The promises and visions articulated in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and subsequent UN resolutions and position papers that recognize the connection between gender equity and women’s participation in all aspects of peace processes and peacebuilding on the one hand, and international peace and security on the other, have not been fulfilled. Nonetheless, these resolutions have opened the way for advocacy that has had some successes in specific contexts. Colombia offers one such case. 

Through desk research, literature review, and personal interviews, this paper provides an overview of the Colombian internal armed conflict and the peace process currently underway to transform it.1 It begins with an historical overview of the conflict, and then explores some of its gender dimensions. It analyzes the differential impact of the internal armed conflict on the lives of women and men, LBGTI persons, and boys, girls and adolescents, as well as the intersectionality between multiple components of identity, including gender, class, age, ethnicity, and region. The paper then turns to the peace process. It explores the roles of women in preparing the ground for a political solution to Colombia’s internal armed conflict. It considers women’s official, semi-official, and unofficial roles at, around, and outside the peace talks that were launched in late 2012 between the Colombian government and the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC-EP). This paper underscores the essentially gendered nature of both war and peace. It assesses shifting gender roles and ideologies, and the ways that they intersect with a peace process and transitions in a post-Accord period, particularly in relation to issues of transitional justice. Finally, my paper explores how greater consideration of gendered dynamics, as well as increased participation of women in the peace process and all commissions and bodies created to implement peace accords, will better equip Colombia to address the challenges ahead and will help ensure a more sustainable peace. 

Related Publications

Colombia’s Imperfect Peace Could Provide a Roadmap for Afghanistan

Colombia’s Imperfect Peace Could Provide a Roadmap for Afghanistan

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

By: Belquis Ahmadi; Maria Antonia Montes

The Afghan peace process was jumpstarted in September 2018 when President Trump appointed Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad as special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation. Since then, Khalilzad has led 10 rounds of U.S.-Taliban talks, with negotiations focusing on two issues: ensuring the Taliban’s commitment to prevent transnational terrorists from using Afghanistan as a base for attacks, and a U.S. military withdrawal. As the search for peace in Afghanistan continues, what lessons can be learned from other peace processes that could apply to Afghanistan? Colombia’s imperfect peace agreement with the FARC is one especially relevant international reference point for Afghanistan—we explain why.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

Steve Hege on the Latest in Venezuela and Colombia

Steve Hege on the Latest in Venezuela and Colombia

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

By: Steve Hege

The crisis in Venezuela and increasing tensions between the Colombian government and the Maduro regime threaten the security of the region and the implementation of Colombia’s 2016 FARC peace accord. USIP’s Steve Hege discusses recent obstacles to implementation of that accord and how the U.S. can support a democratic transition in Venezuela.

Type: Podcast

Fragility & Resilience; Peace Processes; Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Colombians Rally Online in New Movement for Peace

Colombians Rally Online in New Movement for Peace

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

By: Fred Strasser

It began with a few supporters of Colombia’s 2016 peace agreement meeting at a Bogota cultural center. That gathering, in January of this year, soon led to the creation of a WhatsApp group—a platform to discuss how to how to defend the interests of peace amid concerns about the policies of the new government. By mid-July, a spontaneous citizens movement of thousands of Colombian leaders was making its voice heard. Its objectives: to strengthen popular support for the previous government’s peace deal with the rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and to support the peace process with the National Liberation Army (ELN).

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Nonviolent Action; Peace Processes

View All Publications