Women, Peace Negotiations, and Peace Agreements: Opportunities and Challenges

Citation: Bell, C. (2018). ‘Women, Peace Negotiations, and Peace Agreements: Opportunities and Challenges’, in Ní Aoláin, F., Cahn, N., Haynes, D. F., & Valji, N. (Eds.). Oxford Handbook of Gender and Conflict. S.l.: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS.

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Peace agreements, seeking to end conflict and establish a road map for the future, have significant effects on women’s lives, yet historically women have been absent from peace processes. This chapter examines obstacles that often limit women’s involvement in peace negotiations, despite the creation of an international framework that supports the inclusion of women in such processes. The chapter reviews the pragmatic opportunities and challenges for women in the pre-negotiation stage, the framework development/substantive stage, and the implementation/renegotiation stage. Among the challenges addressed are issues of access and power within negotiating spaces. The chapter describes instances where women have successfully participated in peace negotiations, and offers three directions for future growth: further involvement of women in negotiations; using a gender perspective in all aspects of the substantive agreement; and developing a long term commitment to sustaining peace.

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