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Women Are Key To Peace And Security


Women in the village of Poa near Ougadougou in Burkina Faso. (file)

This year three out of 10 peace agreements in U.N. supported processes included provisions for women’s political participation or protection.

Thirteen years ago, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 was a landmark decision affirming the principle that women's participation in conflict prevention, mitigation, and recovery is vital to maintaining peace and security.


The past year has seen further progress toward achieving this goal. As U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power noted, women were included in every formal peace negotiating process led or co-led by the U.N. Women are playing a more prominent role in crisis prevention, most notably in Darfur and the Great Lakes Region. Since 2009, gender crimes investigators have been a part of all UN commissions of inquiry. This year three out of 10 peace agreements in U.N. supported processes included provisions for women’s political participation or protection.

It is critical that implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325 continue. The ultimate goal is a transformation of how people everywhere think about security. Already, there are a number of productive initiatives under way, including peace building efforts by women in Mali, new legal protection measures in Colombia, smoother access to justice in Haiti, and an enhanced role for women in the police force in Zimbabwe.

Women are also playing an important role in preparing for elections in Sierra Leone and in harnessing new communications technology to monitor and report on violations in Sudan and other areas of conflict.

"As we continue to go forward," said Ambassador Power, "let us confront honestly the obstacles that remain before us. . . .Let's not conflate effort with results. They are different. Let us instead take concrete steps so that women share fully in efforts to avoid and contain conflict, just as they inevitably share in the suffering when such efforts are poorly designed or when they fail. . . .Just as all benefit from peace, so all must help to create peace."
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