Women Leading Peace: A close examination of women’s political participation in peace processes in Northern Ireland, Guatemala, Kenya, and the Philippines
Women historically have been, and remain, marginalized from the highest echelons of political power. As a result, their experiences, perspectives, leadership, and potential are untapped in governance. In international peacemaking, women are grossly underrepresented, especially in high-level processes. There are growing calls – by both international policymakers and feminists – to do more to include and uplift women in peace and security efforts, as originally directed in UN Security Council Resolution 1325. Today, this is increasingly framed as not only the “right” thing to do, but also the “smart” thing to do. But what does this mean? And what can we learn from women who have mobilized and engaged in peacemaking already? This study examines women’s political participation in peace negotiations, focusing on four cases where women have gained access to high-level official negotiations. Each case study – Northern Ireland, Guatemala, Kenya, and the Philippines – is framed by eight overarching research questions: Why did women mobilize for peace? How did women mobilize and organize to gain access to high-level peace negotiations? How did they form coalitions and alliances? How did they assemble and shape agendas? How did they set priorities for their activities? How did their priorities change when they participated in high-level peace negotiations? How did they negotiate their goals? And, to what extent were their objectives or priorities represented in the resulting peace agreement?