In decades of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, relatively few women have participated in leading roles. Still, notable women have held prominent positions, such as Tzipi Livni, who served as Israel’s chief negotiator in multiple rounds between 2007 and 2014, and Hanan Ashrawi, a negotiator for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in the 1990s. Women do play a role in both governments, although they remain underrepresented. Within the Israeli government, only six of the current thirty-two ministers are women. The Palestinian cabinet includes only three women out of twenty-four ministerial level posts; there is one woman minister in Gaza. The Palestinian Authority established a Ministry of Women’s Affairs in 2003.
Civil society groups—many bridging national, ethnic, and religious divides—have long played critical roles, leading nonviolent efforts to promote human security, equality, and access to services, and staging public demonstrations to call for progress in the peace process.