Research examining all peace agreements in the post–Cold War period found that participation of civil society groups, including women's organizations, made a peace agreement 64 percent less likely to fail.
One study analyzed 181 peace agreements signed since 1989 and found that when women participated in peace processes as witnesses, signatories, mediators, and/or negotiators, the resulting agreement was 35 percent more likely to last.
A qualitative review of forty peace and constitution-drafting negotiations since 1990 found that parties were significantly more likely to agree to talks and subsequently reach an agreement when women's groups exercised strong influence on the negotiation process, as compared to when they had little or no influence.
A qualitative study of constitution-drafting processes in eight countries found that when women participate in constitution-writing processes, they move decision-making forward by promoting consensus and negotiating across communal divides; advance provisions for equality and inclusion; and broaden citizen input and societal buy-in.
Higher levels of gender equality are associated with a lower propensity for conflict, both between and within states.
States with higher levels of gender equality are less likely to use military force to settle international disputes.
According to one study analyzing data from 1945-1994, there is a statistically significant relationship between the percentage of women in the legislature and the intensity of violence employed by a state in an international crisis.
States that are characterized by norms of ethnic and gender inequality—as well as human rights abuse—are more likely to become involved in militarized and violent interstate disputes, rely on force in an international dispute, and be the aggressors during international disputes.
Female security sector officials frequently have access to populations and venues that are closed to men, thereby improving intelligence about potential security risks. Women are better able to screen women during searches, helping to close a security loophole that increasingly has been exploited by extremists.
Women have a comparative advantage in interactions with community members, which amplifies situational awareness and helps military commanders fulfill their mandates, including the protection of civilians.
Women in police forces are less likely than male counterparts to use excessive force and far more likely to de-escalate tensions and build trust with the communities they serve, thereby advancing stability and the rule of law.
Surveys confirm that women's participation in the security sector is associated with fewer misconduct complaints and improved citizen perceptions of force integrity. In Namibia, Rwanda, and South Africa, local populations perceived female police peacekeepers to be less threatening, more receptive to civilians' concerns, and more effective at de-escalating potential violence.
A visible presence of female peacekeepers has been shown to empower women and girls in host communities and can raise women's participation rates in local police and military forces. In Liberia, observers attributed an increase in women's participation in the national security sector—from 6 percent to 17 percent over nine years—to the example set by the all-female police units deployed as part of the UN peacekeeping mission.
Greater gender balance in peacekeeping forces reduces the risk of sexual exploitation and abuse. Estimates suggest that increasing the proportion of women in military from zero to five percent reduces abuse allegations by more than half.
Female officers are better able to respond to concerns about women's physical safety. Data from thirty-nine countries demonstrates that women are more likely to report instances of gender-based violence to female officers—a finding anecdotally supported for police, military, and peacekeeping personnel.
When women comprise at least 35 percent of the legislature, the risk of conflict relapse is close to zero. When women were unrepresented in parliaments, however, the risk of relapse increased over time.
Higher levels of women's political participation are associated with a lower risk of civil war onset and a reduced likelihood of state-perpetrated political violence—fewer killings, forced disappearances, torture, and political imprisonments.
A quantitative analysis found that the longer a country has had female suffrage before the outbreak of an international dispute, the higher the likelihood that it will resolve the dispute without the use of military force.
According to a survey in sixty-five countries, women's presence in politics restores trust in government and increases the amount of attention paid by political bodies to social welfare, legal protection, and the transparency of government and business.
Women's participation in public sector positions can improve the provision of services critical to stability, including clean water, immunization, schooling, and infrastructure.
Commissions charged with delivering on specific aspects of a peace agreement—such as monitoring disarmament, establishing a truth and reconciliation process, or drafting a constitution—were more effective when women participated.
Women's inclusion in efforts to disarm, demobilize, and reintegrate ex-combatants eases tensions, opens dialogue, and improves protections for child soldiers. Fifty-five percent of ex-combatants in Sierra Leone identified women in the community as central figures in aiding reintegration, compared to 32 percent citing international aid workers and 20 percent citing community leaders.
The most rapid postconflict reduction in poverty was observed in areas where women reported higher levels of empowerment, according to one cross-cutting study of conflict-affected communities.
Large gaps in female and male literacy rates and an excess of young men are associated with both more conflict incidents and higher conflict-related fatalities, in one study of eighty-five districts in Northeast India.
Inequality in family law is a significant predictor of state instability and fragility, according to a quantitative analysis of 171 countries.
A study of women's "personal" empowerment at the household level—including indicators such as property and inheritance rights, rights in marriage, divorce, and custody, as well as the level of violence against women in the home— found that less empowerment in the household correlates with less stability nationwide (measured by political instability, lack of freedoms, autocracy, corruption, and internal conflict).
Countries where women are less empowered at the household level are more likely to produce foreign fighters going to territory controlled by the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
Rising bride prices are associated with increased violence and terrorism. Research found that bride prices are subject to destabilizing inflation, pricing marriage out of the reach of many young men. This incentivizes violence to obtain funding to pay the bride price.
Individuals, both men and women, who do not support gender equality are more likely to express hostility towards other countries and to minorities within their own country, according to a study of five countries around the Pacific—China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, and the United States.
Men who support values of "honor culture" (male societal privilege and control over female sexuality) are more likely to have participated in political violence during protests, according to a study in Thailand.
Military units and law enforcement bodies that respect human rights and prevent sexual violence are more effective at promoting security. Sexual violence—whether committed by armies, nonstate armed groups, violent extremist groups, peacekeeping forces, or civilians—can occur for any number—or combination—of reasons, including as a deliberate tactic of war, an act of opportunism, a form of troop payment, an effort to build group cohesion, or a tool of ethnic destruction. When perpetrated by troops, it can also represent a lack of discipline associated with weak command and control or a poor focus on objectives. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, a mass rape of over 150 civilians in 2011 was attributed to lax command and control structures by local armed forces.
Wartime rape also fuels displacement. A 2013 International Rescue Committee study of displaced persons who fled Syria for neighboring Jordan and Lebanon found that a majority identified the danger of rape as a primary reason for leaving cities under siege. Threats of abduction spurred the 2014 exodus of two hundred thousand members of the Yazidi community in the Sinjar region of northern Iraq.
Exposure to acts of violence—including all forms of sexual violence—lessens trust in government institutions, including judicial systems, security forces, and electoral processes. Declining trust in the government’s ability to provide recourse for crimes committed against civilians also feeds grievances against the state, which makes citizens more likely to join or support nonstate armed groups and increases the risk of conflict relapse.