Enabling and constraining factors on women’s participation in peace processes: Studying the Myanmar Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement

Image: Michael Foley [CC/Flickr]

Event details

Department of International Relations Seminar

Date & time

Friday 21 September 2018


APCD Boardroom, Level 2, Hedley Bull Building #130, cnr Garran Road and Liversidge Street, ANU
ANU Canberra


Dr Sara Davies, Griffith University


Bell School

The Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) in Myanmar has been in place since 2013. However, contrary to its name, the NCA is neither nationwide (10 out of 18 potential combatant groups are signatories), nor gender inclusive. The primary peace agreement documents refer to women in three distinct gendered categories: as victims of sexual violence, as rights bearing (under the 2010 Constitution), and to ‘strive’ to allocate 30% quota for women in the dialogues. The peace process has five working groups: political, economic, social, land, and environment, which are led by the Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC). To date, the UPDJC has two female representatives (including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi) and of the five working groups only one (the social group) has achieved female representation that equals 30% (much has been discussed of this latter phenomenon). However, the peace process is also taking place outside of this formal institution.

This seminar investigates how gender inclusion has been defined and promoted in Myanmar in formal and informal peace processes. Presently, the 30% inclusion quota and striving to end the impunity of sexual violence in the conflict(s), are the primary areas discussed and attached to ‘gender inclusion’ debates. Informed by extensive field interviews and focus group sessions at the state and federal level, this seminar analyses additional opportunities for women to promote the issues of concern they articulate as of primary concern to them: individual human rights, access to land and resources, an end to impunity for war crimes, and safe return for IDPs and refugees.

Dr Sara Davies is an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow and Associate Professor at the Centre for Governance and Public Policy and Griffith Asia Institute, School of Government and International Relations, Griffith University, Australia. She is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Gender Peace and Security Initiative, School of Social Sciences, Monash University. This presentation is part of a three year project ARC Linkage Project, “Towards Inclusive Peace: Mapping Gender Provisions of Peace Agreements”, between Monash University and the Australian Government. The project is investigating how peace agreements can advance women’s rights and participation after post-conflict and political transitions.

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