Call for Papers
Women and Peacebuilding in the Arab Region: Intersectional Frameworks and Experiences
Guest Editors: Stephanie Chaban and Menaal Munshey
Deadline: August 1, 2022
Peacemaking and peacebuilding are gendered processes, similar to the different impacts that armed conflict have on men and women. Research shows that formal peace processes inclusive of women are more likely to succeed and are likely to be more durable; however, no such research has validated women’s participation in informal peacebuilding mechanisms at the local level. Research also highlights that peace agreements are more likely to include specific gender provisions if women are involved in peace negotiations and that, overall, women’s involvement as legislatures results in more gender-responsive legislation.
The omission of women from formal and informal means of peacebuilding negates efforts to attain gender equality, which has been show to serve as a prerequisite for State and community stability. International frameworks such as the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing Platform for Action and, more recently, the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, have sought to institutionalize women’s participation with varying impact. As such, it can be argued that women’s participation in peacebuilding processes is not only a necessity but a human right; however, such engagement must not be superficial or tokenistic.
The past two decades have witnessed the continuation of armed conflicts, increased instances of gender-based violence, the rise of xenophobia and efforts to close borders, a deadly pandemic, and a global environmental crisis. These events indicate the growing need for greater engagement of women (and girls) in peacebuilding and peacemaking processes and mechanisms.
Women and Peacebuilding in the Arab Region
More than a decade after the Arab uprisings that began in 2010, the Arab region continues to experience ongoing conflict, occupation and transition. As of early 2022, only seven member States in the region have adopted National Action Plans on WPS, in addition to a Regional Action Plan developed by the League of Arab States. Additionally, governments have intensified efforts to increase women’s formal political and economic participation, increase access to justice, address sexual and gender-based violence, and invest in gender-sensitive legal frameworks. Although these are positive steps, they do not go far enough to ensure the meaningful participation of women and girls in peacebuilding and peacemaking activities; nor do they seek a transformational approach. In adhering to a narrow understanding of WPS, we consistently see a focus on women’s descriptive participation rather than substantive participation. We also see the securitization of women’s rights and safety in States’ efforts at countering and preventing violent extremism, while State’s continue to take a narrow view of violence against women and girls, with a disproportionate focus on conflict-related sexual violence.
In the Arab region, women and girls have consistently been excluded from formal participation at the national level in peacebuilding and peacemaking processes in both social and political realms despite the occupation of Palestine, the protracted humanitarian crisis in Yemen, heightened militarization in Iraq, the absence of the rule of law in Libya and the highly complex war in Syria, among others. However, they are present as peace builders, peacemakers and mediators at the local and municipal levels, working as civic activists and community leaders. They are survivors, advocates, and service providers. They work to build peace in their respective communities and countries despite a lack of concrete attention and investigation.
This proposed issue seeks submissions identifying successful strategies and persisting challenges for women in peacemaking, peacebuilding, and mediation in the Arab region (especially in conflict and post-conflict zones) at the formal and informal levels. To better understand the different facets of women and peacebuilding in the Arab region and to critically engage with the issue, including empirical evidence (whether qualitative or quantitative), good practices, gaps, challenges, emerging trends, and priorities, this special edition of Al-Raida invites academic papers, desk reviews, personal reflections, interviews, and creative pieces broadly related to the topic of women and peacebuilding in the Arab Region.
Proposed Topics and Questions for Exploration:
- What does “peace” mean for women and girls in the Arab region? What does gendered peace and security in the Arab region look like?
- What are examples of localized peacebuilding, peacemaking, and mediation? In what ways have women engaged in decolonization practices, to ensure that interventions are localized/indigenized?
- What role do female youth, including girls, play in peacebuilding, peacemaking, and mediating activities and interventions?
- What role do women’s movements, women organizations, and/or women’s civil societies play in peacebuilding and peacemaking in the Arab region? How is the shrinking space of civil society addressed?
- What intersectional concerns and approaches to women’s peacebuilding and peacemaking exist in the Arab region? What impact do such identities (i.e., disability, queer, non-Arab, age, ethnic group, religious group, urban vs. rural, displaced or refugee) have on peacebuilding and peacemaking activities and approaches?
- Is the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda relevant to the conflicts taking place in the Arab region, many of which are intra-state?
- Is the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda applicable to the occupation of Palestine (particularly the Gaza Strip)? What can be learned from women’s peacemaking and peacebuilding efforts in this context?
- How have non-conflict crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic or climate change, impacted women’s peacebuilding and peacemaking in the Arab region?
- What type of transnational and transregional work on peacebuilding and peacemaking is taking place among women in the Arab region?
- How does gender responsive financing for women’s peacebuilding, peacemaking, and mediating manifest in the Arab region?
- How are the instrumentalization and securitization of women’s peacebuilding and peacemaking activities and approaches through countering and preventing violent extremism challenged in the Arab region?
- What are some non-traditional examples (through the arts, through sports, through informal networks) of women engaging in peacebuilding, peacemaking or mediation in the Arab region?
About the Journal and Submission Guidelines
Al-Raida is a bi-annual, feminist journal published by the Arab Institute for Women at the Lebanese American University in Beirut, Lebanon. The journal has been in print since 1976, and continues to be a feminist beacon in the Arab region and beyond. Al-Raida encourages cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary submissions with a focus on the Arab region and the Middle East, including diasporic populations. Al-Raida accepts both academic and non-academic pieces, including personal anecdotes, journalistic pieces, prose, and book reviews. All scholarly submissions are peer-reviewed.
Full author guidelines for academic and non-academic submissions can be found on www.alraidajournal.com.
Please submit your full-length article at www.alraidajournal.com, along with a short biography (no more than 200 words) on or before Wednesday, July 1, 2022, for consideration. Please include a reference to this call for papers on your manuscript submission. We aim to publish this issue in mid-2023.
We look forward to receiving your submissions.
 O’Reilly, Ó Súilleabháin, and Paffenholz (2015). Reimagining Peacemaking: Women’s Roles in Peace Processes.
 UN Women (2021). Women’s Meaningful Participation in Peace Processes: Modalities and Strategies across Tracks.
 UN Women and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (2021). Gender-responsive law-making: Handbook for Parliamentarians No. 33.
 The Arab region constitutes 22 member States: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
 These include Iraq, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
 UNDP, UN Women, UNFPA, and ESCWA (2018). Gender Justice & the Law: Assessment of Laws Affecting Gender Equality in the Arab States Region.