Inclusive Ceasefires: Women, Gender, and a Sustainable End to Violence

Authored by: Michelle Barsa, Olivia Holt-Ivry, and Allison Muehlenbeck

Categories: Peace Support Operations
Sub-Categories: Peacemaking
Country: South Sudan and Myanmar
Region: No Region
Year: 2016
Citation: Barsa, Michelle, Olivia Holt-Ivry, and Allison Muehlenbeck, “Inclusive Ceasefires: Women, Gender, and a Sustainable End to Violence,” Inclusive Security, March 2016.

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Executive Summary

Traditional approaches to ending wars—where armed groups meet behind closed doors to hammer out a truce—are falling short in the face of 21st-century conflicts. Partly as a means to address these challenges, calls for inclusive approaches to resolving conflict and insecurity have grown louder. The full impact of women’s participation on peace and security outcomes remains poorly understood, but overwhelming anecdotal and quantitative evidence shows that women’s empowerment and gender equality are associated with peace and stability. While the inclusion of women and civil society in peace processes is consequently gaining normative traction, one consistent exception has emerged: ceasefires.

This paper will explore the possible benefits of women’s participation in ceasefires; the inclusion of women in the 2014 South Sudanese Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and the 2015 Myanmar Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement; women’s impact as measured by the two agreements’ meaningful attention to gender; and the consequences for the agreements’ implementations and women’s inclusion in subsequent phases of these two peace processes. Our findings will be analyzed together with the sparse literature on women, gender, and ceasefires to generate hypotheses on the value of women’s inclusion at this stage.