Unsettling Bargains? Power-sharing and the Inclusion of Women in Peace Negotiations

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Policy points:
• There is work on the processes by which power-sharing arrangements can exclude notably women but little systematic research on the relationship. The report’s 14 recommendations include:
• Women and gender perspectives should be considered at the pre-negotiation stage of peace processes.
• Power-sharing arrangements should build in power-sharing for women with clear representation of and gender balance required and implemented through electoral law.
• Attention should also be paid to the electoral system type and sanctions for non-compliance affecting gender-balance.

Abstract: The report draws on a new dataset from the Peace Agreement Access tool PA-X (see power-sharing data in tables contained in Appendix One), together with gender quota data from the Quota Project (www.quotaproject.org).

This report responds to what the author suggests is an urgent need to develop clearer conceptual thinking on the relationship of women’s equality to power-sharing in the peace and security field. It also responds to a need to work towards more systematic empirical evaluation of the relationship. At present the relationship is driven somewhat by ‘mantras’. These include on one side, the mantra that limited elite pacts are necessary for state-building and ‘stability’ and that other forms of ‘inclusion’ must be set aside, temporarily if not in-definitely, for a peace process to be successful.

On the other side, the mantra is that power-sharing is ‘bad’ for women or incompatible with women’s equality and public participation, with the implicit follow-on claim that there is a better way of doing things. The report observes that there is a need for more sustained engagement of the women, peace and security agenda with power-sharing arrangements. It further observes that the data on peace agreement provision and subsequent election practice indicates that power-sharing arrangements typically make some provision for women. This suggests that there is no automatic assumption by negotiators or parties to the conflict that inclusion of women in executives and legislatures is destabilizing of power-sharing arrangements.

Keywords: Conflict; Gender, Power-Sharing; Elites; Governance

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