Gender Perspectives

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Where are women involved in peace processes, and how can peace agreements adopt a gender perspective? You will see how there is a low level of women’s inclusion in peace agreements but that it has gradually improved over time.

Gender Perspectives theme - animated thumbnail

UN Security Council Resolution 1325 talks about the need to adopt a ‘gender perspective’ in peace agreements.

It calls on all actors involved, when negotiating and implementing peace agreements, to adopt a gender perspective, including:
  1. The special needs of women and girls during repatriation and resettlement and for rehabilition, reintegration and post-conflict reconstruction;
  2. 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;
  3. Measures than 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.

The inclusion of women in peace agreement texts tends to be located in the more comprehensive stages of the agreement. Women often are particularly excluded in early stages of a peace process, or in implementation negotiations.

Sum of the proportions of each process stage that include agreements referring to women

Provision for women in peace agreements is still largely limited to once-off provisions, or issues relating to the victimhood of women.

The pie-chart below shows the number of different kinds of provisions for women that are in agreements. The majority only include one or two different forms of provision

Women’s participation

Burundi, Constitution of 2005 Article 129: The Government is open to all the ethnic components. It includes at most 60% of Hutu Ministers and Vice-Ministers and at most 40% of Tutsi Ministers and Vice-Ministers. A minimum of 30% of women is assured.

Proportion of agreements that make any reference to women per year, and including the dates of significant UN security Council resolutions

The Nepali peace process is an example of a process that was built on a commitment to inclusion, including of women.

Proportion of each kind of agreement in the Nepali peace process and how many agreements refer to women

0% 21% 100% 50% 40% 0% Renewal agreements x 1 Implementation agreements x 14 Comprehensive agreements x 3 Substantive-partial agreements x 16 Pre-negotiation agreements x 5 Ceasefires x 12

Political power-sharing is surprisingly shown to be strongly correlated with gender inclusion in a peace agreement. But often women find themselves excluded by how it works in practice.

1.32 8.67

Average number of provisions relating to women in power-sharing agreements and agreement with no power-sharing

Political power-sharing (process)

No political power-sharing (process)

Sexual violence tends to mutate from pre-conflict to during conflict, to post-conflict, in ways that should inform peace agreement design.

The proportion of peace processes that have agreements that contain each of these provisions relating to violence against women

29% of peace processes with agreements discussing disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) of rebel groups do not have any agreements that mention women

  DDR agreements that mention women 29% DDR agreements that DO NOT mention women 71%
 

Commitments to inclusive peace processes are often difficult to translate into peace process design. However, often concerted actions between marginalised groups are more effective in acheiving commitments to equality and inclusion.

Comparison of how agreements which mention women, and agreements which do not, include other marginalised groups

 

Recommendations

Recommendation 1

Peace agreements seldom include a full gender perspective, and so UNSCR 1325 still needs better implementation mechanisms.

 

Recommendation 2

Greater attention should be paid to the inclusion of women at early stages of peace process, and during implementation stages rather than focusing on comprehensive agreements alone.

 

Recommendation 3

Women’s organisations need to be supported to access talks, along with other marginalised constituencies.

     

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References to women, girls and gender.

References

See publications at: www.politicalsettlements.org/publications-database In particular Bell, C., & McNicholl, K. (2019). Principled Pragmatism and the 'Inclusion Project': Implementing a Gender Perspective in Peace Agreements. Feminists @ Law, 9(1). www.politicalsettlements.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/2019_Bell-McNicholl_feminists-law.pdf