Throughout history, women have fallen victims to militarization, nationalism and anachronistic patriarchal traditions. Since 1974, in the context of the Cyprus conflict, leaders of the two major ethnic communities on the island have discussed a variety of issues, agreeing on some, disagreeing on others. The one issue though that has never been part of the peace negotiations is gender equality or more specifically, women’s rights. In 2000 the United Nations’ Security Council, following much lobbying by women’s organizations world-wide, finally identified the gendered aspect of war and peace processes and formalized it through the unanimous adoption of Resolution 1325 on ‘Women, Peace and Security’.
It is in this context that in 2009 the Gender Advisory Team came together in a determined effort to mainstream gender equality in the Cyprus peace process. Recommendations on ‘governance and power-sharing’, ‘citizenship rights’, ‘property rights’ and ‘economic rights’ have already been developed by GAT based on the principles of UNSC Resolution 1325. Of these, the first 3 have already been presented to the negotiators and the UN Good Offices team. GAT is hopeful that this process will continue, following the willingness of the negotiating teams to explore ways in which the work on mainstreaming gender equality can be further developed and applied.