‘Gender &’ Research Brief Series
AfP developed the ‘Gender &’ Research Brief series to move the field toward programming that not only amplifies the voice and participation of women in peacebuilding, but also addresses the power structures that foster gender inequality.
The series includes briefs on:
Atrocity Prevention Countering Violent Extremism
Drawing on the work of our membership, each brief will:
• Draw connections between gender equality and peacebuilding
• Highlight examples of programs that have united gender equality and peacebuilding work
• Provide practical recommendations for the field
Traditional thinking dictates that security is a masculine endeavor: war is waged and won by men without the involvement of women. Decades of advocacy from women across the globe upended this paradigm, culminating in the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325), which recognized the unique burden women carry during war and codified the importance of women’s participation at all stages of peace processes. As we approach the twenty-year anniversary of UNSCR 1325, it is time to take stock of what has been achieved, what issues persist, and what comes next.
Over 60 countries have created national strategies to ensure women’s participation in peace and security processes; peacebuilding initiatives from examining the role of masculinities in violence in Myanmar to strengthening young female peace activists’ leadership skills in Pakistan have helped realize these norms in practice. A peace agreement is 35 percent more likely to succeed when women are involved in its negotiations and from Liberia to Indonesia to Northern Ireland, women have proven their efficacy as peacebuilders. Yet, the focus of most policies and programs remain on the protection of women during war and the inclusion of women in processes following war, rather than sustained and comprehensive efforts to bolster gender parity to prevent war.
The paradigm for gender inclusion has essentially been, “add women and stir”, but the link between gender equality and positive peace runs deeper than representation. Gender inequality is one of the most accurate predictors of state fragility and conflict. Though we lack empirical evidence of directional causation, the intellectual jump is not a difficult one. Violence against women is symptomatic of tolerance for violence. Laws and norms that discriminate against women indicate a society’s willingness to discriminate. To maximize the effectiveness of peacebuilding, we must understand how our programming can serve women and reform the systems of injustice that undermine their equality.
Resources that give guidance on gender-aware approaches to peacebuilding and groundbreaking research on the nexus of women’s security and national security have brought us closer to programming for women, rather than including women into programming designed for men. Peacebuilding programs recognize the importance of women’s participation and are beginning to incorporate a gendered analysis into each phase of design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. But we still have further to go; peacebuilding programs must state gender equality as a core goal and program toward it from the outset.