Governing well after war: How improving female representation prolongs post-conflict peace

Sarah Shair-Rosenfield, Reed Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Previous studies suggest that women's access to political power often increases following the termination of civil conflicts, particularly those ending in negotiated settlement. However, the effect of these changes has received limited attention. We argue that the proportion of female representatives in a national legislature prolongs peace following a negotiated settlement. Moreover, we highlight two mechanisms through which greater female representation reduces the risk of conflict recurrence: (1) by prioritizing social welfare spending over military spending and (2) by improving public perceptions of good governance and the credibility of political elites. We further argue that legislative independence and authority conditions this relationship, implying that greater female representation is more likely to promote peace in states with nominally democratic political institutions. Our empirical analyses of peace duration following negotiated settlements between 1946 and 2011 provide robust support for our general argument and the underlying mechanisms we believe drive this relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)995-1009
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Politics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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