Women can be powerful actors in achieving and sustaining peace in their communities and nations. Executive Order 13595, which instituted the US National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace and Security, along with the WPS Act of 2017 together outline the US commitment to promote the meaningful participation of women in peace processes and their political participation and leadership in fragile and transitional environments. The US should seize the opportunity offered by the WPS Act to strengthen the support of women globally and ultimately to ensure the security of its own citizens.

Child Marriage is largely overlooked in the United States’ peace and security efforts. The Women, Peace, and Security Act (WPS) of 2017 is an opportunity to address this gap by including efforts to end child marriage within the mandated strategy to promote women’s protection and full participation in peace and security efforts.

May 22, 2018: This policy brief outlines barriers to women’s participation in Syrian peace and stabilization, major challenges they face regarding protection in the war, the lack of aid and resources for recovery, and steps the United States can take to ensure they are included in future efforts.

May 2018: Although the American policy community views the Women, Peace, and Security Act and the International Violence against Women Act of 2017 as addressing all the myriad problems women face in conflict, these laws do not adequately deal with the particular and pervasive problem of violence against women in politics, nor has the legislation been interpreted as covering it.

This brief examines U.S. security assistance accounts aimed at security sector capacity building in order to determine whether the current U.S. strategy for security assistance aligns with U.S. priorities on Women, Peace, and Security. The findings identify gaps in policies and programming then recommends how the U.S. can bridge these gap to create inclusive and effective approaches to security assistance.

April 2018: This policy brief examines U.S. security assistance accounts aimed at security sector capacity building in order to determine whether the current U.S. strategy for security assistance aligns with U.S. obligations outlined in its National Action Plan for Women, Peace, and Security (U.S. NAP).2 It finds that the biggest gaps the U.S. faces in meeting its obligations under the NAP occur in countries receiving the largest amounts of security assistance.

January 2018: Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) is a policy framework that recognizes that peace and security is more sustainable when women are equal partners in the prevention of violent conflict, the delivery of relief and recovery efforts, and in the forging of lasting peace. WPS acknowledges that women face unique challenges and targeted violence during and after war, and that their equal and full participation is critical in peacebuilding and recovery efforts. Applications of this framework incorporate a gender analysis that identifies and addresses the different experiences and roles of women and men to promote gender equality and improve programming and policy outcomes.

August 21, 2017: Yemeni women are critical frontline actors in the conflict, risking their lives to bypass checkpoints in order to get food and medicine to besieged areas or to initiate local peace agreements. But unlike the warring parties, Yemeni civil society fights for the country’s future—and without weapons. Yemeni women and youth civil society movements are a critical part of the solution to this metastasizing conflict. They have a vision and commitment to an inclusive peace that will ultimately prove more sustainable than that which the long line of discredited politicians proffer. Many of the women have a depth of knowledge, practical expertise, and commitment to peaceful resolution of the conflict that the belligerent parties have yet to demonstrate. Yet despite eight UN Security Council resolutions and UK and U.S. commitments to support inclusion of women in such contexts, Yemeni women continue to be sidelined from formal processes. It is not just a matter of rights.

June 1, 2017: Revolution and war often lead to women’s empower­ment as they take on new roles, and Ukraine is no exception. Women played varied and active roles in protests against the Yanukovich government in Ukraine in 2013 and continued their civic engagement through Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2015 and the military operations in eastern Ukraine. In 2014, Ukraine adopted a National Action Plan (NAP) to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and to realize its provisions for ensuring women’s involvement in peace and security. If fully supported, the NAP can play a far­reaching role in building peace and the capacity for conflict resolution in Ukraine.

March 22, 2017: The World Health Organization and the World Bank estimate that 15 percent of the world’s population lives with some form of disability. Worldwide, the prevalence of disability is higher in women than men in both developed and developing countries—19.2 percent for women. These numbers are rising due to population aging, the spread of chronic diseases, and war and conflict. Disability is defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,” such as taking care of oneself, seeing, hearing, communicating, learning, or standing, among others. While women with disabilities are nominally recognized in U.N. resolutions on maintaining peace and security in conflict and post-conflict areas, a great deal more must be done to include them as meaningful participants in peacebuilding and conflict resolution processes and to provide them assistance in emergency situations.

January 10, 2017: Foremost among the U.S. president’s means for advancing international peace and security are UN peacekeeping operations. Yet as recent missions in South Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR) reveal, serious problems continue to plague peacekeeping: sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) by peacekeeping forces, failure to fulfill their mission mandate to protect civilians, and inadequate training on the tactical aspects of preventing violence against women.

January 5, 2017: Roughly 120 countries felt the effects of violent religious and ideological extremism in 2015. Much of the world’s concern has been directed at extremist groups by Wahhabi and Sala sects of Islam, which have spread extensively across the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and parts of Europe. But other forms of religious and ethno-nationalist extremism are also on the rise.

January 4, 2017: Governments — including the United States — increasingly recognize that war and conflict are too often borne on the bodies of women and girls. This is an egregious violation of their human rights, as well as of international law and various normative frameworks on peace, security and development.

December 31, 2016: This policy brief, by Joan Timoney of the Women’s Refugee Commission and Alexandra Arriaga of Futures Without Violence, sheds light on the climate of violence against women that has plagued the Northern Triangle of Central America, and how ongoing violence represents a threat to regional stability and prosperity. Additionally, it highlights why it is imperative that strategies embedded in the U.S. National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace and Security are fully integrated into the U.S. response to the crisis in Central America.

November 1, 2016: “The United States Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security (U.S. CSWG) was created in July 2010 to support U.S. Government efforts to ensure that women actively participate in advancing peace and security around the world. The development of a National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace, and Security in December 2011, updated in June 2016, is the cornerstone of these efforts.”

With the release of the U.S. National Action Plan (U.S. NAP) on Women, Peace and Security and President Obama’s signed Executive Order on making the NAP official U.S. policy on December 19, 2012, the U.S. government has placed the force of law behind its efforts to promote these goals. As a diverse coalition of organizations working on women, peace and security issues, the U.S. Civil Society Working Group is uniquely positioned to assist U.S. government actors in implementing the U.S. NAP.

CSWG Expert Statement

The following statement and recommendations were compiled by the U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace and Security. In publishing this statement the Working Group aims to assist the U.S. Government to turn declaratory policy into action and engender effective outcomes that bring peace, security and dignity to the lives of women and men in conflict and crisis settings.

1325 Fact Sheet

The U.S. Civil Society Working Group (CSWG) is a network of experts, NGOs, and academics with years of experience working on issues involving women, war, and peace. Inspired by and building upon the international Women, Peace, and Security agenda, the CSWG informs, promotes, facilitates, and monitors the meaningful implementation of the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security.