Power sharing, or rules-based power distribution, is widely used as a peacebuilding tool after civil conflict and is also key to the institutionalization of democracy. Power-sharing institutions have been instrumental in easing ethnic tensions and have been applied in multiple conflict resolution processes, for example to mitigate political conflict between Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change and Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union (Patriotic Front) in Zimbabwe, or following the December 2007 election in Kenya. Furthermore, power-sharing arrangements have also been employed to terminate civil wars in Bosnia, Burundi, Cambodia, Lebanon, Nepal, and Sierra Leone, as well as the apartheid regime in South Africa. While the literature on power sharing is vast, it is often gender blind in its approach to conflict regulation as it ignores women and pays no heed to gender equality. Therefore, scholars have yet to adequately theorize the gendered implications of powersharing arrangements. In order to shed light on this knowledge gap, this backgrounder aims to introduce the theme by connecting the two literatures on power sharing and gender equality, illustrated by empirical evidence.
Azba, Natalie & Pinar Tank (2021) Gender and Power Sharing. GPS Centre Gender and Mediation Backgrounder. Oslo: PRIO.