Political Settlements and Gender

This theme focuses on conceptualising gender and political settlements.  While each of our themes integrates gender analysis, this theme focuses specifically on the inclusion of women.  Political settlements with their focus on elites appear from the literature to be gender blind: the development of the concept thus far has produced little by way of comprehensive or scholarly or policy literature available to elucidate the nature and form of the gender dimensions of political settlements, although work is slowly beginning to emerge.

This theme begins with the observation that the relative omission of gender from political settlement analysis is one that follows from its frame of analysis and focus on elite groups. For those who understand settlements as primarily concerning the exercise of power by elites, women are not a relevant category of analysis; although emerging expansion of power-analysis to include ‘how power is organised in society and the rules that regulate how elites work together’ may have some more space to consider the relationship to women.

In response, we examine: the strategies used by women locally and transnationally to intervene and influence political settlements; how international law is used by women internally to acheive change; the ways in which gender violence is part of a political settlements; and the difficulties of gender and institutional transformation.

Projects in this theme will critically interrogate the gendered aspect of ‘political settlement’ as a category. They will also specifically consider the relationship of violence against women and political settlements (contributing to Theme 2: Conflict), and institutional analysis of gender and institutional transformation. Projects in this work-stream will also contribute to Theme 5: Transformation, and analysis of strategies for transformation of political settlements.

  • How does the conceptual definition of ‘political settlement’ function to include or exclude women?
  • How do women challenge and expand the frameworks of political settlement in formal politics as well as through social movements and organised activism for securing inclusive outcomes?
  • How have gender inclusive processes, for peace agreements and constitutions and institutional reform, played out in practice?
  • What does this experience tell us about the top-down process of bargaining between elites’?
  • What role does violence against women play in political settlement bargaining processes?
  • How are we to understand the functions of private and public violence against women from conflict, to peace process, to post-settlement period?
  • Given the level of local, transnational, and international feminist energy have invested to date in pushing progressive international norm development (eg UNSC 1325 2000) to what extent do these standards give leverage to women in the continuous bargaining processes of domestic political settlements?

See more about this theme here.

Co-ordinators: Catherine O’Rourke and Fionnuala Ní Aoláin (TJI)