A proven method for women's participation: What are Women's Peace Tables?

Since 2015, we have been organising Women's Peace Tables with our local project partners with the aim of sustainably strengthening the participation of women in peace processes and making their engagement in peacebuilding visible. They have become a proven method for achieving these goals.

In the pilot phase from 2015 to 2017, we organised 60 Women's Peace Tables (WPTs) worldwide together with our partners. Originally, WPTs were intended to complement formal peace processes to bring women's voices and perspectives into negotiations and post-conflict reconstruction. WPTs were conceived as an annual campaign held mainly in capital cities.

Based on the positive experiences and lessons learned from the pilot phase, we have designed a longer-term programme of annual local, regional and national WPTs with Comunitar in Colombia, Nagarik Aawaz in Nepal and the GZO Peace Institute in the Philippines. The goals are to reach more women from remote areas, to provide more space and time for in-depth exchanges at smaller WPTs, and to take the lessons learned from the local and regional events to the national WPTs.

We have already used this method in shorter-term projects in countries such as Pakistan and in the Ukraine programme launched in 2021. 

What happens at a Women's Peace Table?

The WPTs are a needs-oriented instrument: they create safe spaces where participants can network, exchange experience from wars and armed conflicts and, for example, jointly acquire knowledge about their rights as laid down in peace agreements or receive psycho-social support in workshops and training sessions.

An important goal of the WPTs is that women affected by war and conflict in particular know their rights and can demand them collectively. In this way, their demands should be included in peace processes and their voices heard.

The participants are predominantly women but depending on the context and goal of a WPT, men and decision-makers at times also take part in order to win them over as multipliers for the concerns and demands formulated at WPTs and to contribute to social and structural change in countries and regions affected by conflict.