William & Mary Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice


This article commences with a discussion of transitional constitutional
design and the ways in which the branches of government
relate to one another, focusing on the consequences of these structures
for women. We are convinced that an analysis of the rights-bearing
portions of a constitution alone is insufficient to fully capture the way
in which power is structured and experienced. Consistent with other
scholars, we start from the view that “constitutions are derived from
a social contract between the constituents who will be governed and
the political actors who will govern; they explain how the society
and government will operate and under what parameters.” This article
offers preliminary proposals on how to make gender central to
constitutional drafting, providing positive examples. We follow with
an assessment of constitutional drafting rhetoric and initiatives in
multiple post-conflict societies. We will explore their value and limitations
for women and offer, in both cases, a set of pragmatic reflections
on ways to undertake constitutional drafting in such a way as
to dismantle masculinities currently in effect during constitutional
negotiations, as well as to give women a voice through constitutional
mandates and implementation.