The “Cultural Feminist” and “Radical Feminist” had this ideology that it is very important that the world is run in the hands of strong women’s and a women’s essence or nature, the belief changed and they decided that having a women in power and bringing an end to this Patriarchal Society could bring an end to many Social & Political issues. The major reason for their belief is the natural skill of women in peace keeping and Mediating skills.[1] Thus, in this paper we are going to understand why Women are good in negotiation and mediating and also understand as to why India needs more women mediators mainly in Domestic Cases. The Research Methodology used is mainly Doctrinal, it has been done through reference from Journals, Books and Articles. It is done through reasoning and logical understanding of the topic.

Keywords: Mediators, Women, Conflict-Resolution.



Mediation is a process of peace making between individual parties who have consented to the process. Basically, it is a process of peace making and negotiating a solution or a middle path which is like a win-win situation for the parties. It is often understood that women are great peace makers and negotiators because of an inherent nature in them. On the opening session of the Workshop on the Rights of Internally Displaced Women and Women Affected by Conflict in Recovery and Peacebuilding in Kyiv, Ukraine. The UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka stated in his speech that “Women are stakeholders and they are custodians in managing and maintaining the peace. From my own lived experience I can tell you that it is essential to have women in the Centre of peacemaking. In the review of the 15 years of implementing resolution 1325, one of the conclusions that was reached was that peace is safer, with more longevity, when women are involved in deciding the peace agreement, in accompanying it, and in participating in institutions of leadership.”[2] It was from the year 1999 the UN Security Council started addressing the need of more women in peace keeping and mediation. The difference in negotiation and mediation skills were studied and it was understood that women are better peace makers and mediators.


Let us now discuss what are the natures that a mediator needs and how a women show great level of competence in those skills. There are basically three major quality that fulfills the important qualities of a Mediator:[3]

  • Impartiality, or leverage/resources, or leverage/power
  • Mediator interest
  • Intelligence and tact


When a mediation is conducted, Impartiality plays a very big role. Impartiality falls in the ethics of the mediator because a mediator cannot suggest any suggestion or talk in favor of any of the parties or disclose any material fact received from the private caucus and further they have to take care about confidentiality. Thus, Impartiality and leverage goes hand in hand, if Impartiality is not kept properly leverage cannot be used and if little thrust of leverage is not used the success rate of mediation falls down. In mediation you will have power but it has to be used to empower the parties. The General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Kate Hudson stated that “In the peace movement, women are not interested in power over others” as women are not interested in getting more powerful but they are interested in empowering others more.[4]


Lara Sievers states that in gender theory of conflict resolution “Mediators Interest” means “Motivation”. She also states that “It is very obvious that gender of a mediator can impact a mediator’s motivation by influencing preference for, for example, splitting resources.[5]” Studies in 1975 shows that interpersonal orientation between men and women differ. Females have a higher IO than male. A relationship dimension is always given more importance by female.[6] In an experiment conducted in 2003, Lisa Barron interacted with male and female arbitrators to comprehend their motivation. By far most of men expressed that their essential inspiration was to facilitate their own advantages. On the other hand, for the dominant part of female, the reason for the negotiation was to promote their acceptance by others.[7]


Lastly let us talk about Intelligence and tact, it is often seen that women are usually known to use styles of conflict management such as collaborating, compromising or avoiding and are also there to empower people than use the power in a discretionary way. On the other hand, Men tend to use “competing as well as avoiding strategies” more often in conflict situations. When it comes to resolution of dispute it is important that a few rational strategies are used and the compromising and collaborative style has been seen to be very productive. Further, female mediators tend to follow this style in a greater sense than their male colleges.[8]


A death of 1133 and displacement of over 30,000 Kenyan people in a span of 2 months took place in 2007, a violent electoral dispute was triggered by claims of rigging in the presidential elections. A 41 days of intense mediation took place and finally the political violence came to an end with a power sharing agreement. About 25% of the women in the mediator board was women which acted as a special effect and catalyzed the whole process. There were several advantages of taking women in mediation one among them was the “spitting session”, Where Kenyan women, from different party came together and spitted at each other to reduce their anger at each other. The “spitting” allowed them to build confidence and trust in each other, and engage in a more constructive dialogue to find common ground on deep-rooted issues affecting the crisis.[9]Another advantage of keeping women was there large networking capacity in all sections of the society, besides this the women have a natural instinct which is strong than men where they can sense negativity in a very early they always know how to make logical solution and how to use their leverage. All these characters of women mediators brought about a quick solution to the violent problems in Kenya.


India as they say is a subcontinent with “Unity in Diversity” but what they don’t say is with this diverse nature there also comes diverse problem. Sometimes even problems that cannot be dealt with in the court, problem which is so serious but have no legal solution. Further, this diversity has gifted all types of problem to India be it Communal, Religious, Political, Social, Cultural, Economical etc. Besides this there are civil problem of Family Dispute-Property or Divorce and there is corruption like an overflowing river in a flood. With all of these there are vague Acts, Status and Legislature which allows everything but at the same time allow nothing. The transparency of the court seems lost with the invention of the Gun, Judges and Justice both are sold and bought. “Money” is the solution to every difficult situation. The Judiciary has lost its effect and corruption has swept the floor of the courts in high sprit.

Indian Judicial System faces many issue and the major five being:[10]

  • Corruption in judiciary;
  • Backlog of pending cases;
  • Lack of transparency;
  • Hardships of the under trials;
  • No interaction with the society.

Mediation is an ulterior solution to the above stated problem. In India there is a need of more women mediators mainly for mediation in a fasters and better way. In the previous section, we have already decided as to why women mediators are good in mediation and we have seen how the UN is calling their competency in this field for resolving greater Dispute in International and National Level for Political and Economic Mediation.  In this Section, we will understand the need of more women mediators in India society in a subjective basics. The major place where women are needed in an immediate basis is in Women or Family Dispute.  The Divorce Cases are the major types of case which are sent for Mediation. In K. Srinivas Rao vs. D.A.Deepa , [11]the apex court held that mediation is a must before a divorce. When any case occurs under Section 489A of IPC, the apex court directs the criminal courts not to deal with this complaint unless the matter is dealt by the mediation centers. Further, it has been held that

All the mediation centers should set up their own personal litigation clinics so that the matrimonial disputes can be resolved under this without going to court.[12]

In the Indian Society a matrimonial Dispute of Divorce and Domestic violence are a very touchy topic which needs to be guided by calm hands. There are further situations in a Divorce case where very intrinsic questions have to be asked, and a women mediators presence in such mediation is very important, as in matrimonial cases women’s (wife) because of the conservative Indian Society are not very comfortable in sharing what they feel to a male easily which makes getting a solution very difficult and the mediation process gets delayed. Thus, not only because of the empowering aspect of women but also for societal reasons a Women mediator is very necessary in a Family Dispute. Even the Family Courts have made it mandatory to have mainly women Judges for the purpose of Judging because of the same concept. Thus, looking forward not only in domestic purpose but in all major cases of mediation women must be present because of their competency as explained above.


As a small disclaimer at the end of the paper it can be now stated that the paper is not to say that men are not good mediator. It is just to state that women have some inbuilt negotiation capability and because of which more female along with male mediator needs to be added in the mediation chair. History has proved that great men leaders and aristocrats like Nelson Mandela have been born who has changed the face of the world through their great mediation skills.  However, now time has come to forget the empowerment of women or the patriarchic disturbances. Time has now come to make a difference, solve the upcoming dispute for which more need of the women and the support of men are needed. In mediation often difficult questions have to be asked to both the parties for E.g. A very important fact that has to be questioned by a mediator is whether the marriage has been consummated, answering this sometimes become very difficult for women to a male mediator and vice versa. Thus, keeping all these facts in mind high time has come that the Supreme Court and even the Government should bring out some legislature and increase the number of women mediators in the country especially for family dispute resolution .

(This paper is authored by Anushka Mishra from Symbioisis Law School Hyderabad.
It was recognized in the top 3 best papers submitted in IMW-Lions International Conclave on Conflict Resolution.)


[1] Josie Glausiusz, Would the world be more peaceful if there were more women leaders? AEON (October 27, 2017), https://aeon.co/ideas/would-the-world-be-more-peaceful-if-there-were-more-women-leaders.

[2] Speech by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN WOMEN: NEWS AND EVENTS, (June 8, 2017)

[3] Lara Sievers, Young and female: the future mediators in conflicts? DAG HAMMARSKJÖLD FOUNDATION, (March 20, 2017), https://www.daghammarskjold.se/young-female-future-mediators-conflicts/

[4]Susanna Rustin, Harriet Gibsone and Hanna Yusuf, What if women ruled the world? THE GAURDIAN (July 5, 2017, 11:30 IST), https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/jul/05/what-if-women-ruled-the-world.

[5] Ibid

[6] Roohia S. Klein, The Role of Women in Mediation and Conflict Resolution: Lessons for UN Security Council Resolution 1325, 18 Wash. & Lee J. Civ. Rts. & Soc. Just. 277 (2012).

[7]  Lisa A. Barron, Ask and You Shall Receive? Gender Differences in Negotiators’ Beliefs about Requests for a Higher Salary, 56 HUM. REL., June 2003, 635–62

[8] Marie O’Reilly, Women in Conflict Mediation: Why it Matters, INTERNATIONAL PEACE INSTITUTE, September 2013, at 7-8.

[9] Ibid

[10] Rumani Saikia Phukan, Five Major Problems the Indian Judicial System is Facing, MAPS OF INDIA, (October 31, 2014), https://www.cedr.com/articles/?item=The-Gender-Agenda-The-Female-Mediator-Gaining


[11] Civil Appeal No. 1794 of 2013

[12]  Rebecca Furtado, Use of Mediation during Divorce Proceedings in India, IPLEADERS, (July 26, 2016), https://blog.ipleaders.in/use-mediation-divorce-proceedings-india/

Categories: Mediation

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