Despite the fact that women have been contributing to peace-building efforts, they are still under-represented in peace processes. Several studies have shown that women’s participation in efforts to make and preserve peace can have a decisive impact. Female negotiators have shaped peace processes resulting in agreements that are more durable and better implemented. Higher rates of women’s political participation are associated with a lower risk of civil wars and of conflict relapse.
Yet, the percentage of women negotiators over the last five years is only 14 per cent compared to 13 per cent between 1992 and 2019. They constituted 11 percent of mediators over the last five years, and 6 percent of mediators between 1992 and 2019. Women all over the world have been leading local peace-building efforts and raising awareness and public support for peace processes. For instance, Afghan women have been working hard to mobilize their government to influence the ongoing peace talks to put an end to Afghanistan’s 40-year war and finalize an agreement. They have been fearless even under pressures intended to silence them. One of the negotiators, Fawzia Koofi, arrived at talks visibly injured, having recently survived an assassination attempt.
Tunisian, Libyan and Yemeni women played vital roles in the protests that overthrew these countries’ leaders in the 2011 Arab Spring. These women were excluded from peace talks, they only represent 20 per cent of negotiators in Libya’s political discussions and none in Yemen’s recent process.
Women peacebuilders are still facing discrimination based on their gender which is nullifying and demeaning their crucial field work. Twenty years ago, the United Nations security body pledged that women would have a say in the decisions that determine their countries’ future. But women continue to be absent from peace tables.
Give women full and equal rights and opportunities as men, and countries will thrive and turn more peaceful.