Report | 2020

Executive Summary

This paper investigates trends in the presence of gender provisions in peace agreements. The authors analyzed 352 peace agreements in 64 countries between 1990 and 2019 to see whether gender provisions were included and to identify which factors influence the likelihood of such provisions. The key findings have important implications for advancing gender mainstreaming in peace processes.

Good news: Up through 2013, there had been a significant increase in the share of peace agreements with gender provisions, from below 10 percent in the 1990s to 45 percent in 2013.
Bad news: the share has plummeted since 2013, to a new low of 11 percent in 2018. In 2019, the share of agreements with gender provisions rebounded to 29 percent, but remained below the 2013 peak.

Which factors influence the likelihood of gender provisions in peace agreements?


Participatory processes and the democratization of peace negotiations is significantly associated with increases in the likelihood of adopting gender provisions. When women are parties to the negotiations and civil society organizations are official third parties to the agreement, gender provisions are more likely. However, such participatory processes in peace negotiations remain far from the norm.


International involvement and mediation—especially by United Nations peacekeepers, other states, or regional organizations—has a significant impact on mainstreaming gender in peace settlements. Although we did not find a statistically significant association between UN involvement as a third party and the adoption of gender provisions, states or regional organizations in official third-party roles—such as mediators, witnesses, and observers to the negotiations—is correlated with an increase in the likelihood of adopting gender provisions. The presence of UN Peacekeeping in conflict-affected countries was also found to be associated with an increase in the likelihood of adopting gender provisions.


Better scores on gender-equality indicators at the country level do not always guarantee that peace agreements will have gender provisions. While increased female parliamentary representation is linked to an increased likelihood of adopting gender provisions, somewhat surprisingly equal rights and opportunities for women under the law is not.


Peace agreements that are ceasefire related are associated with a lower likelihood of adopting gender provisions. Ceasefire agreements tend to focus on the cessation of hostilities between warring parties and are usually less comprehensive than framework agreements, which address more substantive issues such as women’s rights.

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