It is well known that violent conflict disproportionately affects women and girls and intensifies pre-existing gender inequalities and discrimination. Women are also active agents of peace in armed conflict, yet their role as key players and change agents of peace has been largely unrecognized. Acknowledging and integrating the different understanding, experiences and capabilities of women into all aspects of UN peace operations is essential for the success of UN peacekeeping efforts and sustaining peace.
UN Peacekeeping operations are mandated by the Security Council to implement the Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security across all peace functions. Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) was the first resolution that recognized the disproportionate and unique impact of armed conflict on women and girls, acknowledged the contributions women and girls make to conflict prevention, peacekeeping, conflict resolution and peacebuilding and highlighted the importance of their equal and full participation, as active agents in peace and security. The nine subsequent resolutions on Women, Peace and Security (1820, 1888, 1889, 1960, 2106, 2122, 2242, 2467, 2493) have since been adopted, stressing the importance of women’s leadership and meaningful participation in the prevention and resolution of conflicts; addressing the impact of sexual violence; promoting the development and use of measures and standards for monitoring the implementation of women, peace and security mandates; training and capacity building on gender equality and women, peace and security for peacekeeping personnel; engaging with civil society more comprehensively and enabling an improved understanding of gender dynamics of conflict. The implementation of Women Peace and Security (WPS) priorities is a political commitment in the Secretary General’s Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative reaffirms that women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in peace processes and political solutions is essential for effective peacekeeping.
How does UN Peacekeeping integrate gender equality and women, peace and security into its work?
The Departments of Peace Operations (DPO) and Operational Support (DOS) promote gender equality and women, peace and security through different approaches including through strengthening managerial leadership and accountability on implementation of the gender equality and women, peace and security mandates across UN Peacekeeping; strengthening systems and mechanisms for monitoring progress and producing analytical evidence-based progress reports; strengthening capacities and knowledge of all personnel —civilian, police and military— to advance the gender responsiveness of peacekeeping operations; and strengthening UN Peacekeeping engagement and partnerships with other UN entities and partners, internally and externally at Headquarters and in missions; to achieve gender equality and women, peace and security related results.
You can view the DPO/DOS Policy on Gender Responsive United Nations Peacekeeping Operations to understand more about how gender equality and women, peace and security perspectives are integrated across all areas of our work including Security Sector Reform, Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration, Police and Military.
2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of UNSCR 1325. DPO views this as an opportunity to increase the visibility of the implementation of WPS commitments. DPO recognizes women leaders and women’s organizations as the true guardians of the WPS agenda and as core partners in the operationalizing the agenda. Read reflections from women leaders in Mali, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic to learn more about how DPO partners with them.
How do Gender Advisers support the implementation of gender equality and women, peace and security mandates?
To support this work Gender Advisers are deployed to all multi-dimensional peacekeeping missions to guarantee that a gender perspective is integrated across all peacekeeping functions. Gender Advisers and their teams work tirelessly to make sure that the voices, needs and priorities of women and girls are included in all functions and components of peacekeeping to promote their political participation and ensure that they are protected from sexual and gender-based violence.
The work of Gender Advisers includes:
- Providing strategic advice to senior leadership on advancing gender equality and the women, peace and security mandates and assisting senior leadership in monitoring progress and ensuring accountability and compliance by all personnel;
- Operationalizing, facilitating and coordinating the implementation of gender equality and women, peace and security mandates, as well as supporting all functions and components for the adequate delivery of results, in line with the mission’s mandate;
- Strengthening the capacity of all UN Peacekeeping personnel – civilian, police and military – to advance gender equality and the women, peace and security mandates;
Specifically, Gender Advisers facilitate the implementation of gender equality and women, peace and security mandates through:
- Leading and guiding a gendered contextual analysis that informs the various stages of peacekeeping planning, particularly in mission start-ups, strategic reviews, mandate renewals, transitions and drawdowns;
- Advocating and promoting the inclusion of women in political and electoral processes, in national governance and security sector structures, in peace processes, as oversight observers in ceasefire agreements and in conflict management and prevention;
- Coordinating efforts to promote a protective environment for women and girls from sexual and gender-based violence;
- Advocating for strengthening and developing gender responsive security, justice and corrections institutions.
Stories from the field
Read some examples of how peacekeepers are working to empower women and implement Security Council Resolution 1325.
- UNAMID In Darfur, the Gender Unit established UNSCR 1325 Committees to monitor how the state governments implement their commitments to Resolutions 1325 and make sure women’s experiences are included in peace and security initiatives.
- MINUSTAH In Haiti the mission radio station, MINUSTAH FM, has a weekly programme dedicated to gender issues, for example, during the electoral period, this programme focused on women’s participation in elections and encouraged women to vote.
- MONUSCO In the DR Congo, women’s civil society are often involved in protection mechanisms at the grassroots level, such as Local Protection Committees trying to increase community resilience.
- MINUSCA In Central African Republic, we identified the protection needs of female ex-combatants, and introduced initiatives that encouraged women to develop skills to generate their own income, preparing them for employment and keeping them away from taking up arms.
- MINUSMA In Mali, the Gender Unit supported women's participation in the drafting and dissemination of the Malian national reconciliation Charter.
- UNFICYP In Cyprus, the mission organized a series of round table discussions addressing violence against women and women’s participation in peacebuilding, bringing together women’s organizations from Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities.
- UNMIK In Kosovo, women from different ethnic backgrounds strengthened their political leadership skills as part of a joint initiative by the Mission and the European Union.
- UNMISS in South Sudan the mission organized subnational and national level forums for women leaders and organizations discussing the peace agreement and strategizing on how to ensure gender provisions are implemented.
- UNIFIL In Lebanon, our gender expert reviews quick impact projects to guarantee the inclusion of women specific projects.