Advancing Women as Peacemakers: From Jane Addams to Security Council Resolution 1325

Advancing Women as Peacemakers:
From Jane Addams to Security Council Resolution 1325



WILPF’s special initiative will raise the profile of women’s active engagement in conflict resolution and prevention. Our initiatives will focus on three areas:

1) Educating the Public about the History of Women Peacemakers. The development of an interactive online gallery bringing together documents stored at the New York City Public Library, the Swarthmore College Peace Collection and Hull House Museum in Chicago and providing a venue for visitors to share stories of women peacemakers they’ve known;

2) Women Today as Catalysts for Demilitarizing U.S. International Relations. Three interconnected public events (a train-the-trainers conference, an awards banquet, and a national speaking tour) drawing on the expertise of women peacemakers who are seasoned by hands-on experience in conflict areas across the world. These events are aimed at raising U.S. women’s awareness of themselves as the most important catalyst for de-militarizing our country’s international relations. We will invite, as partners in various events, sister organizations who have been instrumental in the implementation and ratification of SCR 1325;

3) A New Generation of Women Advocates for Sustainable Peace and Human Security at the United Nations. Redoubling our existing programming to train college women in advocacy inside the United Nations; we will be running two, week-long practica during the spring of 2010.

Throughout 2010, WILPF will act as a catalyst with this series of initiatives designed to educate U.S. residents about the interconnectedness of gender equality and peace, including the unique roles women can and have played in peace negotiations. We will celebrate the way SCR 1325 delegitimizes the use of military force and promotes nonviolent, civil society approaches to resolving conflict. We will also honor women who have used it to positively transform their communities. WILPF will involve a range of local, national and international partners to widen the reach and audience for each of the planned activities.

Background

Resolution (SCR) 1325
The passage of Resolution (SCR) 1325 on Women, Peace and Security by the Security Council of the United Nations was an historical landmark and the result of decades of struggle by women from around the world. With courage and determination, women insisted that we should have an equal role in bringing and maintaining peace in our global community. The flowering of our voices resulted in the adoption by consensus of U.N.’s most powerful decision- making body in October of 2000 to acknowledge and support women’s active engagement in conflict transformation on the international, national and community levels. However, the NGO Working Group which monitors the implementation of the resolution worldwide says that progress has been tragically slow. Sarah Taylor, the staff person for the Working Group reported to the Security Council in late 2008 that: “As regards peace processes, UNIFEM’s recent statistics are staggering and bear repeating. Since 2000, women averaged 7 percent of negotiators in five major U.N. peace processes.  Fewer than 3 percent of the signatories in 14 peace talks were women.” Because the U.S. exerts a disproportionate influence in international relations and possesses by far the largest military forces on the planet, U.S. adoption and compliance with the provisions of SCR 1325 can set the pace for SCR 1325 implementation everywhere. However, SCR 1325 remains largely unknown among the U.S. population because (1) there is a generally low level of understanding about the purposes and functioning of the United Nations overall and (2) U.S. residents are reluctant to think of their country as actively engaged in armed conflict or of themselves as being effected by U.S. military engagements and budget.

Project Implementation

WILPF is committed to the global implementation of SCR 1325, the education of the general public to its importance and the expansion of the role of women in peacemaking and conflict resolution. In order to reach our objectives, WILPF will engage a range of local, national and international partners to widen the reach and audience for each of the planned activities.

The outreach and publicity, as well as the actual programs undertaken, will raise the profile of SCR 1325, increase public awareness of women’s role in conflict transformation and prevention, and clarify the legacy of Jane Addams and other women Nobel Peace Prize winners for students of all ages. For maximum impact, this ambitious plan began its roll-out in early October 2009, and requires the WILPF U.S. Section to raise $128,000 beyond its operating budgets for 2009 and 2010. Implementation is only possible with the addition of a limited-term contract Educational Program Director, hired explicitly for the purpose of carrying out these activities.

Summary

It is critical in a world of ongoing conflict to bring resolution SCR 1325 into fuller play internationally; specifically encouraging the United States to utilize the expertise of women in peace negotiations and conflict resolution. To this end, greater numbers of women must be educated to engage in these significant negotiations, bringing their experiences and insights to the peace table. Women who are already active in brokering peace and ending conflicts offer an inestimable source of inspiration and knowledge to those who will follow in their path.

Implementation Plan

In accordance with actions approved by the WILPF Steering Committee for this project, fundraising for this project began in September 2009 Individual donors will be given the option of earmarking their gifts for specific pieces of the overall project budget, should they wish to do so. An initial $20,000 has been raised, so implementation of the project is proceeding with the distribution of outreach materials for two “2010 Practica in Advocacy at the United Nations” and the contracting of a grant writer; a contract web designer will also be hired.  Once an additional $40,000 has been raised, the JA1325 Working Group in collaboration with the WILPF Personnel Committee will begin recruiting for the Educational Program Director position. Other activities are already underway, such as the development of the website content, development of promotional materials for different pieces of the project, and inviting appropriate persons to join the project advisory committee.

WILPF members Lucy Knight, Robin Lloyd and Catia Confortini recently presented this project at the national Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA) conference in Milwaukee to a packed audience which received it very warmly. The PJSA is considering making women in armed conflict the theme of next year’s annual meeting. Harriet Alonso is editing a special volume of their journal, Peace and Change, devoted to the legacy of Jane Addams.

To get involved in organizing the Advancing Women as Peacemakers project, write to Robin Lloyd at robinlloyd@greenvalleymedia.org.

To make an earmarked, tax deductible donation to support the Advancing Women as Peacemakers project contact Laurie Belton at lbelton(at)wilpf.org or (617) 266-0999.

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