Enhancing peace and security in conflict zones through increased women participation
Despite the fact that women play a significant role in peace and security, there involvement important decision relating to the same is still a big challenge. This paper explores not only the significant role of women in peace and security but also how significant this role is in bring about positive outcomes on matters peace and security. It further proposes that any institution that does not include or have zero representation of more than half of its population (women) is a crippled institution.
Why The full participation of women leads to peace and security.
- Twenty years ago the world made the bold step to state that the security of the individual is as important as the security of the state.
- UN Security Council Resolution 1325, a document as critical to security as the Geneva Convention, called upon all states not to just shift their beliefs, but to change their practices.
- Currently more than 85 countries have National Action Plans on gender equality.
- Research has shown that when women participate fully in decision-making about what’s included in the peace agreements, those agreements are likely to last.
- What is unique about the Women, Peace and Security approach to resolving conflict is that it is led by women’s civil society groups that are committed to non-violent, human rights-based approaches to ending violence.
- Women mostly use non-violent actions like dialogue and consultation with military actors, rebel forces, government, and civil society. They also engage in civil resistance like peaceful protests and organizing communities across religious, ethnic, and other differences.
- In many of the world’s conflicts, how peace and security affects women is being taken for granted, and leaders are more effective if they start involving women in the decision-making process.
- Research from scholars and policymakers shows that when women are able to participate in creating a more peaceful society – such as participating in peace negotiations, peacekeeping, or countering violent extremism – the solutions last longer and work better.
- Studies have shown that states with a larger gender gap in governance were riddled with corruption, disease, violence, and higher mortality rates. In contrast, states where more women were included enjoyed higher trust in government, lower infant mortality rates, and a greater focus on social welfare. The world has taken notice. Women now make up 24 percent of legislative bodies around the world, and more than 85 countries have national action plans for achieving gender equality.
It is therefore important to;
- Involve women in every level of the security sector–as police, soldiers, interpreters, doctors, and political leaders
- Ensure we have women in positions of peace and security decision making is critical. As a leader, you can make better decisions and achieve better outcomes.
Gender differences impact every aspect of security – including even how we define it.
- Not everyone sees security in the same way, and different perspectives are critical if we’re going to achieve better outcomes, for example, when women are in peacekeeping and security roles it also increases access to justice for survivors because it increases trust and legitimacy with local communities. In many places where conflicts are continuing to destroy lives and livelihoods, women still have to fight their way into the room. Their security concerns have yet to be treated seriously.
- women are increasingly becoming combatants and certainly affected by the direct conflict and it is therefore critical to invoke the perspectives of women in peace and security.
- Women since they are different and diverse, their perspective are important if a positive and a lasting peace is to be realized
- We can also look at the work done by women peace activists in Sudan who helped usher in the Sudanese peace agreement in 2020.
- Sudan, a country formerly ruled by Shar’ia law, is still in the process of transformation where, on a regular basis, 70 percent of the protesters who are in the streets are women. They are taking other steps to get the country on track to peace. And yet women are still left out of official actions. There were no women present at the ceremony to sign and verify the Sudanese power sharing agreement. But recently the absence of women in governing roles led to push-back in the country. Now, four of the eighteen ministries will be led by women, including the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economics.
The gap that still exist in the women participation in peace and security
- In many of the world’s conflicts, how peace and security affects women is being taken for granted
- Studies have shown that states with a larger gender gap in governance were riddled with corruption, disease, violence, and higher mortality rates yet in many states especially in Africa, there still exists visible gender gap.
- Some individuals and groups are still misleading by the idea that “women are not involved in fighting, and should not be involved in peacekeeping,” yet women have increasingly become combatants and are certainly affected by the direct conflict.
- Women are still not involved in policy building in peace and security matters in most parts of African countries
- Women are still not involved in key decision making agenda be it in political, economic or peace and security. For example, there were no women present at the ceremony to sign and verify the Sudanese power sharing agreement despite their overwhelming participation in the peace protests.
- Including women in peacemaking is often still an afterthought. It is still a strategic blind spot despite all the evidence that suggests that better results are achieved when women play a key role in any peace process.
- There is still a gap in understanding that when women fully participate in decision-making it benefits everyone, including men and marginalized communities. The vast majority of people don’t even know that this international effort exists. With you,
- There is still a strategic blind spot in the peace and security process and long as the strategic stakeholders and in this case the women are not involved in the process.
To advance peace and security, it is important to;
- Understand that the full participation of women leads to peace and security.
- Know that gender differences impact every aspect of security – including even how we define it!
- Acknowledge that even though we’ve made progress, there’s still more to do to achieve equality between men and women.
Successful leaders nurture the strengths and talents of their people and build teams committed to achieving common goals. Being inclusive in peace approach and involving the women would be a formidable team that would help to bridge the gap on peace and security.