The first of its kind, the platform serves as a publicly available resource to search for, and identity, qualified women mediators. It can be used by organisations such as the United Nations, or national governments involved in peace processes, to help them search for candidates based on their specific areas of expertise, location and languages.
Between 1992 – 2019, women made up only 6% of mediators, 6% of signatories and 13% of negotiators in major peace processes, despite studies showing that women’s direct participation in peace negotiations increases the sustainability and quality of peace.
The new database profiles members of Women Mediators across the Commonwealth (WMC), a network which connects women with a broad range of mediation knowledge from across the Commonwealth. Member’s experiences range from supporting former combatants in Sierra Leone to return to their communities, to helping broker a national peace deal in the Philippines.
Bebhinn McKinley is a member of WMC based in Northern Ireland:
“This database serves to recognise and make visible the skills, capacity and wealth of experience of women mediators. It brings to the fore the substantial individual and collective capabilities, which are all too often invisible. The process of developing the database provoked me and many other members to recognise within ourselves the skills, experience and knowledge we bring to the field of mediation and peacebuilding.”
The network was created in response to the persistent under-representation of women in peace and security. Coordinated by Conciliation Resources, it advocates for the increased recognition of women mediators, and their participation in peace processes within communities, regionally and internationally. It also provides opportunities for the members to learn from and support each other.
Laura Aumeer is the Europe-Asia Department Director at Conciliation Resources:
“As the breath of knowledge and experience in the WMC proves, the lack of representation of women in peace processes is not because there is a shortage of skilled and qualified women practitioners, but rather a lack of opportunities for inclusion. The aim of this database is to help break down some of the barriers that prevent women from being selected for these roles.”