John Kerry and Staffan de Mistura

US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura, who is tasked with seeking a peaceful resolution of the ongoing conflict in Syria, met January 14, 2015, in Geneva. (Photo: U.S. Mission/Eric Bridiers)

Want Peace in Syria? Put Women at the Negotiating Table

   •    February 3, 2016

This article was originally published by Defense One.

With a fresh diplomatic push under way to restart Syrian peace talks this month, we should absorb a critical lesson from the Bosnia conflict as we grapple for a way out of the Syria deadlock: To create sustainable peace, women must have a seat at the negotiating table.

Women suffer disproportionately in modern war, but they are also often leading actors in building security. A recent study of 182 agreements showed that peace accords are 35 percent more likely to last at least 15 years if women are at the table.

As diplomats in the Balkans two decades ago, we watched as the failure to include women in peace negotiations contributed to a divisive, paralyzing political settlement. Now governments in the region are recognizing women as a critical resource for stabilization.

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