Designing political arrangements is the most viable approach to resolving inter-communal divisions in post-conflict societies. Yet women are frequently ill-served by such peace settlements, since gender equality is often sacrificed in an effort to resolve conflicts over national identity. Northern Ireland is no exception to this trend. Although the 1998 Northern Ireland Agreement made specific provision for gender equality, it was primarily framed in terms of national identity. This article examines to what extent this focus on inter-communal ethnic division undermined support for the Agreement among women. Using data from the 2010 Northern Ireland Election Survey, we examine gender differences in attitudes towards the consociational institutions of government. The results show a significant gender gap in support for the institutional arrangements that were established by the Agreement. We propose and test three explanations to account for this gender gap.
- national identity
- Northern Ireland