New Institutions, New Gender Rules? A Feminist Institutionalist Lens on Women and Power-Sharing

Citation:

Mackay, Fiona, and Cera Murtagh. 2019. “New Institutions, New Gender Rules? A Feminist Institutionalist Lens on Women and Power-Sharing.” feminists@law 9 (1).

Authors: Fiona Mackay, Cera Murtagh

Abstract:

This article examines the apparent tension between power-sharing as the dominant approach to conflict settlement and the inclusion of women and provisions for gender equality as promoted through the Women, Peace and Security agenda. We argue that applying a feminist institutionalist (FI) lens - which attends to the interactions between political and social institutions, and the interplay between formal and informal rules, norms and practices - provides a means of explaining the so-called ‘gendered paradox of power-sharing’, including the gap between the promise of formal frameworks and outcomes for women in practice. We draw upon extant feminist research on three post-conflict power-sharing cases: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Ireland, and Burundi. Using the concepts of: nested newness, formal and informal institutions, the gendered logic of appropriateness, and gendered actors, we illuminate why it has been so difficult for the gender progressive institutional innovations to be instantiated. In so doing, we answer the call of Byrne and McCulloch (2012) for more systematic analysis and theorising around the gendered paradox of power-sharing, and we also provide a basis for identifying what institutional mechanisms might be needed to embed the inclusion of women and the integration of the WPS norms in power-sharing frameworks in the future.

Keywords: power-sharing, feminist institutionalism, Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, women, peace and security

Topics: Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Peace Processes, Post-Conflict, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS Regions: Africa, East Africa, Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe, Western Europe Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Burundi, United Kingdom

Year: 2019

© 2020 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.