Rethinking the post-conflict narrative
Women and the promise of peace in the ‘new’ Northern Ireland
in Northern Ireland a generation after Good Friday
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The Good Friday Agreement (GFA) marked itself out as significant for its commitment to ‘the right of women to full and equal participation in political life’. Moreover, some also lauded the relatively high levels of visibility and participation of women within the wider peace process. Although dominant, state-centric forms of conflict transition claim to be universally beneficial, evidence from the so-called ‘post-conflict’ period around the world demonstrates a continuity of violence and inequality for women, with many also facing new forms of violent practices. As a society emerging from protracted armed conflict, Northern Ireland is no exception. This chapter explores the position of women in Northern Ireland today, and by doing so seeks to problematise the ‘post-conflict’ narrative by gendering peace and security. The diverse issues explored here – from women’s political representation to gender-based violence and abortion – are linked and embedded within a structural and cultural gender order which invariably privileges masculinity and male power. The chapter finds that despite the widespread optimism among many feminists and women, what emerged in the place of the promised ‘equalities and inclusions’ agenda of the GFA is in fact an era of ‘neo-patriarchy’. While the GFA did undoubtedly provide the potential for a new era of greater equality between the sexes, more than twenty years on, Northern Irish society exhibits all the trademarks and insidious characteristics of a patriarchal society that has yet to undergo a genuine transformation in gender relations.

Northern Ireland a generation after Good Friday

Lost futures and new horizons in the ‘long peace’


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