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This paper analyzes how practices in water diplomacy, and in particular in international water negotiations, are gendered and with what effects. We conduct a comparative analysis of three intergovernmental decision-making forums on international rivers: the Nile Technical Advisory Committee, the Chu-Talas Water Commission, and the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine. These three cases demonstrate how gender is relational and creates situations in which gendered norms and values are strengthened, challenged, and changed, and sometimes used strategically to gain more power. In addition, two specific dynamics were observed: first, aligning with gendered stereotypes, confrontational practices in water negotiations are perceived as masculine and cooperative ones as feminine. Second, women’s participation in negotiations leads to both male and female negotiators adapting their behavior, resulting in a tendency towards less openly confrontational dynamics in more gender-balanced settings.

Open Access
In: International Negotiation