The vital role of women in peacebuilding

Rosie studies International Relations

For the majority of women, a war-torn country severely impacts their livelihood. There are countless examples of systematic rapes and murders of women during times of conflict, as well as sexual slavery and exploitation, and various other sex-based forms of violence. Despite, or possibly in spite of this, studies show the fundamental importance of women’s determined
participation in post-conflict peacebuilding.

From 1992-2019, women were around 13% of negotiators, 6% of mediators, and 6% of signatories in major peace processes worldwide, a significant rise from previous years (UN Women). Increasingly women are gaining more say in peace processes, which is vital in constructing post-conflict societies which aim to protect women who are regularly the victims in specific types of sex-based atrocities. This spills more and more visibly into policy. For example, after increased participation from women in the UN and due to the UNSC’s Informal Expert Group on Women, Peace and Security, the number of UNSC decisions including language around women, peace, and security grew from 51% (2016) to 69% (2021) (UN Women).

In post-conflict societies, the contribution of women cannot be understated. With a seat at the table of the Good Friday Agreement, for example, the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition secured language in the Agreement referencing post-conflict security, including victims’ rights and reintegration of education, and were also credited for promoting cross-community dialogue, all serving as integrative factors (CFR). In Rwanda, women came together to reconstitute the organisation ‘Pro-Femmes/Twese Hamwe’ which now coordinates 40 women NGOs to champion women’s issues facing their post-conflict society, such as promoting reconciliations and participating in political decisions. (Murungi 2014, 4). Pro-Femmes Twese Hamwe also set up ‘sensitisation programmes’ for peacebuilding run by the Unity and Reconciliation Commission in order to bring together survivors in search for constructing a sustainable peace in their communities (Murungi 2014, 7).

There are many more cases that demonstrate the instrumental and often under-recognised work that women have done to reconstruct societies. With cases of women’s contribution and facilitation in post-conflict societies like Syria, South Sudan, and Kosovo, it has been restated time and time again that “women’s inclusion in peacebuilding will create sustainable peace” (UN
Women). Whilst many women are still excluded from government roles that directly produce actions towards peacebuilding, women do groundbreaking work for justice, peace and security from grassroots organisations to the negotiating table. Going forward, it is hopeful that the international community will attach more consideration and importance toward the unique insight
and contribution women can bring in rebuilding peace in war-torn societies. Evidently with this, more will be done, in international law, in the UN Security Council, in domestic societies, to protect women and girls from sex-based forms of violence faced especially in times of conflict.

Facts and figures: Women, peace, and security | What we do
Women at the UN Security Council: a sea change in numbers.
Murungi, Joan. “Women in the Post Conflict Reconstruction Rwanda.” URL: https://www. researchgate.
net/publication/314082274_Women_in_the_Post_Conflict_Reconstruc tion_Rwanda (дата обращения:
01.04. 2020) (2014).

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