Peace negotiations in the political marketplace: the implications of women’s exclusion in the Sudan-South Sudan peace process

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This article investigates the implications of women’s exclusion for the nature and durability of peace processes, and whether factors that undermine peace consolidation post-settlement might be prevented through more inclusive peacemaking. It examines the Sudan-South Sudan peace process that produced the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the roles women played in peacemaking and their exclusion from official negotiations, and the sources of insecurity post-CPA. South Sudan’s peace process shows that the exclusion of women can be understood as a canary in a coal mine: a highly visible marker of the broader exclusivity of such processes, and the complex dynamics of elite capture in war and peace processes. Women’s exclusion was the product of the region’s political marketplace, in which power and authority is secured by elites through violence and bargaining, to the exclusion of other groups. By understanding exclusion as a deliberate strategic tactic that extends from war into peacetime, I argue that the exclusion of women is not the reason why peace processes fail in and of itself, but rather the product of elite ownership of peace processes and the structure of many peace processes that facilitates and rewards such ownership, with serious consequences for the sustainability of peace post-settlement.

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