Impact of Women in Peace Negotiations in Northern Ireland and Spain

Monday, December 12, 2011
Clare Palmer
Western Europe

The continuing prevalence of civil wars merits renewed efforts to understand more about how they might be successfully resolved. Some conflicts, for example that between Israel and the Palestinians, appear intractable despite years of efforts by national and international actors. More understanding of what factors might assist conflict resolution is clearly required, as well as the political will to act on such understanding. Some 50 percent of civil wars have terminated in peace agreements since 1990, more than in the previous two centuries combined, when only one in five resulted in negotiated settlement. However, nearly half of all such agreements break down within five years, and more within a ten-year period, while many of the remainder enter a "no war, no peace" limbo whose evaluation is difficult (Bell 2006). In the literature on this problem, the influence of gender is rarely recognized as a relevant factor. Men predominate both in war and in peace negotiations, but this is ignored in a ‘gender-blind' approach, possibly because they also dominate in scholarship on the issues. This study aims to explore whether gender is significant in the success or failure of efforts to end civil wars.

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Impact of Women in Peace Negotiations in Northern Ireland and Spain 2008