This issue brief examines the current state of women’s involvement in formal peace processes, focusing on the role of lead mediators. While traditional approaches to international conflict mediation are falling short in the face of 21st-century violence, one possible source of fresh perspectives and alternative approaches remains largely untapped: women.
Through an analysis of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, the brief sets out the UN’s commitments to promoting women’s participation and evaluates its progress. It then explores why women’s voices matter in peace processes and how lead mediators can reinforce women’s agency in building sustainable peace.
The authors highlight the different effects that women’s participation can have on peace talks and the obstacles they face, drawing on examples from the Central African Republic, Guatemala, Northern Ireland, and the Great Lakes region of Africa. They conclude that the chief mediator is in a unique position to implement the promises of Resolution 1325, and that women’s participation has an impact not only on the peace process but also on its outcome and on the durability of peace.