As we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (WPS), some 90 countries have crafted National Action Plans (NAPs) based on the critical framework for decision-making and sustainable solutions. Yet UN Women’s Deputy Chief, Peace and Security, Sarah Douglas says with governments’ insufficient progress on implementation, women remain largely shut out of local, national, regional, and international decision making.
Douglas adds: “The fundamental challenge is simple bias, as proven by a UNDP study showing that nine out of 10 people have a bias against women. Applying a gender perspective in peace and political processes can mitigate bias, prevent further undermining of women’s rights, and ensure inclusive and sustainable peacemaking and peace-building.”
“When women are meaningfully included in peace negotiations, the resulting agreement is 35 percent more likely to last 15 years or more,” Yifat Susskind, Executive Director of MADRE explains women, as essential first responders in conflicts, meet communities’ most urgent needs. “Even as war rages, through community organizing, they create dialogues and open spaces for people to share their needs and hopes.”
Recognizing Women Peace-builders: Critical Actors in Effective Peacemaking report–by the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) and Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL) members–confirms women’s “overwhelmingly absent role from track one negotiations,” says ICAN Founder and CEO, Sanam Naraghi Anderlini.
While funds for women peace builders are limited, the international community in 2019 spent $1.9 trillion on militarization–which fueled extremism not peace.
Flexible Funding And Women’s Inclusion Is Critical
Between 1992 and 2019, women constituted, on average, 13 percent of negotiators, six percent of mediators, and six percent of signatories in major peace processes worldwide. About seven out of every 10 peace processes did not include women mediators or women signatories, according to UN Women.
While the pandemic exacerbated existing gender inequalities, undermined sustainable peace and development, diverting resources for girls and women that limit their participation, Douglas says, “Women’s experience of conflict and their efforts at preventing, mitigating, mediating and recovering from conflict is routinely ignored, in favor of engagement with armed combatants, government and others, who also tend to be men.”
Suskind explains how “The impact of such failed promises is evident in Colombia’s recent surge in violence only four years after they signed a historic peace agreement. They failed to center the leadership of local women peace-builders and to advance their solutions.”
Mossarat Qadeem Executive Director, PAIMAN Alumni Trust says some international aid organizations “come with their own agendas.” Recipients of large aid from multiple donor countries and agencies, like Pakistan are “still struggling for a stable democratic practices, good governance, rule of law, quality and good education for all, poverty alleviation, improved health