Women’s participation in peace processes remains one of the least well-implemented elements of the women, peace and security agenda outlined in United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) and related resolutions 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), and 1889 (2009). Although no consistent information is maintained on numbers of women on delegations to peace talks, a review by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) of 24 major peace processes conducted since 1992 found on average that women made up less than 8 per cent of negotiating parties, in cases where information was available.1 Women’s absence from these critical decision-making forums, which determine power and wealth-sharing patterns, social development priorities and approaches to reparations and justice for atrocities, can have devastating consequences for women’s efforts to participate in peacebuilding. Women’s interest in participating in public decision-making may be ignored, along with essential afﬁrmative action measures needed to overcome discrimination in the public sphere. Women’s urgent recovery needs may be disregarded by needs assessments and left
out of budgets in priority public expenditure allocation processes. Displaced women may not be able to recover property because of a failure to anticipate the need for legal reform recognizing their rights to land. War crimes against women may go unpunished, encouraging a climate of impunity for all forms of gender-based violence. Beyond peace talks, there is a wide range of public decision-making processes involved in peacebuilding from which women are often likewise excluded: constitutional reform processes, elections planning, post-conﬂict needs assessments and priority-setting, donor conferences and many more.