by Joanna Beletic, Research Assistant
The above video is from the International Peace Institute’s Women in Mediation and Peace Process project, which seeks to strengthen the participation of women in peace negotiations.
The United Nations Security Council’s Resolution 1325 outlines the necessity for full and equal participation of women during and post conflict for lasting peace. It seeks to protect women’s human rights while outlining the methods of participation in conflict resolution and in women’s access to relief and recovery after conflict.
The SCR 1325, paragraph one calls for increased representation:
Urges Member States to ensure increased representation of women at all decision-making levels in national, regional and international institutions and mechanisms for the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict;
Paragraph eight emphasizes the need for gendered solutions:
Calls on all actors involved, when negotiating and implementing peace agreements, to adopt a gender perspective, including, inter alia:
(a) The special needs of women and girls during repatriation and resettlement and for rehabilitation, reintegration and post-conflict reconstruction;
(b) Measures that support local women’s peace initiatives and indigenous processes for conflict resolution, and that involve women in all of the implementation mechanisms of the peace agreements;
(c) Measures that ensure the protection of and respect for human rights of women and girls, particularly as they relate to the constitution, the electoral system, the police and the judiciary; Unfortunately progress has been slow and women continue to be overburdened during and after violent conflict. Not only is it reasonable to include women in peace talks; it is smart. Their inclusion brings a new set of networks and voices within civil society that can be mobilized for the implementation of peace efforts. Additionally, women tend to take peace discussions beyond that of ceasefire and disengagement of hostilities. There is evidence that links women’s participation in the peace process to successful negotiation outcomes. The results tend to be more durable and inclusive of all sectors of society.
Mireia Cano Vinas, in her book Gender Audit of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Region, underscores how the inclusion of women brings different priorities and interests to the peace table:
“key stakeholders need to broaden and deepen the concept of gender in peacebuilding and acknowledge that women and men as social actors play multiple and different roles; that women and men experience conflict and peace differently; that they have differential access to resources (including power and decision-making); and that they have different practical needs and strategic interests relating to gender power relations.”
The Women’s Participation in Peace Negotiations: Connections between Presence and Influence Report sampled 31 major peace processes and found that women represented only 4% of signatories, 2.4% of chief mediators, 3.7% of witnesses and 9% of negotiators. Much needs to be addressed as we work to adjust these norms; training key negotiating bodies and stakeholders is a step in the correct direction. These include: correcting gender sensitive language to avoid marginalizing women and blanketing them within categories such as women and youth. Addressing men and women equally as contributors to peace. Acknowledging that gender norms drive conflict as they reinforce gendered inequality; conflict creates a climate of militarization and thus norms of masculinity that strengthen the dichotomy between, and stereotypes of, feminine and masculine.
“It’s time to re-set the Peace Table” video, http://resetthepeacetable.org/ (November 8,2015)
Mirela Cano Vinas, “Gender Audit of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Region”, International Alert, (October 2015)
Patty Chang, Mayesha Alam, Roslyn Warren, Rukmani Bhatia, Rebecca Turkington, “Women Leading Peace”, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (2015)
“Peace endures when women can participate meaningfully in peace talks, says new UN report”, UN News Center, http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=52238#.Vj- 4VK6rSRs (November 7, 15)
Security Council Resolution 1325, United Nations, (October 2000)
Women’s Participation in Peace Negotiations: Connections between Presence and Influence, UN Women, (October 2012)
“Women in Mediation and Peace”, International Peace Institute,http://www.ipinst.org/program/women-peace- security (November 7, 15)