UN Security Council Resolution 1325 talks about the need to adopt a ‘gender perspective’ in peace agreements.
It calls on all actors involved, when negotiating and implementing peace agreements, to adopt a gender perspective, including:
- The special needs of women and girls during repatriation and resettlement and for rehabilitation, reintegration and post-conflict reconstruction;
- Measures that support local women’s peace initiatives and indigenous processes for conflict resolution, and that involve women in all of the implementation mechanisms of the peace agreements;
- Measures than ensure the protection of and respect for human rights of women and girls, particularly as they relate to the constitution, the electoral system, the police and the judiciary.
The inclusion of women in peace agreement texts tends to be located in the more comprehensive stages of the agreement. Women often are particularly excluded in early stages of a peace process, or in implementation negotiations.
Sum of the proportions of each process stage that include agreements referring to women
Provision for women in peace agreements is still largely limited to once-off provisions, or issues relating to the victimhood of women.
The pie-chart below shows the number of different kinds of provisions for women that are in agreements. The majority only include one or two different forms of provision
Women’s participationBurundi, Constitution of 2005 Article 129: The Government is open to all the ethnic components. It includes at most 60% of Hutu Ministers and Vice-Ministers and at most 40% of Tutsi Ministers and Vice-Ministers. A minimum of 30% of women is assured.
Women’s equalityAgreement: Northern Ireland, The Agreement Reached in the Multi-Party Negotiations (Good Friday Agreement or Belfast Agreement) Page 20, Economic, Social and Cultural Issues, 1. Pending the devolution of powers to a new Northern Ireland Assembly, the British Government will pursue broad policies for sustained economic growth and stability in Northern Ireland and for promoting social inclusion, including in particular community development and the advancement of women in public life.
Particular groups of womenAgreement: Libya, Draft Constitutional Charter for the Transitional Stage: The Constitutional Declaration Page 3, Part One: General Provisions, Article (5) ... The State shall guarantee the protection of motherhood, childhood and the elderly.
International law on genderAgreement: Democratic Republic of Congo, Draft Constitution of the Transition Page 17, TITLE III: PUBLIC FREEDOM, BASIC RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF THE CITIZEN, Article 51, The State shall have the duty to ensure the elimination of all forms of discrimination with regard to women and to ensure the respect and promotion of their rights...
New institutions for womenAgreement: Nepal, Constitution of Nepal 2015 Page 117, PART 27, Other Commissions, 252. National Women Commission: (1) There shall be a National Women Commission in Nepal consisting of a Chairperson and four other members.
Violence against womenAgreement: Mali/Azawad, Accord Pour la Paix et la Reconciliation au Mali - Issu du Processus d'Alger Page 13, Title V Reconciliation, Justice and Humanitarian Issues, Chapter 14 Reconciliation and Justice, Article 46: …Amnesty will not be given to the perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and serious violations of human rights linked to the conflict, including violence against women, girls, and children.
Transitional justice with regard for womenAgreement: Colombia, Final Agreement to End the Armed Conflict and Build a Stable and Lasting Peace Page 191, 184.108.40.206.3. National collective reparation plans In the context of the end of the conflict, the National Government will strengthen national collective reparation plans in developing this Agreement. These plans will be gender-based and will be aimed at communities consisting, inter alia, of groups and organisations such as women's and trade organisations….
Institutional reform accounting for womenAgreement: Bosnia and Herzegovina Yugoslavia (former), General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Dayton Peace Agreement) Page 75, Annex 4: Constitution of Bosnia Herzegovina, Annex I: Additional Human Rights Agreements to be Applied in Bosnia and Herzegovina. ... 4. 1957 Convention on the Nationality of Married Women. ... 9. 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
DevelopmentAgreement: Iraq, Constitution of Iraq Page 11, Article 30 (First): The State shall guarantee to the individual and the family - especially children and women – social and health security, the basic requirements for living a free and decent life, and shall secure for them suitable income and appropriate housing
Women’s involvement in implementationAgreement: Nigeria, Plateau State, Joint Declaration of Commitment to Peace and Cooperation Page 6, Women: Dr. Sumaye Hamza [Signed] Page 7, witnesses, HD Local Advisor, Khadijah Hawaja, [Signed]
Other references to womenAgreement: Somalia, Adadda Peace Agreement Page 1 Payment of one-hundred and twenty camels for each of the deceased persons from the Bah Ararsame; 50,000,000 Somali Shillings (So.sh) for funeral costs; $1000 for the family of deceased; and one godobtir girl per deceased;
Proportion of agreements that make any reference to women per year, and including the dates of significant UN security Council resolutions
The Nepali peace process is an example of a process that was built on a commitment to inclusion, including of women.
Proportion of each kind of agreement in the Nepali peace process and how many agreements refer to women0% 21% 100% 50% 40% 0% Renewal agreements x 1 Implementation agreements x 14 Comprehensive agreements x 3 Substantive-partial agreements x 16 Pre-negotiation agreements x 5 Ceasefires x 12
Political power-sharing is surprisingly shown to be strongly correlated with gender inclusion in a peace agreement. But often women find themselves excluded by how it works in practice.
Average number of provisions relating to women in power-sharing agreements and agreement with no power-sharing
Political power-sharing (process)
No political power-sharing (process)
Sexual violence tends to mutate from pre-conflict to during conflict, to post-conflict, in ways that should inform peace agreement design.
The proportion of peace processes that have agreements that contain each of these provisions relating to violence against women
29% of peace processes with agreements discussing disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) of rebel groups do not have any agreements that mention women
DDR agreements that mention women 29% DDR agreements that DO NOT mention women 71%
Commitments to inclusive peace processes are often difficult to translate into peace process design. However, often concerted actions between marginalised groups are more effective in acheiving commitments to equality and inclusion.
Comparison of how agreements which mention women, and agreements which do not, include other marginalised groups
Peace agreements seldom include a full gender perspective, and so UNSCR 1325 still needs better implementation mechanisms.
Greater attention should be paid to the inclusion of women at early stages of peace process, and during implementation stages rather than focusing on comprehensive agreements alone.
Women’s organisations need to be supported to access talks, along with other marginalised constituencies.
See publications at: www.politicalsettlements.org/publications-database In particular Bell, C., & McNicholl, K. (2019). Principled Pragmatism and the 'Inclusion Project': Implementing a Gender Perspective in Peace Agreements. Feminists @ Law, 9(1). www.politicalsettlements.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/2019_Bell-McNicholl_feminists-law.pdf