Promoting Women as Mediators in the Women, Peace and Security Agenda

Roundtable with Catherine Turner

Since the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325 the international community has recognized the need to ensure the effective participation of women at all stages of peace processes. While academic and policy focus has tended to rest on the need to ensure the participation of women at high level peace negotiations, no less important is the need to include women at other stages of peace making.  Significantly, women remain persistently either absent or invisible as mediators, despite the call in Security Council Resolution 1889 to ensure that women are appointed as high-level mediators and within mediator teams. The contribution of mediation to peace processes is often overlooked because it takes place behind the scenes and mediators are bound by rules of confidentiality. However the practice of mediation requires different qualities and skills than negotiation, and is a field of practice to which women could make a significant contribution. In addition, those women skilled in mediation practice may not be the same women as those who participate as high-level negotiators. Providing training and support for women as mediators may therefore also increase the number of women who participate in peace processes by increasing the opportunities for participation beyond high-level negotiation. This paper explores the relative invisibility of women as mediators, and considers some of the reasons why a greater emphasis on mediation might help to achieve outcomes for women in peace negotiations. 

Catherine Turner is a lecturer at the Durham Law School. Prior to joining Durham she worked at the University of Ulster's Transitional Justice Institute, where she taught on the LLM in Human Rights Law and Transitional Justice. She was also the Director of the Annual Summer School on Transitional Justice. Catherine has a degree in law from Trinity College Dublin and an LLM in public international law from the London School of Economics.
Her research lies in the field of public international law, focusing on questions of transitional justice, mediation and constitutional law. She is a trained mediator and delivers training in mediation skills for statutory and non-governmental organisations.
Sponsored By:

The Global Gender Program