Today, the international community has at its disposal an underutilized tool to address the multidimensional problem of violent extremism: UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) on Women, Peace and Security. October 2015 marked the fifteenth anniversary of the adoption of the resolution, and the first time that the Security Council recognized that gender equality is a critical component of maintaining international peace and security. It is now widely recognized that conflict and peacebuilding are highly gendered activities, and that women and men experience violence and security differently. Continue Reading
In recent years, one of the most visible and dominant narratives of violent extremist groups is the perpetuation of inequality between men and women. Violent extremists often target women as victims and recruit them as perpetrators of violence as part of a larger political project. Increased violent activity by women and girls has focused international attention on the role of women in political violence and how women can help counter violent extremism (CVE). Continue Reading
Every day for two years I took the yellow ferry across the Hudson River from Jersey City to Manhattan. When I disembarked I headed to my favorite coffee shop to write about women and peace. The ride across the Hudson on the Little Lady lasted about fifteen minutes, no matter the weather. Winter days brought snow and the water was gray with ice. On warm summer afternoons the upper Hudson was filled with yachts owned by hedge fund managers from Wall Street. Crossing the river was always a cold and beautiful passage. Continue Reading
Women are the key eyes and ears when political violence swells in their communities. But the failure to recognize and support them as political actors undermines our ability to counter violent extremism. From New York Magazine to Malaysia's New Straits Times, ISIS has us taking women more seriously. While recent reports indicate there is a rise in foreign female ISIS recruits, we have to ask, what about all the other women we aren't reading about? Continue Reading
The recent beheadings of U.S. journalists Steven Satloff and James Foley, as well as British aid worker David Haines by ISIS are a gruesome and tragic reminder of our relationship with extremists since 9/11. So far, public debate has focused on the motivations for this kind of extreme political violence and what to do about it.
What hasn't been said is this: with every attack, our strategic advantage to combat extremism comes into sharper focus. We now know what we are fighting for.
We fight for security and peace in the presence of such horrors by increasing the effectiveness of our security operations through the inclusion of more women marines, more women police, and more women advisors in conflict zones. The U.S. lifted the ban on women in combat in January 2013, recognizing that "valor has no gender.”
American men and women have been fighting and dying… Continue Reading
In the world of pen vs. gun, we would all benefit from putting the Arab proverb "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" to good use. If women's rights are a security threat to violent extremists, then women's rights must be the asset we protect.
The most recent statistics show that women account for about 2 percent of personnel in UN military components and about 9.8 percent of the UN police force. Still, women face myths that hinder gender equality in peacekeeping. Here are three myths we can do without.
This report argues that the UN is unlikely to reach its gender goals because it is not fully implementing its own two-pronged approach of increasing the number of women in peacekeeping operations and integrating a gender perspective within its missions.
New Political Will Links Women, Peace and Security Agenda to International Humanitarian Law
With the adoption of the new Arms Trade Treaty and the G8 Declaration on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, the international community has taken major steps towards creating an international framework of deterrence for sexual and gender-based violence in armed conflict. Even more striking is that collectively, these international efforts mark a tipping point in the lifespan of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (UNSCR 1325), reflecting the precedence of new norms and "soft-laws" that connect the women, peace, and security agenda to international humanitarian law.
Despite support from Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) and a UN initiative, the integration of female uniformed personnel in national contributions to UN peace operations has fallen short of expectations. In 2013, women comprise less than four percent of UN peacekeepers globally, about two percent of the United Nations’ (UN) military personnel, and about 9.8 percent of UN police. My forthcoming study is part of the International Peace Institute’s “Providing for Peacekeeping” project. It concludes that the UN Secretariat and UN member states’ singular focus on increasing the numbers of women obscures the equally important twin goal of integrating a gender perspective into the work of peace operations.
Although the principle of the Responsibility to Protect has a number of supporters, there is still little agreement on institutional procedures to execute Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) systematically. This is due to a lack of consensus on how exactly to operationalize specific RtoP practices with regard to genocide, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and war crimes.. This article presents an overview of UNSCR 1325 and examines how implementing UNSCR 1325 in UN and NATO peace and security operations is pushing the RtoP agenda forward in practical, not theoretical, terms in three key areas of military peace and security operations - the transformation of doctrine, command structure, and capabilities.
The last thirty years of women's advancement provide plenty of credible data to show that the link between gender inequality and state failures is real and pressing. It is time to think again about the skepticism that plagues the debate about women and international security. Here are five myths we can do without.
When military planners and policy makers credit what has increased effectiveness in peacekeeping and security operations, they rarely, if ever, mention gender equality. Nevertheless, recent efforts made by UN peacekeeping missions and NATO to implement UN Resolution 1325, show that security actors are more successful when they take into account the different experiences of men and women in the local population, and when peace and security missions include women in executing operations and decision-making. A growing body of evidence from the field reveals that the inclusion of women enhances operational effectiveness in three key ways: improved information gathering, enhanced credibility, and better force protection. Empirical evidence underscores the fact that attention to the different needs, interests, and experiences of men and women can enhance the success of a variety of security tasks, to the benefit of both civilians and soldiers.
Over the past decade, Western media have repeatedly portrayed images of Muslim women as victims. We have read about the Taliban publicly beating young women who laugh in the street; we have read about the targeted killings of professional Iraqi women – doctors, journalists, lawyers – who represent an opposing view to an extremist agenda. Americans have so often seen Muslim women as silent victims that they probably conjure picturesque images of shapeless and silent figures in bright blue burqas as synonymous with “Muslim women.” To be sure, they are among the victims. But as the United States works with Afghan locals to develop policy, it must consider this: In order to responsibly promote democracy and support human rights within countries working toward reform, women must be included in making policy decisions.