Oct 2014

Anniversary of UN resolution on women, peace and security prompts question - Where are the women?

Today marks the 14th anniversary of the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) on women and peace and security. The resolution reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction and stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.

Despite the fact that women play important roles in relation to peace and security, the international media continues to portray them as victims in armed conflict. Sanne Tielemans adresses this subject in her article titled: Where are the Women? Building Peace beyond the Negotiating Table, published on Alliance for Peacebuilding's Building Peace Forum.

Below is an excerpt. 

Women play important roles in relation to peace and security. Their contributions are as diverse as women themselves – and include direct and indirect support to both war and peace efforts. Despite this, the prevailing view in the media, among international actors, and the general audience at large is that women are victims in armed conflict; helpless, vulnerable and in need of protection. Their agency is routinely ignored.
Evidence shows that women have been at the forefront of grassroots and civil society initiatives to address violence and build peace (See “Women Peacebuilders Reflect, Connect, Act” for highlights and examples). Across a range of contexts women can be found campaigning collectively for an end to violence, championing social justice and human rights, mediating between warring factions and delivering social welfare and humanitarian support.
Too often, however, these contributions (and those of many other actors in society) are seen as peripheral rather than crucial components of peacebuilding.
It is time to start thinking of peace processes as movements that start before and continue well beyond the signing of an agreement, and involve a huge range of actors working at different levels of society. While there are practical limits on participation in formal ‘peace’ negotiations, there are other ways that peace processes can be made more inclusive. Two such ways are providing greater political and financial support to those active at other levels, including the various women-led organizations working for peace in various ways at grassroots levels, and linking these efforts better to official peace talks.