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The Role of Women in Ceasefires: A Literature Review

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Rødningen, Ida & Siri Aas Rustad

​A growing body of literature explores the causes and consequences of ceasefires, but within this body, little scholarly attention is paid to the role of women in ceasefires. Of the existing work on women in ceasefires, there is a general lack of understanding of how the individual studies relate to one another, and there has been little attempt at a systematic examination of what this body of literature tells us across sites about women’s roles and influence during ceasefire processes. Thus we also explore possible avenues for future research.

Brief Points

  • The literature on women and ceasefires is relatively small, nascent, and limited in scope.

  • The sources can be roughly split into two categories: those who address the participation of women and those discuss non-participation.

  • The role of women in ceasefires is most often discussed within one specific context, and systematic or comparative analyses are rare.

  • We identify five topics that are frequently discussed in the literature: the lack of women in negotiations; the perceived role of women in ceasefires as a reflection of ideas of women in society; that exclusion of women can in part be explained by the technical language and military knowledge; how sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is addressed in ceasefires; and women’s role in ceasefire monitoring.