Assessment report : The Experience of Ahotsak: Women’s Dialogue Across the Divide in the Basque Country

This research report prepared for DPI by Ana Villellas Ariño, María Villellas Ariño, and Pamela Urrutia Arestizábal of the Escola de Cultura de Pau in the Autonomous University of Barcelona provides an analysis of the Ahotsak (Voices) movement, which emerged during the Basque conflict to facilitate further female participation in the peace process. The report tracks the growth of the Ahotsak movement, from its roots in the public rapprochement of two female MPs from opposite ends of the political divide, to its expansion into the Basque parliament and civil society. The report also tracks the obstacles that faced the peace process, such as violence carried out by the separatist ETA group, and details how Ahotsak worked around this to maintain the dialogue at during difficult times. The report exemplifies the effectiveness of increased female participation in peace processes, and the way a mutual goal of peace can propel people to work across political divides. The authors conclude that although there are conflicting opinions about whether the movement has permanently disappeared or is on standby, it has helped propel the emergence of other platforms that promote the role of women in transforming conflicts. The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DPI.