A Continuum of Violence: Gender, War and Peace 1
Feminist understanding of the processes involved in militarization, armed conflict and peacemaking has grown fast over the last two decades. This chapter suggests that a gender perspective on the successive moments in the flux of peace and war is not an optional extra but a stark necessity. It reveals features of conflict and conflict resolution that have to be understood if we are to develop effective strategies for mitigating the effects of conflict, and for restoring and maintaining peace. The chapter shows what some of those features are, and discusses an interrelation between them that suggests what feminist antimilitarists have termed a 'continuum of violence' (Feminism and Nonviolence Study Group 1983). It utilizes a gender lens to trace the links between four time phases: pre-war, war-fighting, peacemaking and post-war moments. The universality of gender systems is perhaps not remarkable, given the reproductive dimorphism of human beings: two sexes, complementary coupling.