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“Feminist diplomacy”: study shows that women are more skilled in peace negotiations

This week’s L’Obs magazine features a report on the issue of “feminist diplomacy”. Proponents of this idea argue that greater involvement of women in international negotiations would reinforce equality and help advance peace talks.

The text explains that “a feminist foreign policy begins with the integration of women in decision-making processes in their countries and in international spaces, such as the G7 summits”. Concretely, feminist diplomacy consists in fighting for gender equality in the world, summarizes the magazine.

The report says that since 2014 Sweden has placed women at the center of practically all its diplomatic decisions and that some countries, such as Canada, France, and Mexico, are trying to follow the example of Stockholm. Former Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, one of the main advocates of this concept, was even nicknamed ‘Feminister’, such was her commitment to the cause. According to her, the presence of women facilitates major international negotiations, creating informal interactions that are essential in diplomacy.

“The more women, the more peace,” insists the Swedish minister. “Experience has shown that when they are around the table to sign peace agreements, solutions emerge more easily and the commitments made tend to last”, she summarizes.

Margot Wallström’s phrase is not just an opinion. A study by the American think tank Council on Foreign Relations, which compiled and analyzed international data, confirms women’s skill in diplomatic negotiations. According to the research, this is explained by the fact that women often adopt a more collaborative approach and easily cross-cultural divides.

“The probability of reaching an agreement is greater because women are considered honest negotiators”, summarizes L’Obs. “Since they act much more outside the spheres of power and generally do not control the forces of power, they are seen as more impartial mediators than men”, emphasizes the text.

Still based on the study, the article points out as an example the capacity of women to mobilize community networks to reach agreements.

“In Afghanistan, the few women members of the local peace councils were able to negotiate directly with rebel chiefs and facilitate the release of hostages, based on the first contact with Taliban wives,” reports the magazine. “They also acted against extremist discourses in schools and community organizations, as they had access to social spaces where men are not accepted,” he continues.

However, the report points out, “feminist diplomacy” still has a long way to go. “Between 2015 and 2019, women constituted, on average, 14% of the negotiators, 11% of the mediators and only 7% of the signatories of the main peace processes in the world”, concludes the report by L’Obs magazine.

Source: RFI

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