A peacebuilder's story: Joe, UK

We believe that peace requires the equal participation of all members of society, including men, women, girls, boys and gender minorities.

To mark International Women's Day 2015, we are sharing the stories of our inspiring peacebuilders around the world – both men and women – and their views on peace and gender equality.

Joe Whitaker, UK

Joe is Senior Programme Design and Assessment Officer at International Alert and is based in London.

Why did you decide to work in peacebuilding?

"I became involved in peacebuilding as a community mediator in the east end of London, because I wanted to help people whose lives were blighted by conflicts that had become unmanageable."

Why is International Women's Day important to you?

"International Women's Day is an opportunity to highlight women’s valuable, but often unrecognised, contributions to the non-violent resolution of conflict, as well as the continued suppression of women’s rights in many countries."

Why in your opinion is gender equality important for peacebuilding?

"Gender equality is integral to peacebuilding because gender inequality is a form of structural violence that needs to be tackled for a society to be peaceful. Moreover, efforts by peacebuilders to tackle other forms of inequality are strengthened when they include gender analysis."

What has been your proudest moment as a peacebuilder to date?

"My proudest moment is from my time as a mediator. It was the result of a difficult roundtable meeting between two neighbours who started the session very angry and upset with each other, but after two hours of dialogue shared a car ride home – a good indicator of a changed relationship!"