Three Things We Are Grateful for in Women, Peace and Security

Women Peace and Security Three Things

Bert Koenders (right), Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Côte d’Ivoire, and Margot Wallström, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict 11/24/2011, UN Photo/Patricia Esteve

Last week on Thanksgiving, I had a lot to say thanks for.  First and foremost, I was thankful for my new role as a Project Coordinator with Our Secure Future and to launch my career in Women, Peace, and Security as part of a welcoming team.  There were also many victories in the Women, Peace and Security movement that came to mind and I wanted to take a moment to share three accomplishments that we at Our Secure Future are particularly thankful for this year:

  1. In October, the US Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017 was passed.  The commitment of the U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace and Security played a crucial role in helping see the bill through into law.  This new bill recognizes the need to have more women at the table in global conflict negotiations and peacebuilding efforts.  It also mandates that the US create a government-wide strategy that increases women’s participation in peacekeeping and security.  Notably, the act reflects a growing global trend towards the greater inclusion of women in political decision-making.
  2. Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, is one such woman who is placing gender equality at the core of her work.  In response to US policy changes in certain areas of family planning—Ms. Wallström responded by offering to replace any funds lost for such aid.  She was soon joined by Canada, whose International Development Minister, Marie-Claude Bibeau, pushed for new policies that would offer sexual and reproductive health assistance, eradicate child marriage, get girls into school, and curb gender-based violence.
    “Focusing Canada’s international assistance on the full empowerment of women and girls is the most effective way for our international assistance to make a difference in the world.Sustainable development, peace and growth that works for everyone are not possible unless women and girls are valued and empowered.”- Marie-Claude Bibeau
  3. This year and every year, we are grateful for the female peacebuilders working on the ground in conflict-affected communities.  In Syria, years of conflict have inspired women to action.  Women are being included in Syria’s peace processes in Geneva on the Women’s Advisory Board (WAB), a group of twelve female civil society members who are informal representatives at the talks.  In preparation for the upcoming eighth round of talks on November 28th, the WAB demanded that 30 percent of the negotiators be women.

We look forward to learning which Women, Peace and Security developments you were most grateful for this year.  Let us know on Twitter by tagging us with #oursecurefuture.