This report presents an analysis of women’s inclusion in peace negotiations distilled from the ‘Broadening Participation in Political Negotiations and Implementation’ project. This is an ongoing multi-year research project started in 2011 at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, to address the lack of evidence-based knowledge on the precise role and impact of women’s inclusion on peace processes. The project comprises 40 in-depth qualitative case studies that examine the role and impact of all actors and groups – in addition to the main conflict parties – included in peace and political transition processes throughout all phases, including post-agreement implementation.
The research found that the direct inclusion of women does not per se increase the likelihood that more peace agreements are signed and implemented. What makes a difference is the influence women actually have on a process. This general conclusion is reinforced by six key findings:
- Women have made substantial contributions to peacemaking and constitution-making negotiations and to the implementation of final agreements.
- In the cases studied, the strength of women’s influence is positively correlated with agreements being reached and implemented.
- The involvement of women does not weaken peace processes. On the contrary, the presence of women strengthened the influence of other additionally included actors (aside from the main conflict parties).
- Women’s inclusion is not limited to direct participation at the negotiation table. The report identifies seven modalities of inclusion: direct participation at the negotiating table; observer status; consultations; inclusive commissions; problem-solving workshops; public decision-making; and mass action.
- A specific set of process and context factors work hand in hand to either enable or constrain the ability of women to participate and exercise influence. The main process factors are: selection criteria and procedures; decision-making procedures; coalition-building; transfer strategies; inclusion-friendly mediators; early inclusion; support structures; monitoring; and funding. The main context factors are: elite support or resistance; public buy-in; regional and international actors’ influence on a peace process; presence of strong women’s groups; preparedness of women; heterogeneity of women’s identities; societal and political attitudes and expectations surrounding gender roles; regional and international women’s networks and the existence of prior commitments to gender sensitivity and women’s inclusion.
- When women were found to be influential in a particular multi-stakeholder negotiation process, it was often because they pushed for more concrete and fundamental reforms.