A Women’s Guide to Constitution Making

Authored by: Marie O'Reilly, Nanako Tamaru

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Economic Participation, Human Development, Political Transitions, Post-Conflict Reconstruction
Region: No Region
Year: 2018
Citation: O'Reilly, Marie and Nanako Tamaru. "A Women's Guide to Constitution Making." Inclusive Security. January 2018.

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Executive Summary

The purpose of this guide is to support you and other women seeking to influence a constitution-making process in your country. It provides guidance for women advocates from women advocates, as well as other constitutional experts. This guide is intended for women involved in all aspects of constitution reform, including constitution-drafting bodies, civil society organizations, constitutional experts, researchers, activists, and everything in between.

We created this guide because women are too often excluded or underrepresented in constitution making—particularly in processes emerging out of armed conflict, unrest, or other political transitions. Research by Inclusive Security shows that, on average, only 19 percent of members of constitution-drafting bodies between 1990 and 2015 were women. Women remain far from achieving equal participation in these processes, and access does not always translate into influence. Women face multiple challenges to their participation, including gendered biases that undermine their political legitimacy, barriers to effective coalition building, and powerful parties whose interests conflict with their own. Despite these hurdles, our research has found that when women have been included, they have exerted considerable influence on the decision-making process, the text of the constitution, and broader prospects for a successful transition to a peaceful future. This guide seeks to strengthen those outcomes by supporting and empowering women to become more effective advocates inside and outside the constitution-making body.