It has been nearly twenty years since the adoption of the United Nations Security Council resolution SCR1325 on ‘Women, Peace and Security’ that encoded women’s roles in peace and security. In spite of this and against growing evidence that including women in peace-making processes in conflict areas enhances peace and stability, women still struggle to get a place at the negotiating table.
“There is a huge gap between what the UN resolutions and international commitments outline and what is put into place by governments throughout the world,” noted moderator Shada Islam, Director of Europe & Geopolitics at Friends of Europe, at the debate entitled ‘Women, Peace and Security’ on 7 March. “It is really a sad story to tell.”
According to a Friends of Europe’s publication on the subject, in global peace processes between 1992 and 2011, women made up only 2% of chief mediators, 4% of witnesses and signatories, and 9% of negotiators. In addition, from 2008 to 2012, women were signatories to only 2 of 61 peace agreements.
Though the international community has declared otherwise, the reality is that the vast majority of peace agreements over the past thirty years fail to include women in the peace process or even address them and their concerns, including gender-based violence.
“There is not enough research in this area but where there is, there is a proven difference as a result of involving women in peace negotiations,” stressed Clare Moody, European Parliament Vice-Chair of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence.
“When women are actively involved in the peace-making process, there is a 20% increase in peace lasting two years and a 35% increase over five years,” she said.
Increasing the participation of women in such processes requires concerted efforts to empower them but this alone is not sufficient, noted Sandra Oelke, Advisor on Security, Peace and Disaster Risk Management at the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
“We need to empower women but also to raise awareness among men and the male-dominated organisational culture in peace and security,” she said. “Without respect and acceptance on their side, women are simply unable to get into the field.”
Should you not be able to view the gallery, please click here.