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Illuminating the Unseen
September 2015

Many women working for peace around the world are motivated by their religious beliefs, whether they work within secular or religious organizations. These women often find themselves sidelined or excluded from mainstream peacebuilding efforts. Secular organizations can be uncomfortable working with religious groups. Meanwhile, religious institutions often dissuade or even disallow women from leadership positions. Women, Religion, and Peacebuilding: Illuminating the Unseen shows how women determined to work for peace have faced these obstacles in ingenious ways—suggesting, by example, ways that religious and secular organizations might better include them in larger peacebuilding campaigns and make those campaigns more effective in ending conflict.

The first part of the book examines the particular dynamics of women of faith working toward peace within Catholicism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism. The second part contains case studies of women peacebuilders in Africa, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, detailing how their faiths have informed their work, what roles religious institutions have played as they have moved forward, what accomplishments have resulted from their efforts, and what challenges remain. An appendix of interviews offers further perspectives from peacebuilders, both women and men.

Ultimately, Women, Religion, and Peacebuilding is a call to change the paradigm of peacebuilding inside and outside of the world’s faiths, to strengthen women’s abilities to work for peace and, in turn, improve the chances that major efforts to end conflicts around the world succeed.

EDITORS: Susan Hayward and Katherine Marshall

CONTRIBUTORS: Maryann Cusimano Love • S. Ayse Kadayifci-Orellana • Dena Merriam • Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen • Margaret Jenkins • Bilkisu Yusuf • Kathleen McGarvey • Etin Anwar • Andrea K. Blanch • Esther Hertzog • Ibtisam Mahameed • Zilka Spahic Šiljak • Mónica A. Maher • Anjana Dayal Prewitt • Jacqueline Ogega

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