Women, Gender and Peacemaking in Civil Wars

Citation:

Potter, Antonia. 2008. “Women, Gender and Peacemaking in Civil Wars.” In Contemporary Peacemaking: Conflict, Peace Processes and Post-War Reconstruction, edited by John Darby and Roger Mac Ginty, 2nd ed., 105–19. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Author: Antonia Potter

Annotation:

Summary: 
"While this chapter is located in Part II (Negotiations) of this book, the issues it addresses are cross cutting, therefore it will briefly scan the spectrum of the broadly defined peace process ‘stages’, namely violence, pre-negotiations, negotiations, peace accords, and peacebuilding. Across these it examines two strands: first, the presence or representation of women as actors in these stages from conflict to peace; second, the approaches to addressing gender issues and perspectives that are employed by those that have a hand in peace processes, together with successes and failures in implementing them.
 
"It draws attention to changed perceptions of women’s roles in these phases, and to the special challenges and opportunities which armed conflict and its resolution can present for women. It suggests where there are gaps in research, literature, and actual practice arguing that much of this is due to ongoing problems of women’s exclusion from agency and decision making at certain levels (especially the more senior or official ones) of peacemaking and peace- building, and a continuing failure of those at the highest levels to understand properly and take seriously the implications of that exclusion. Throughout, it draws on recent or contemporary examples of peace agreements and processes including Afghanistan, Cambodia, Eritrea, Guatemala, Kosovo, Nepal, Northern Ireland, Somalia, Sudan, and Timor–Leste.
 
"The chapter concludes by reiterating that reality lags far behind rhetoric on women’s involvement in peace processes, to the great detriment of both. It argues that the process and substance of peace negotiations and agreements would be richer, subtler, stronger, and more firmly rooted in the societies whose problems they aim to solve with increased participation of women and the issues which are important to them; but that until those that organize these processes actually make this happen, it will be obviously be hard to make this case with empirical evidence. Thus it calls for political leaders, especially the most visible and powerful, to stop talking and start acting on this issue. Finally, it stresses the basic but often forgotten fact that gender is a concept which embraces both women and men, and exhorts more men to swell the ranks of those working at all levels of peacemaking in the causes of equality and practical sensitivity to gender issues" (Potter 2008, 105-6).

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, conflict, peace and security, Peacebuilding, Peace Processes, Violence

Year: 2008

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