the Centre for Women's Studies - Zagreb, Croatia. It is organised under three themes: Women as Champions of Peace; Ways of Transforming conflicts - Voices of Women; and Peace within the Region. Contributors include activists, academics and practitioners and many of the women have more than one role. This diversity is reflected in the contributions which include intense, emotional and personal accounts of life experiences in divided communities which have endured a long-time experience of war (p.10) and more theoretical and ideological pieces. As Biljana Kasic notes in her excellent foreword underlying the whole is an attempt to examine how women articulate peace, and in particular, the accounts reveal the multiplicity of approaches women have adopted in constructing a space for the politics of peace in the circumstances of war.

Under the theme Women as Champions of Peace the reader is presented with contributions that detail various initiatives by women to provide forums for peace not only in the former Yugoslavia but also in Israel-Palestine and in Northern Ireland. The following sections also include material from the three regions and two major points are clear throughout. The first is that women are active in peace initiatives and are important participants in the process of reconciliation therefore they must be given the opportunity to participate in official peace negotiations. Following this is the unanswered question about how would such participation by women affect the global politics of power and international security.

This is a very readable book for those interested in the role of women in peace.

Gillian Robinson,
INCORE, University of Ulster

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