The Feminist Institutional Dimensions of Power-Sharing and Political Settlements

Citation: Ní Aoláin, F. (2018). The Feminist Institutional Dimensions of Power-Sharing and Political Settlements. Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, 28(1), pp 116-132.

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Abstract: This article applies key insights from feminist institutionalist analysis to power-sharing and political settlement in postconflict societies. Drawing on the concept of “gender orders,” allied with considerations of the informal and highly masculine rituals and rules that pervade institutional political life, the article demonstrates how apparent gendered gains in power-sharing are limited in their transformative effect. Despite a greater emphasis on female inclusion, as mandated by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, women’s capacity to shape postconflict politics in power-sharing is limited. These limitations are shaped not only by the complexity of postconflict political landscapes but by women’s restricted access to closed informal spaces pivotal to the masculine functioning of power-sharing. The tendency to view women’s contributions in highly essentialized and feminized ways undercuts and devalorizes women’s political work in power-sharing institutions. Urging greater attention to the informal life of political institutions, the article exposes the multiple layers of exclusion for women in postconflict political engagement.