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Women and mediation

Following the UNSC Resolution 1325(2000), there has been a lot of attention given towards the benefits of more gender equality in conflict management efforts. Exploring this issue in detail was one of the motivations for the M-ind data collection. 

This section presents our studies relevant for this field, including the UN Women report (2021) for which the first version of M-ind data was compiled.

Magda Lorena Cárdenas and Sumbal Javed (2023)

G7 Policy Brief, Task Force 4: Peace, Security and Global Governance

Despite the existence of normative and policy mechanisms to enhance women’s participation in peace processes, such mechanisms, both at the international and state levels, have yet to produce meaningful participation of women or acknowledge gender equality as a key aspect for achieving sustainable peace. In pursuit of these goals, states have often overlooked the role of women-led grassroots organizations, restricting them to the role of mere operational partners. This policy brief sheds lights on the contribution of women’s organizations at the grassroots level in formulating innovative peacebuilding strategies that also address the root causes of conflicts. The Group of 7 (G7) in Germany recognized the need for creating a financing mechanism to develop the G7 process of peace finance; such financial commitments must be accompanied by specific plans to support women-led grassroots organizations and movements. To do so, we recommend the G7 to (i) foster the effective implementation of existing normative and legal frameworks to promote women’s participation in peace processes and provide adequate funding, (ii) advance women’s roles within peace negotiations and include the practice of consultations with local women’s organizations at different stages of the peace negotiations, and (iii) incorporate core support to women-led grassroots organizations in the international cooperation and development agenda.

UN Women (Magda Lorena Cárdenas (2021))

This background paper was prepared ahead of the high-level seminar, organized by UN Women in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, on “Strengthening women’s participation in peace processes: What roles and responsibilities for states?” in Rome, Italy, on 3 and 4 December 2019.

The study contributed to the seminar by analysing the policies and strategies that Member States and other international actors have adopted to foster women’s meaningful participation, particularly related to mediating peace, and how these actions are translating (or not) into more specific involvement of women in peace negotiations.

The paper first presents an empirical mapping of women’s involvement in peace processes, namely as mediators. The proportion of women mediators remains low despite some representation in an increasing number of peace processes. Recently, some modest gains have been more visible as the United Nations, regional organizations, and Member States actively promote women’s participation in peace talks by introducing institutional reforms in their design and by implementing a wide range of policy and normative mechanisms.

Magda Lorena Cárdenas (2019)

Civil Wars 21(3), 385-409.

This research explores strategies led by women´s grassroots organisations and discusses how they can offer opportunities for peacebuilding in frozen conflict settings such as Georgia and the breakaway territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. These conflicts are related to separatist aspirations which are based, on the surface, on ethnic differences. However, the precedent of inter-ethnic dialogue shows that there is not an inherent ‘us-against-them’ narrative separating Georgia from Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Therefore, it is possible to create alternative arenas for dialogue and mutual understanding among the parties. To this end, this study adopts a broad approach to peacebuilding as a process of social transformation of hostile attitudes and exclusive narratives. I argue that women-to-women diplomacy is a peacebuilding strategy with the potential to address the roots of polarisation by humanising the other and identifying common ground for cooperation and inter- ethnic dialogue. The empirical research based on the experiences of women’s organisations in Georgia illustrates the contribution of women-to-women diplomacy to peacebuilding as an alternative platform for coalition building based on the common goal of achieving equal rights.

Joakim Kreutz & Magda Lorena Cárdenas (2017)

 Canadian Foreign Policy Journal 23 (3), 260-276

To end sexual violence in civil conflict is often mentioned as motivation and aim for contemporary interventions by the international community. But what types of measures are used for this end? This study identifies two competing logics that motivate different types of measures depending on whether women’s security is viewed as part of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine, or as a separate policy field: More Women, More Peace. According to the first, women are viewed as victims and interventions are likely to be punitive in nature, to provide protection and punish perpetrators. The second sees the problem as women’s exclusion from power and lack of agency, and will more likely be followed by measures that promote participation such as mediation and peacekeeping. Following a global analysis of civil conflicts 1989–2009, we find that both the United Nations and regional organizations deploy peacekeepers to conflicts with high prevalence of sexual violence. We also find different patterns of intervention for sexual violence than for other forms of civilian abuse, suggesting limited linkages between the Responsibility to Protect and Women, Peace and Security agendas.

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