The so-called “Arab Spring” is leaving behind a double transitional scenario, from non-democratic regimes to democracy [i.e. in Tunisia or Egypt] and from internal conflict to peace [i.e. in Libya]. In both cases, though, the professed aim is to build a sustainable peace through the instauration of the rule of law and democracy. Transitions are times of political but also social transformation. Therefore, attention should be paid to their gender-reshaping potential and the capacity to transform gender relations in society, in order to achieve changes not only in the socio-political post-conflict arena, but also in the traditional configuration of gender relations within the society in transition.
After years of global action to advance the protection of women’s rights, the Arab Spring offers a great opportunity to assess whether gender issues are today properly taken into consideration in post-conflict periods and how peace processes and transitions in the countries involved can address women’s needs and concerns. During the protests, women have been extremely active, have taken positions in the public arena and put forward their demands. But once the protests are over and transitions towards new regimes are starting, the big question is what role women will be allowed to play in building peace and democracy.