Peace is On the Line: The Women, Peace and Security Agenda Must Be Fulfilled

We must keep the world’s women at the fore; our security at home is intricately linked to the equality and security of women around the world.


This piece was originally published in Ms. Magazine.

Job loss and financial hardship are the tip of the iceberg of issues affecting women and girls across the globe. Pictured: Sergeant Farida Yasmin of Dhaka Metropolitan Police of Bangladesh. (UN Women / Fahad Abdullah Kaizer)


You’ve heard it before: Women have been pushed to the brink by the impacts of the pandemic. In the United States alone, the pandemic could take women back 10 years in work place equality, and mothers are hit the hardest. Increased economic insecurity for women has led to what C. Nicole Mason, president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, is calling a “shecession.”


Job loss and financial hardship are the tip of the iceberg of issues affecting women and girls across the globe. In refugee camps in Kenya and Uganda, incidents of intimate partner violence, child marriage and female genital mutilation are on the rise, while girls education suffers. In Afghanistan, restrictions on movement have hindered women’s peace-building efforts in their communities and domestic violence has spiked. In conflict zones including Yemen and Syria maternal mortality will likely increase, as will incidents of gender based based violence in refugee camps.


In the coming years that it will take to recover from the coronavirus pandemic at home, we must keep the world’s women at the fore because our security at home is intricately linked to the equality and security of women around the world.


For example, the disempowerment of women at the household level is strongly associated with terrorism. As Dr. Valerie Hudson explained to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, “Train men to terrorize women, and you train them in terrorism.”


Conversely, “When women succeed—the world succeeds,” as eloquently noted by Congresswoman Lois Frankel (D-Fla.). This pithy statement embodies the spirit and purpose of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda.


Last month, the U.S. Civil Society Working Group for WPS convened legislators, practitioners and peacebuilding organizations—including the Alliance for Peacebuilding, Council on Foreign Relations, One Earth Future Foundation, the U.S. Institute of Peace, the Wilson Center and Women’s Action for New Directions—to discuss how the pandemic has affected peacebuilding efforts, how we can institute the principles of WPS within the U.S. context, and what we can learn from peacebuilders past and present to help solve the unique challenges of this era.


Read what they had to say in Ms. Magazine.

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