How women take up political space: Through the eyes of women in the peace movement

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Morgan, Sarah
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Mount Saint Vincent University
Using a transformative holistic feminist analysis, this thesis examines ideas, organizations and actions of women in the peace movement at a time when politicians still treat war as a priority, despite their avowals of peace. Feminist grounded theory methodology supported the development of the concept of women’s space as a tool to explore how two peace groups, The Voice of Women and The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and their leaders, worked to create spaces of peace over time. Vigils, the persistent presence of women standing for peace in the public sphere, were identified as particularly significant transformative spaces as were women’s organizations themselves. Connections formed within women’s feminist spaces contrast with separations inherent in patriarchal culture. This research found that women-only feminist spaces of peace strengthen women’s voices. Within these groups, peace is envisioned as more than the absence of war, and the implementation of ideas orientated towards change is strategized. These spaces can facilitate women’s permanent presence within the public political sphere, an analysis mirrored in historical feminist peace literature, in particular that by Virginia Woolf. This thesis concludes with feminist theorists who have proposed concepts such as those in Ecofeminism and the Gift Economy that come out of a holistic analysis and display elements of a new paradigm.
Feminism , Peace movement , Pacifism , Voice of Women , Peace studies