A platform for voices supporting women's rights
Conflict resolution is a man’s world, but a UN Resolution passed on Friday calls for women to be more included in peace processes and considered in times of conflict.
Peace processes often include the leaders of the warring parties (mostly men), their advisors and military commanders (mostly men) and the international mediators and representatives of interested governments (mostly men). Do you see a pattern emerging here? The problem with this picture is that a distinct absence of women in critical negotiations and peace processes suggests that the needs of women in conflict-affected populations are likely to be omitted.
It has taken years for governments and international bodies to recognise that women suffer from conflict in different ways to men. Rape, rape resulting in pregnancy, sexual violence, displacement, lack of medical assistance for expectant mothers, breakdown of the family structure leaving women to tend to the family, the many and varied experiences for women during conflict mean that they must be represented fully during peace negotiations in order to ensure the most comprehensive and long-standing agreements.
Resolution 2122, unanimously adopted by the security council, provides “a more systematic approach to the implementation of commitments on women, peace and security”. The council was briefed by Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Navi Pillay, the high commissioner for human rights, and Brigitte Balipou, a member of the Femmes Africa Solidarité board and founder of the Association of Women Jurists of the Central African Republic, who spoke on behalf of the NGO working group on women, peace and security.
Whilst awareness of violence against women in conflict is at its highest ever, one speaker described the failure of this awareness to translate into the representation of females in peace processes. Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka stated that Resolution 2122 “demonstrates the security council’s intention to put women’s leadership at the centre of all efforts to resolve conflict and promote peace. It answers the chorus of voices from the global women’s movement to focus on women’s roles as peace leaders. And it recognises, loud and clear, that gender equality and the empowerment of women are critical to international peace and security.”