Historically, the participation of women in international affairs and diplomacy has been limited. Until recently, women occupy only a small share of senior leadership positions in the United Nations system and in government hierarchies, including the diplomatic services. Since 2007, the number of women holding positions at senior management level in the United Nations has increased by 40%. With regard to women ambassadors to the United Nations, the share has increased from 5.7% in 2000 to slightly over 12% in 2012, still remaining low overall. Women's participation in peace negotiations also remains ad hoc, not systematic. Fewer than 3 percent of signatories to peace agreements are women. No women have been appointed Chief or Lead peace mediators in UN-sponsored peace talks, but in some talks sponsored by the AU or other institutions women have joined a team of mediators. A recent positive case is the role of Graça Machel as one of the three mediators for the Kenya crisis in 2008.
The under-representation of women has been recognized by the international community, amongst others, through the adoption of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000), urging Member States to amplify the voice of women on issues of peace and security by increasing their representation at all decision-making levels. The Platform for Action adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing stresses that the active participation of women in decision-making positions, coupled with the incorporation of women’s perspectives at the policy formulation level, are indispensable components to achieving equality, development and peace. These developments mark an opportune time for women diplomats to assess challenges faced by women in aspiring to leadership positions in the diplomatic context and to identify and train skills suitable to address such gender-specific challenges, in particular in the area of negotiations and leadership.
Within this broader context, this workshop focuses on enhancing the negotiation skills of women diplomats. In a multilateral context, effective negotiation skills are critical for managing interdependencies, leveraging power and influencing outcomes. Mastering negotiation tools can therefore assist in securing beneficial agreements at the international level, especially when it comes to negotiating peace agreements. Participants in this workshop will receive training from top negotiation experts on effective negotiation skills. They will also learn firsthand from experienced women diplomats who have had a successful career and accumulated a wealth of experience negotiating agreements in the sphere of peace and security.