Women everywhere have long struggled for recognition as equal, productive members of society, worthy of taking part in the political process. These struggles become even more pronounced in times of conflict and war, when the symbolism and myths of womanhood are used to stoke nationalistic ideas about the survival of the state. Yet for all the rhetoric that takes place in their name, it is men who generally make decisions regarding war. This work examines how women respond to situations of conflict. Drawing on both traditional and feminist international relations theory, it explores the roles that women play before, during and after a conflict, how they spur and respond to nationalist and social movements, and how conceptions of gender are deeply intertwined with ideas about citizenship and the state. As the authors show, women do more than respond to conflict situations; they are active agents in their own right shaping political and historical processes. Their conclusions encourage us to rethink the prevalent assumptions of international relations, history and feminist scholarship and theory.