Women, Peace and Security: US State Dept takes a lead

Hillary ClintonYesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a new plan introduced by the U.S. government to help protect women and girls in conflict zones and ensure that peace processes include women.

This plan, coming on the heels of a historic speech by Secretary Clinton on LGBT rights as human rights,  is the first ever national action plan that aims to implement United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. It was accompanied by an Executive Order from the office of the President, which lays out an action plan for the implementation of this resolution.

UNSC Resolution 1325, often called “the women’s resolution,” recognizes that women and girls are particularly vulnerable during times of armed conflict, and that international agencies and the UN have to work together to protect them. It also asks for countries to commit to including women in the work of peace-building.

According to Amnesty International, in modern warfare, an estimated 90% of the casualties are civilians, and 75% of these are women and children. And despite these facts, only 1 in 13 participants in peace negotiations since 1992 have been women. Women have served as only 6% of negotiators to formalized peace talks and have never been appointed as chief mediators in UN-brokered talks.  UNSC Resolution 1325 asks countries to create a national action plan to specifically address these issues relating to women, peace and security.

I highly recommend reading the Executive Order, it’s an interesting and pretty impressive document that lays out a comprehensive approach to making serious change in the way we think about women and war. Now, it’s our job to advocate for it’s full and active implementation.

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5 Comments

  1. Posted December 20, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    That’s a weird statistic, that 75% of the civilian casualties of modern warfare are women and children.

    Women aren’t children; why are we bundling them together and implying that they are?

    The executive order looks good, I hope it is efficacious in reducing violence around the world!

  2. Posted December 20, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    While I think it’s great that something is being done to ameliorate women’s conditions in conflict zones it seems like an empty, tokenistic gesture on Clinton’s part. I know this is a radical idea but wouldn’t it be better for women if imperialist forces pulled out of all wars and stopped occupying other people’s territories? No war= fewer conflict zones, yeah? Also a bit rich considering she’s done nought to further women’s lib in the US or abroad. When running for president abortion wasn’t in her platform, when on the board of directors at Wal-Mart which has a history of discriminating against women she did nothing to defend the rights of its female employees, she supports wars in the middle east- women in those countries are just passive victims of violent Muslim men and need saving from civilised westerners in uniform after all & her view of liberating women is to put more in positions of power, in government and on the boards of corporations, which only benefits the ruling class- poor and working class women who are the majority get zero out of it. What Malalai Joya said about the situation in Afghanistan applies to everywhere. “The situation in Afghanistan & conditions of its ill-fated women will never change positively, as long as the warlords are not disarmed & BOTH the pro-US and anti-US terrorists are removed from the political scene…” If she’s serious about helping women in conflict zones she should support an immediate withdrawal from all conflicts.

    • Posted December 21, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      I agree – it is absolutely crazy how war oriented the U.S. is. We account for 43% of the world’s military spending – like 6 TIMES more than the next country, China. Some nice words to “help protect women in war zones”. U.S. troops and our mercenary forces and our proxy forces should get OUT of the war zones, end the wars, stop the insanity.

  3. Posted December 21, 2011 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Indeed, women aren’t children. I’m guessing they were lumped together to make a more shocking statistic. I read the Amnesty link but it didn’t provide any further clarification. So if we just divide the 75% into 3 groups equally, 25% women, 25% girls, 25% boys and then add the remaining 25% men, we find that deaths are pretty equally spread across the civilian population (90% of all casualties). The other 10% is nearly entirely men.

    But the point about the massive under representation of women in the peace process is no less valid.

    • Posted December 21, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      But your division is arbitrary and without any factual foundation. (There’s no reason to believe that 75% was 50% children + 25% women, or any other particular values.)

      That’s another part of why it’s so weird to lump women and children together: it means we have no way of telling what the individual values are. I tried doing a little research around the net to see if I could find the primary source, and turned up empty-handed.

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