In its 2004 Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality, the OSCE committed to mainstreaming a gender perspective as its core strategy in advancing gender equality. The Action Plan views gender mainstreaming as a cross-cutting activity in all OSCE efforts, including conflict prevention and resolution. It emphasizes that promoting gender equality is a joint responsibility of participating States, the CEO, the Secretary-General and heads of OSCE institutions and field operations. As the research undertaken for this toolkit has shown, gender is underrepresented in formal OSCE-supported negotiation processes. The respondents acknowledged this shortcoming and acknowledged the need to find more effective ways and new methods to ensure gender mainstreaming in negotiation processes. The handbook identifies two possible ways to enhance gender mainstreaming in formal OSCE-supported negotiation processes: gender-sensitive conflict analysis and gender mainstreaming in negotiating subjects.
Gender-sensitive conflict analysis
Conflict analysis is at the heart of the OSCE methodology applied to the conflict cycle, as it can better understand the causes, dynamics and actors of conflicts. It is also the starting point for developing a strategy for the peaceful resolution of the conflict. The Conflict Analysis Methodology developed by the OSCE Conflict Prevention Center is at the disposal of all OSCE mediators and groups entrusted to them. It outlines methods and best practices for conflict analysis, including the need for gender mainstreaming.
The complete absence or underrepresentation of gender in conflict analysis can impede the identification of both adequate responses to conflict-related incidents and dynamics of events, and potential drivers and opportunities for peace. If gender issues are not taken into account at the stage of conflict analysis, they are likely to remain unaddressed in the course of formal negotiations.
While OSCE mediation teams do not appear to have standard practice for conducting conflict analysis, most mediators and advisers reported preparing and updating their conflict analysis through focused discussions during retreats. Occasionally, OSCE field operations with appropriate mediation mandates have participated in mediation teams on conflict analysis. Similarly, gender mainstreaming in conflict analysis has not yet become systematic and institutionalized but largely depends on the interests and efforts of the individuals involved in the process.
Research conducted specifically for this toolkit has identified several attempts to incorporate gender perspectives into conflict analysis. At least one process used a gender-specific checklist to evaluate and update the conflict analysis. Some mediation consultants have also consulted with other organizations and a range of stakeholders in the conflict-affected society to gather information on the specific impact of the conflict on women and men.
This manual does not provide an exhaustive overview of conflict analysis tools. Instead, it provides examples to illustrate how some key aspects of conflict analysis can include gender perspectives. One of the main elements of conflict analysis is the creation of a “map” of the conflict – defining the roles and functions of all actors and stakeholders. Although the parties to the conflict may be individuals or representatives of groups, organizations and states, they are, among other things, men and women. One sometimes hears this argument: “Since armed conflicts are caused by men and carried out by men, there is no gender perspective in them.” This reasoning ignores the role that women play in conflict — as agents of peace or warmongers — and overlooks the impact of conflict on the lives of women and girls.
Gender-sensitive mapping of conflict actors can make visible the exclusion or marginalization of women in conflict resolution processes. It can also help the mediation team assess whether representatives of the conflicting parties are speaking on behalf of their entire group. Male commanders of armed groups may, for example, ignore the needs of female soldiers or women who have taken on a supporting role (for example, in logistics or medical care). Gender-sensitive mapping can also illustrate how certain women’s groups can be closely associated with one side of the conflict or the other. Such groups can take public steps in support of one side of the conflict or another, or they can influence the position of one or another group at the negotiating table. In addition, mediators should be aware that some women who are actively involved in the conflict may have little interest in participating in formal negotiations. Intermediaries need to understand why this is happening.
Another important element of conflict analysis is the identification and analysis of the conflict profile. Key questions— “What, where, when, who and why” —can be “gendered” by answering them with sex-disaggregated data and highlighting the different roles of men and women in society. The causes of conflicts and their dynamics must also be viewed through a gender perspective. Good examples of gender indicators can be found in early warning systems that highlight, for example, how gender-based violence can escalate conflict or how the forced recruitment of young men or boys into armed groups can lead to increased tensions.
Conflict analysis should take into account the gender aspects of the structural and immediate causes and symptoms of conflict. For example, systematic violations of human rights, including women’s rights, can lead not only to violence against women, but also other factors that need to be considered, such as denying women the opportunity to participate in political and public life. Likewise, if the movement of civilians has been restricted as a result of a conflict in a territory, one must ask whether the interests of women, men, girls and boys are affected differently. If there are military checkpoints, are girls limited in their right to education due to real or perceived security threats? If the freedom of movement of young people is restricted, is this not related to forced recruitment into armed groups? If teachers or medical personnel are involved in the conflict, are the affected persons women or men? Are the social consequences of conflict for women and men different? When analyzing the situation, mediation teams should also critically examine their sources of information, including how gender-sensitive they are. For example, the media can portray women and girls primarily as victims and report incidents of sexual violence in order to provoke a public response. Failure to identify bias or false information can have negative consequences, leading to increased gender stereotypes or the development of conflict analysis based on false assumptions.
Conflict analysis is an ongoing process. Conclusions should be constantly updated and revised through regular and extensive consultations with various actors and stakeholders in conflict-affected societies. When visiting conflict-affected areas, mediation teams should pay attention to meeting and talking with different groups of the population, including those in socially disadvantaged situations. Women can provide more information and more information of different kinds about how conflict affects the daily life of local populations, such as how it affects access to markets or schools. In many conflict situations, mothers take steps to find information about their missing sons and daughters and try to find ways to secure the release of the detainees.
Well-designed inclusive conflict analysis does not take too long and leads to a better understanding of how different groups perceive and understand the causes and dynamics of conflict. Interacting with the same people over a longer period of time can also help build confidence in the process and allow participants to take ownership of it.
Gender mainstreaming in negotiations
The inclusion of a gender perspective in peace processes remains rare. Only 18% of peace agreements signed between 1990 and 2015 mention women. As the research undertaken for this toolkit has shown, gender issues are also largely absent in OSCE-supported negotiation discussions – at the table, in working groups and on the sidelines.
Although gender issues are sometimes raised in humanitarian discussions, they play no role in discussions about security or military aspects of the conflict. Recent research shows that most ceasefire agreements do not mention gender at all. The inclusion of women in the ceasefire was deemed inappropriate due to the availability of the necessary technical language and military knowledge, the knowledge possessed by armed groups whose members are predominantly male. The only gender references found in current ceasefire agreements are references to sexual violence in conflict.
Research for this toolkit also found a tendency to link gender issues only to sexual and gender-based violence or to the protection of civilians. The study identified a number of reasons for the lack of a gender perspective in negotiations: there are few women or only men in working groups, especially when it comes to hard security issues. Women participating in negotiation groups may be denied the right to voice their opinions. Gender is perceived as an issue that should only be raised by women. However, some women in the negotiations prefer not to be called “gender representatives.” Instead, they would prefer to promote the political goals of the parties they represent. In some cases, negotiators were also reluctant to discuss certain issues, such as gender-based violence or the situation of displaced persons, which may not be the same for women, men, boys and girls.
Gender mainstreaming should not be limited to assessing the impact of conflict on women and men. This should also include an accurate understanding of the balance of power between men and women; the different statuses, roles and needs of women and men, as well as the influence of gender on the opportunities and interactions of people in this context. It should also be remembered that this approach is multifaceted, given the diverse and intersecting forms of discrimination in all their complexity and complex of consequences, in particular in relation to different age groups and minorities. For example, if negotiations are under way to provide access to agricultural land for conflict-affected populations, then an assessment should be made of whether the solution will benefit women and men equally. A decision by which agricultural land is distributed among all may seem gender-neutral, but in fact, such a decision can give men an advantage over women if only men have legal or cultural ownership of the land. Below are some practical tools for mainstreaming a gender perspective in peace negotiations.
For gender to be reflected in the peace agreement, it needs to find a place in previous negotiations. In the study conducted for this toolkit, some respondents stated that mainstreaming a gender perspective in a peace process only takes hold when a general agreement on power-sharing has been reached and focus shifts to negotiating how this power-sharing will be implemented. on practice. Integrating a gender perspective during the conflict analysis phase and early in the negotiation phase can help identify possible ways to move the focus away from power-sharing mechanisms to a solution that is more sustainable as it brings broader benefits to the population.
If gender is to be mainstreamed into formal processes, when and by whom? Existing formal negotiation formats may not allow the mediator to include new issues on the agenda. If so, mediators and their teams can use other opportunities to discuss gender issues with the parties. For example, an information session at the WMD discussed the agenda for women, peace and security. The mediators also hold regular bilateral meetings with the parties to the conflict, during which they can discuss a variety of topics. Including, bilaterally, mediators can discuss sensitive issues such as cases of gender-based violence, even if they are not given any attention in the course of formal negotiations. It is important to move away from stereotypes, for example, that men are not interested in the issue of gender equality at all, or that women attach great importance to it. The likelihood that gender issues will be addressed in discussions can also be increased by systematically collecting sex-disaggregated data, making it available at meetings and informing negotiating groups about the availability of such data.
Even those who talk about the lack of interest of the parties in the discussion of gender issues can still readily support the initiatives of the mediator in this vein. According to one respondent, “[we] could take advantage of opportunities to discuss issues related to the inclusion of women or gender in meetings. [We] could also organize specific discussions on such topics or invite experts. ”
Pros and cons of gender mainstreaming
Gender mainstreaming guarantees that policy-making and legislative work is of better quality and has a bigger importance for society because it makes policies respond more successfully to the needs of all people – women and men.