The Political Marginalisation of Women in Post Conflict Societies

43 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2015

Date Written: 2011


In recent decades issues of gender inequality and the disempowerment of women in post conflict societies have been increasingly recognised as part of a central concern about the devastating impact of war and conflict on women socially, politically and economically. This paper sets out to examine the nature of gendered power relations in two post conflict societies: Northern Ireland and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The study considers the experiences of women in political structures, in public agencies and NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) in countries emerging from conflict, and explores the barriers to women’s political engagement. A key function of the research is to investigate the extent to which post conflict political structures, which are often promoted as models of success, continue to sustain gender inequalities and women’s marginalisation in political and public life.

Drawing on the international policy instruments such as UNSCR (United Nations Security Council Resolution) 1325 as well as national peace agreements such as Northern Ireland’s Good Friday Agreement (1998) and the Dayton Agreement in Bosnia-Herzegovina (1995), this paper asserts that the political participation of women is a prerequisite to the successful transition from a conflict to a post conflict society. It argues that the endorsement and implementation of peace agreements such as the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland as a successful model of good practice is a false premise given the low levels of participation of women in political structures and women’s marginalisation in building sustainable peace.

Keywords: gender inequality, disempowerment of women, UNSCR 1325

Suggested Citation

McMinn, Karen, The Political Marginalisation of Women in Post Conflict Societies (2011). Transitional Justice Institute Research Paper No. 15-06, Available at SSRN: or

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