Our Secure Future is excited for the launch of Just the Facts: A Selected Annotated Bibliography to Support Evidence-Based Policymaking on Women, Peace and Security. The publication is a compilation of almost 30 years of research on the effectiveness of the Women, Peace and Security agenda across the fields of governance, peacebuilding and conflict resolution, peace and security operations, and countering violent extremism and counterterrorism. Here are some of the key takeaways we found from each.
It is generally understood that good governance is a cornerstone of democracy, yet gender equality and women’s participation have not been highly prioritized in improving governance. Just the Facts shows that gender equality is critical for peaceful, democratic, and sustainable political transitions. The literature included specifically focuses on how women’s political participation impacts state aggression, political corruption, and policy priorities. It demonstrates that when women are in leadership roles, their unique perspectives and skills can improve the functions of governments.
Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution
The security of women is linked to the security of states, and equality between the sexes is correlated with peaceful states. However, there is debate over whether women are inherently peaceful. Traditional discourse by women’s groups highlights the peaceful qualities that women bring to the table. Others argue that not all women are peaceful and can be supporters and perpetrators of violence. Some argue that women’s inclusion should not be based on their “peaceful temperaments” as it also marginalizes them in certain roles, and that inclusion should be based on principles of gender equality.
Peace and Security Operations
Security sector reform is crucial for promoting peace and good governance, and women’s engagement is key to this process. Women leaders in peace and security operations serve as role models for other women and promote the inclusion of women in post-conflict political, economic, and military structures. Women’s representation among peacekeeping and security personnel, and the use of gender perspectives in these operations, improves access to local populations and increases their support. This trust with communities leads to increased information and situational awareness, and smarter interventions with fewer risks and better outcomes.
Countering Violent Extremism and Counterterrorism
Women play critical roles in preventing and countering violent extremism. In many places, women are well positioned to detect early signs of radicalization because their rights and physical integrity are often targeted by fundamentalists. In addition, innovative research shows that mothers may have unique perspectives on why their sons or daughters radicalize. They are often the front line in building resilience in the home and community. Because mothers are influential in the family, extremist groups often try to persuade them to support the ideological commitment and courage of their sons to join these movements. Reaching out to mothers and wives of insurgents can help to extract them and reintegrate them back into society as part of deradicalization efforts.