Negotiations create foundations for re-establishing peace. Peace accords lay out the terms for halting violence. Often, they develop frameworks for divvying up power, ensuring security in the conflict-affected area, and charting the transition to stability, good governance, and economic prosperity.
Women are alarmingly underrepresented in negotiations. In 2009, the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) found in a review of 21 major peace processes held since 1992 that women were less than 8 percent of the delegates to talks and less than 3 percent of agreement signatories.1 Insufficient representation has implications for the content of agreements; when women are present, even as observers, accords reflect increased attention to gender and women's priorities and needs.2 Women also often strengthen accords' focus on ensuring security on the ground, promoting reconciliation, and reintegrating both former combatants and those displaced by conflict into society.