Recent research has started to shed light on some of the complex mechanisms associated with the outbreak of conflict, including the emergence of violent collective action, how competing groups form, interact and behave, and the organisation and functions of violence. The last few years have also witnessed a growing focus of the literature on conflict on the consequences of armed violence to the lives of people living in areas of conflict. One of the emerging findings of this literature is that the lives and livelihoods of women in contexts of violent conflict face significant adjustments as a reaction to the effects of violence on themselves, their families and their communities. The literature contains numerous accounts of women taking up new jobs, joining armies, acting as peacemakers and providing essential economic and social support to the reconstruction of communities affected by violent conflict. However, societal pressures and post-conflict processes tend to limit the capacity of women to participate fully and take advantage of new opportunities after the end of the war. Post-conflict contexts are currentlycharacterised by a mismatch between policy priorities and women‘s needs and aspirations.