Principled Pragmatism and the ‘Inclusion Project’: Implementing a Gender Perspective in Peace Agreements

Citation:

Bell, C., & McNicholl, K. (2019). Principled Pragmatism and the ‘Inclusion Project’: Implementing a Gender Perspective in Peace Agreements. Feminists @ Law, 9(1).

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Abstract: UN Security Council Resolution 1325 of 2000 provided that peace agreements should adopt a ‘gender perspective’. This commitment has been reiterated in women, peace and security resolutions since that time. This article uses a mixed qualitative and quantitative analysis to consider when and how peace agreements have adopted a gender perspective, using a new PA-X peace agreement database to analyse over 1500 peace and transition agreements from between 1990 and 2016. It goes further to consider how inclusion of women is related to the other forms of political and group inclusion contemplated to form part of the new political settlement. The article begins by examining what might be meant by a ‘gender perspective in peace agreements’. It maps out when and how peace agreements provide for women, girls and gender, but also for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans communities, and for ‘men and boys’ and ‘family’ at different stages of a peace process. The article provides new data on the implementation of agreement commitments and specifically those issues singled out for attention by UNSC 1325. Finally, we consider the inclusion project on offer to women and its relationship to the conceptualisation of the conflict and its solution, by considering the relationship between gender, power-sharing and transitional justice. In summary, analysis of the dataset provides three main findings. First provision for women is still largely limited to once-off provisions, or issues relating to the victimhood of women, with holistic attempts to adopt a ‘gender perspective’ relatively rare. Second, the inclusion of women in peace agreement texts tends to be located in the more comprehensive stages of the agreement, with little consideration given to women and gender at either pre-negotiation stages of a peace process, or implementation stages. Third, surprisingly perhaps, political power-sharing is shown to be strongly correlated with several measures of gender inclusion rather than marking an exclusive focus on the inclusion of the groups at the heart of the conflict. In conclusion we argue that peace agreements indicate the presence of ‘principled pragmatism’ whereby elite commitments to political equality are used by a range of groups to push for a more pluralist conception of the peace settlement as also concerned with the political equality of groups beyond the conflict actors.

Keywords:  conflict, women, gender perspective, peace processes, power-sharing, transitional justice, constitutions

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