The conflict and post-conflict period in the Papua New Guinea (PNG) province of Bougainville provides a useful case study for the examination of the participation components of the women, peace and security framework. The matrilineal community structures,1 as well as women’s roles in negotiating peace in Bougainville,2 reveal the complexity and variation of gender norms that require attention in strategies to enhance women’s participation in conflict resolution and post-conflict decision-making structures. The conflict in Bougainville extended from 1988 through to 2001. On 31 August 2001, the Bougainville Peace Agreement was signed and the demilitarisation processes, as well as the withdrawal of PNG forces, commenced.3 The Bougainville shift toward peace straddles the period in which the Security Council’s women, peace and security framework mushroomed from a single resolution, adopted in 2000,4 to a sequence of seven resolutions on women, peace and security by the end of 2013.5 The combination of the emergent international understanding of the nexus between women, peace and security and the central role of Bougainville women in local decision-making structures, as well as the general sense of collective security achieved,6 suggests that Bougainville might also be expected to be a story of success in relation to gender-balanced participation.


United Nations Security Council Peace Process Security Council Resolution Security Framework 
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  1. 2.
    J.T. Sirivi and M.T. Havini (eds), As Mothers of the Land: The Birth of the Bougainville Women for Peace and Freedom (Canberra: Pandanus Books, 2004).Google Scholar
  2. See also J. Braithwaite, H. Charlesworth, L. Dunn and P. Reddy, Reconciliation and Architectures of Commitment: Sequencing Peace in Bougainville (Canberra: ANU E Press, 2010), pp. 93–94.Google Scholar
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    See R. Kapur, Erotic Justice: Law and the New Politics of Postcolonialism (London: Glasshouse Press, 2005), ch. 4.Google Scholar
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    See G. Heathcote, ‘Feminist politics and the use of force: Theorising feminist action and Security Council Resolution 1325’, Socio-Legal Review, Vol. 7 (2011) 23.Google Scholar
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    For discussion, see L. Fung, ‘Engendering the peace processes: Women’s role in peacebuilding’, in H. Durham and T. Gurd (eds), Listening to the Silences: Women and War (Leiden: Brill, 2005) 225, p. 237.Google Scholar
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    For further discussion of gendered participation in PNG, see J. Chandler, ‘Taim bilong ol Meri?: A new agenda in PNG’, Griffith Review, Vol. 40 (2013) 66, available at: (last accessed October 2013).Google Scholar
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    S. Douglas, V. Farr, F. Hill and W. Kasuma, ‘Case study: Bougainville — Papua New Guinea’, in S. Douglas and F. Hill (eds), Getting It Right, Doing It Right: Gender and Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (New York: United Nations Development Fund for Women, 2004) 20, p. 23.Google Scholar
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    See L. Garasu, ‘The role of women in promoting peace and reconciliation’, in A. Carl and L. Garasu (eds), Weaving Consensus: The Papua New Guinea — Bougainville Peace Process (London: Conciliation Resources in collaboration with BICWF, 2002) 28.Google Scholar
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    See also D. Hegarty and A. Regan, ‘Peacebuilding in the Pacific Islands: Lessons from Bougainville, Solomon Islands and Fiji’, in Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, Handbook on Conflict and Mediation in Asia (Geneva: Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, 2006) 57.Google Scholar

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© Gina Heathcote 2014

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