Windows of Opportunity: How Women Seize Peace Negotiations for Political Change

Authored by: Miriam J. Anderson

Categories: Peace Support Operations, Statebuilding, Violent Conflict
Sub-Categories: Peacemaking, Post-Conflict Reconstruction
Country: Burundi, Macedonia, and Northern Ireland
Region: No Region
Year: 2016
Citation: Anderson, Miriam J. Windows of Opportunity: How Women Seize Peace Negotiations for Political Change. Oxford University Press, 2016.

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Executive Summary

This book illustrates how women’s advocacy groups seize peace negotiations to reconfigure their role in the state. Women’s groups overcome many challenges to gain access to peace talks and ensure women’s rights are included in peace agreements. They do this by forming advocacy groups based on a gender-based identity to transcend the divisions of the conflict, framing the peace negotiations as forums where their interests are at stake, and, when necessary, working with transnational feminist allies. The book offers both a cross-national overview of women’s references in 195 peace agreements signed between 1975 and 2011 as well as an in-depth analysis of the three case studies: Burundi, Macedonia, and Northern Ireland. It finds that the majority of women’s references in peace agreements reflect international norms on women’s rights. The case studies suggest that this convergence across agreements is due to the linkages between local women’s groups and transnational women’s networks, which means that international women’s rights norms are reproduced in peace agreements, making peace negotiations a site for international norm diffusion. The book’s findings demonstrate that despite the “liberal peace” bias inherent in contemporary peacebuilding, women have to exert significant efforts for their voices to be heard in the midst of conflict and political processes. The social rupture caused by armed conflict and peace talks create opportunities for gender-role transformation.