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Almost twenty years after the adoption of the United Nations Security Council resolution SCR1325 on ‘Women, Peace, and Security’ that encoded women’s roles in peace and security and despite 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.”
In order to address this disconnect, governments and organisations on all levels need to consider initiatives to empower women in the political, social and economic sectors. Women are more often than not seen as victims in conflict and this perception devalues their contributions to community mediation, economic growth, security sector reform, and in many other areas.
Unlocking women’s potential in peace and security means concentrating on their roles in local communities and empowering them economically as well as politically. Many initiatives and programmes stress capacity-building for women in areas of technical expertise but overlook ways that women are disadvantaged when navigating the overwhelmingly male environments of security and peacebuilding and making their voices heard.
It behoves policymakers and leaders in the fields of security and development to remain focused on the issues of gender-based violence and gender inequality through policy and funding aimed at shifting the perception and place of women in societies and conflict areas throughout the world.