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Report Launch: Breaking the gender trap: Challenging patriarchal norms to build peace by International Alert

12 May, 2023 @ 4:00 pm 6:30 pm

In societies across the world, power is held by men, through cultural norms and customs that favour men and withhold opportunity from women.

Such patriarchal norms create narrow and limiting definitions of what it means to be a man or a woman, which leads to gender inequality and disrupts social harmony. These norms often prioritise men’s perspectives and experiences, denying women a voice and their human rights. As culturally ingrained aspects of society, both women and men reinforce and suffer from the impacts of these rigid roles and behaviours.

The impact of these social constructs is far-reaching: they can be triggers for conflict within and between societies and worsen hopes for achieving sustainable peace. International Alert’s latest research in Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Nigeria and the Philippines has found that patriarchal norms perpetually compromise peacebuilding efforts.

To address this challenge, International Alert Europe is hosting a discussion on how to overcome patriarchal norms in peacebuilding. The conversation will focus on sharing effective strategies to challenge patriarchal norms within peacebuilding programming and ensure women are included in efforts to build peace.

We’ll hear from the author of the report on the themes emerging from the research in all four contexts and some of the ways Alert’s teams and partners approach gender norms and patriarchal power structures. For example, how International Alert in Kyrgyzstan developed a Kyrgyz language gender lexicon to transform the way local communities talk about gender and empower women. We’ll also hear how the Netherlands addresses gender and patriarchal norms in its approach to supporting women, peace, and security.


  • Kirsten Meersschaert, Executive Director, International Alert Europe (Moderator)
  • Frank Groome, Deputy Head of Mission, Irish Embassy in the Hague (Welcoming remarks)
  • Pascalle Grotenhuis, Ambassador for Gender Equality & Women’s Rights, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Shakirat Toktosunova, Central Asia Director, International Alert
  • Swechchcha Dahal, former Gender and Peacebuilding Adviser, International Alert

We hope you can join us for this fruitful exchange on how we can collaborate to build more inclusive and sustainable peace.

The discussion will be 16:00 – 17:30 followed by a reception with food and drink.

Sign-up available here!

International Alert

Amare Den Haag

Spuiplein 150
Den Haag, Zuid Holland 2511 DG Netherlands
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