IAS Fellows' Seminar - Collaboration between institutional actors and women civil society representatives in peace processes: the potential of Regional Women Mediator Networks in engaging with different actors
Women’s participation in conflict resolution and peacebuilding processes remains one of the major challenges of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. In many of the recent peace processes, women’s inclusion as mediators or as negotiation parties has been very limited, and when it occurred it didn't automatically lead to more gender-sensitive processes or agreements. Women are more often taking the lead as peace activists in order to promote equal opportunities and women’s rights outside the formal process.
There is a gap between the having more women represented in peace processes as political actors, and the expectation that this automatically leads to a gender-sensitive peace process. In fact, the narrative that associates women with gender issues creates a tension between civil society actors and women’s governmental representatives.
How to find a way to engage with both institutional actors and civil society representatives at the same time? What are the tools for promoting women's participation in peace processes and to recognise their potential contribution across the entire spectrum of issues that are put on the table of negotiation?
The seminar paper aims to address that gap by deepening the reflection on the dynamics and the potential of Regional Women Mediator Networks in today’s peace processes. As part of a broader research project of Mediation for the Twenty First Century, Irene Fellin aims to understand how the new Women Mediator Networks can become a platform for advancing the possibilities for peace stakeholders to engages with different actors, being governmental or civil society representatives and to have a cross – cutting approach towards gender issues.
The findings of the research will serve as background paper for future actions of the Global Alliance of Regional Women Mediator Networks, and feed into the development of a road map of the Mediterranean Women Mediators Network, which will include strategic advocacy and communication campaign, capacity building initiatives and collaborative advisory support to the peace processes in the Mediterranean region.
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