Fighting ‘Feminist Fatigue’? Women and Peace Negotiations

Authored by: Julia Palmiano and Sanam Naraghi Anderlini

Categories: Peace Support Operations
Sub-Categories: International Agreements, Peace Accords, Peace Support Operations, Peacemaking
Region: No Region
Year: 2014
Citation: Palmiano, Julia, and Sanam Naraghi Anderlini. “Fighting ‘Feminist Fatigue’? Women and Peace Negotiations.” Working Paper 2/2014, Swiss Peace, 2014.

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Executive Summary

This working paper investigates how the presence of women affects peace talks. Its importance is based on the increased theoretical and empirical interest surrounding women and peacebuilding coupled with the salience of mediation and negotiation as a key con ict resolution mechanism. The roots of the deba- tes surrounding women at the peace table are multi- disciplinary in nature. The advocacy movement was not based on women’s rights exclusively, but was part of a larger constellation of con ict resolution and inclusi- ve peacemaking; human security and human rights as well as the human rights of women. With this in mind, the following working paper focuses on the particular challenges of the women’s rights approach, questio- ning the effectiveness of strands of current feminist academic and policy literature and the resulting ad- vocacy campaigns pushing for greater representati- on and participation of women at the peace table. It argues for a greater focus on the current architecture of peace negotiations as an alternative entry point for more inclusive peace processes. The working paper begins with an analysis of relevant literature on medi- ation, policymaking, women and peacemaking, as well as feminist theory before undertaking an interpretive analysis of 14 interviews with mediation experts and negotiators. The research ndings show that the pre- sence of women does make a fundamental difference in peace talks, but not necessarily in the way assumed by gender mainstreaming policy literature, i.e. as an aid towards the conclusion of a negotiated settlement. The ndings suggest instead that a holistic gender analysis and greater synthesis of policymaking on women and negotiations with peace process design and structure is needed in order to move the debate beyond discus- sions on women and quotas towards discussions on how having both men and women actively participating in formal peace processes leads to fuller, broader, and more sustainable peace agreements.