Women in Peace and Transition Processes: Liberia (2003–2011)
Women’s groups were highly influential in Liberia’s peace process, yielding long-term impacts. The Mano River Women’s Peace Network (MARWOPNET) had formal observer status during the peace talks, the Women in Peacebuilding Network (WIPNET) led a mass action campaign, and activists had informal consultations with the mediation team and conflict parties. Women’s influence was strongest during the negotiation period. It weakened during the implementation phase, despite women’s groups being directly represented in the transitional government and various implementation commissions.
Strong public buy-in, supportive regional and international actors, strong women’s groups, pre-existing personal networks, and regional women’s networks all contributed to women’s influence on the talks. That said, the ad hoc and unstructured nature of women’s transfer and communication strategies meant that the impetus for change was not sustained throughout the implementation process. Limited decision-making power, lack of funding, and heterogeneity among the groups also constrained women’s continued influence.