Legislative Gender Diversity and the Resolution of Civil Conflict

Rebecca H. Best, Sarah Shair-Rosenfield, Reed Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Policy makers and scholars have shown increased interest in gendered approaches to peacemaking, even as evidence of women’s impact on peace processes has remained unclear. In this paper, we explore the influence of gender diversity among decision-making elites on the outcome of ongoing civil conflicts. Specifically, we argue that increased female representation within the national legislature increases the likelihood that a conflict terminates in a negotiated settlement. However, the impact of legislative female representation on conflict termination is conditioned by the power of the legislature vis-à-vis the executive, suggesting that gender diversity exerts a greater impact in states with more authoritative legislatures. We evaluate our hypotheses using data on the manner of conflict termination and the proportion of women in national legislatures between 1945 and 2009. Our results show support for the central argument, suggesting that increasing female representation within legislative bodies increases the likelihood of war termination via negotiated settlement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-228
Number of pages14
JournalPolitical Research Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019


  • civil war
  • conflict resolution
  • legislative authority
  • negotiated settlement
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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