Asymmetry of power is an acknowledged phenomenon in negotiation, and there are a number of devices for dealing with it. Similarly, alternative dispute resolution seeks to neutralize asymmetry of power by using an interest-based model of cross-conflict collaboration, but research has indicated that asymmetry persists nonetheless. The role of gender in negotiation has been researched, and to a far lesser degree, also with regard to alternative dispute resolution. Some of the gender in negotiation research has introduced the element of asymmetry of power as well. Prompted by the highlighting of asymmetry in Israeli-Palestinian all-women alternative dispute resolution (cross-conflict collaboration), the present article seeks to determine the role of gender, comparing asymmetry in mixed groups with all-women’s groups. A qualitative analysis, based on observations over decades of personal experience, finds only differences of degree rather than essence between predominantly-male mixed and all-women’s groups regarding the effects of asymmetry. The major exception to this lies in the centrality accorded the phenomenon by women but not by men, possibly attributable to gender differences in group relations and also the feminist character of the all-female groups.

Author Bio(s)

Galia Golan is Darwin Professor emerita, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she was head of the Political Science Department and founder of the Lafer Center for Women‘s Studies. Presently professor and founder of the Diplomacy and Conflict Studies Program at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, she is the author of nine books, including Israel and Palestine: Peace Plans and Proposals from Oslo to Disengagement, Markus Wiener Publishers, Princeton, 2007. She is a long-time peace and feminist activist. Email: ggolan@idc.ac.il.


alternative dispute resolution, asymmetry, cross-conflict collaboration, gender in negotiation, Israelis, Palestinians, power

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