Reimagining Peacemaking: Women’s Roles in Peace Processes

Authored by: Marie O’Reilly, Andrea O Suilleabhain, and Thania Paffenholz

Categories: Peace Support Operations
Sub-Categories: Peacekeeping, Peacemaking
Region: No Region
Year: 2015
Citation: O’Reilly, Marie, Andrea O Suilleabhain, and Thania Paffenholz. “Reimagining Peacemaking: Women’s Role in Peace Processes,” International Peace Institute, June 2015.

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Executive Summary

Why do so few women participate in high-level peacemaking? The peacemaking landscape presents a number of barriers to women’s participation today. First, women’s participation relates to a broader dilemma about the ends and means of peacemaking: if the goal of a peace process is only to end violence, then women—who are rarely the belligerents—are unlikely to be considered legitimate participants. Second, women’s different security needs and priorities for peace challenge the dominant understanding of peace and security in the international system, which remains largely focused on state security rather than human security. Third, multilateral organizations like the UN that have made commitments to women’s participation in peacemaking often have less power to influence the structure of a peace process in today’s changing mediation landscape. Given the evidence of women’s impact and the changing mediation landscape, a broader reimagining of peace processes is needed, so that those shaping and participating in them can work with the multiplicity of actors involved to both end violence more effectively and build a more durable peace.