Increasing women’s participation in mediation processes: What roles for the United Nations, regional organizations, and Member States?

This background paper was prepared ahead of the high-level seminar, organized by UN Women in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, on “Strengthening women’s participation in peace processes: What roles and responsibilities for states?” in Rome, Italy, on 3 and 4 December 2019.

The study contributed to the seminar by analysing the policies and strategies that Member States and other international actors have adopted to foster women’s meaningful participation, particularly related to mediating peace, and how these actions are translating (or not) into more specific involvement of women in peace negotiations.

The paper first presents an empirical mapping of women’s involvement in peace processes, namely as mediators. The proportion of women mediators remains low despite some representation in an increasing number of peace processes. Recently, some modest gains have been more visible as the United Nations, regional organizations, and Member States actively promote women’s participation in peace talks by introducing institutional reforms in their design and by implementing a wide range of policy and normative mechanisms.

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