The Powerful Role Women Play in Transitional Justice

During times of conflict, women are disproportionately affected, and often the victims of gender-based violence, lacking basic access to justice. Yet at the same time, women are often at the forefront of human rights movements, demanding change.

When women are given a voice and influence, all of society benefits—not just women. Women’s role in conflict resolution and peacebuilding during the transitional justice process is no exception.

When women are meaningfully included in the transitional justice process, evidence shows that the root causes of violence and discrimination and possible solutions, including broader social and economic rights, can be more comprehensively identified. The transitional responses to specific contexts will be more inclusive and more effective overall. 

In Ethiopia, thanks to the work and support of USAID’s Feteh Activity, women at all levels of society are playing an increasingly important role in the peacebuilding process. Under Feteh’s grantee, the Ethiopian Mediation and Arbitration Center (EMAC), 112 female judges have received family mediation trainings. These trainings have equipped them with skills to approach female litigants, often victims of conflict-related abuse, in simpler and less stressful ways—enabling them to mediate smoothly and to ensure a fair outcome to disputes.

Women in the village of Awra Amba, near Bahir Dar, actively lead conflict resolution and peacebuilding. In this community, it is the women who help resolve family conflicts, upholding the rule of law and peace in their community.

These stories and others are presented in Feteh’s regular radio programs, produced with broadcaster Solomon Advert, and explore the powerful role that women can have in conflict resolution and peacebuilding and in the new work of transitional justice.

Empowering women to be the agents of change rather than its objects requires creating a safe and enabling environment for all women to exert their power to shape peace and justice in their communities and on the national stage.

To learn more about Feteh’s work, go here.