Women’s participation in peace processes

A key objective for Norway is to ensure that women are able to take part in peace processes and that the rights of both women and men are safeguarded in peace processes and peace agreements.

Women make up half the population – and in conflict areas, often even more. As a rule, peace talks are conducted between armed parties that do not represent the society as a whole. But peace processes normally cover more than disarmament and bringing hostilities to an end. For instance, sexual violence needs to be addressed when it has been used as a method or strategy of war.

To ensure lasting peace, solutions must be found to the underlying causes of the conflict, and a foundation must be created for reconstruction efforts and social reform. All segments of society must be involved; it is crucial that the various sectors and civil society are included and that women take part on an equal footing with men.

The participation of women helps to ensure that the results of the decision-making processes are more legitimate and that the needs and priorities of a greater share of the population are taken into account. This in turn will mean more sustainable peace processes. Increasing the participation of women is, then, not only important in itself; it also increases the chances of securing lasting peace.

However, there is still a long way to go before women participate in peace processes and peace negotiations on an equal footing with men. So far, there are few peace agreements that adequately incorporate a gender perspective.

Norway will work to increase the number of women taking part in negotiating delegations, to increase the number of women mediators, to ensure that local women are represented and consulted in peace processes, and to integrate the gender perspective in peace agreements.

We have committed ourselves to these goals in the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (2015-2018).

Nordic Women Mediators' network

Inspired by a corresponding initiative taken by South Africa for African women, the Nordic Women Mediators' network was launched in Oslo in November 2015. The aim of the network, which consists of Nordic women who have experience from peace processes, is to increase the number of Nordic women who are actively involved in international peace work and to establish contact with and promote similar networks in the Global South.