‘It is past time for  women to take their rightful place, side by side with men, in the rooms  where the fates of peoples, where their children’s and grandchildren’s  fates, are decided.’

- Hilary Clinton

According to UN Women fewer than 3% of signatories to peace  agreements are women and no woman has been appointed Chief or Lead peace  mediators in UN-sponsored peace talks. It’s clear then that at peace  table, where crucial decisions about post-conflict recovery and  governance are made, women are conspicuously underrepresented.

Indeed, the world of international diplomacy has been dominated by  men for many years but it is encouraging to note that more recently we  have seen on the world stage Madeleine Albright, Condeleeza Rice, Hilary  Clinton and Christine Lagrande. Have they have brought different  qualities to the negotiating table than Bill Clinton, Colin Powell, Tony  Blair or George Mitchell? I think so. They certainly get more comments  on their clothing while men seem to receive more interest and plaudits  for the kind of cigars they smoke and the sort of telephone they use.   At least in the case of Dominique Strauss-Khan!

In this blog, I intend to explore what differences, if any, exist  between male and female mediators and I will examine some current trends  and future opportunities for women mediators.

(a)  The Gender Agenda:Are Male Mediators from Mars & Female Mediators from Venus?

“Different though the  sexes are, they inter-mix. In every human being a vacillation from one  sex to the other takes place, and often it is only the clothes that keep  the male or female likeness, while underneath the sex is the very  opposite of what it is above.”

- Virginia Woolf

If you Google Gender and Communication you will find that there is a  group of researchers who focus on neurobiology, while many more focus on  the social, psychological and cultural issues.  Simon Baron-Cohen,  Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at Cambridge University, has  published an excellent and thought provoking book on how and why the  minds of men and women work differently, called ‘The Essential  Difference’.

Continue Reading—

by Eileen Carroll, Member CEDR Chambers and Deputy Chief Executive of CEDR

The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) is an independent, non-profit organisation with a mission to cut the cost of conflict and create choice and capability in dispute prevention and resolution. www.cedr.com