This year marks the 20th anniversary of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security that for the first time recognized the importance of women’s equal and full participation as active agents in establishing and maintaining peace and security worldwide. As research additionally emphasizes, peacebuilding and reconciliation processes are more successful and are more likely to last when women are meaningfully engaged.1Research from the Broadening Participation Project led by Thania Paffenholz. See O’Reilly, Ó Súilleabháin, and Paffenholz, “Reimagining Peacemaking.” Despite the international commitments and available evidence, women have generally not been involved in peace talks or peacebuilding strategies globally. In the current circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, women face more challenges to their participation in peacebuilding.
In 2019, on the margins of the 74th UN General Assembly, the Community of Democracies (CoD) launched a publication on “Engaging Women in Sustaining Peace: A Guide to Best Practices”. The publication took a global perspective, examining women’s roles in sustaining peace in Asia, Eurasia, Latin America, and Africa and identified good practices of women’s engagement in peacebuilding.
Continuing the conversation on the importance of women’s involvement in peace efforts, the Permanent Secretariat of the Community of Democracies (PSCD) conducted interviews with women leaders in the area of peacebuilding and peacekeeping to present their stories to the public and highlight the many achievements of women in building and sustaining peace, as well as challenges they face to their participation in these settings.
With this initiative, the PSCD aims to raise awareness about the contribution that women make across the world to preventing and resolving conflicts, and peacebuilding; inspiring future generations to actively engage women in sustaining peace.
- Research from the Broadening Participation Project led by Thania Paffenholz. See O’Reilly, Ó Súilleabháin, and Paffenholz, “Reimagining Peacemaking.”
“Albert Camus once wrote it is extremely rare for one to encounter a moment of grand revelation – once or twice at best in one’s entire life – but life is forever transformed when it happens. For those of us who yearn for gender-responsive peacebuilding and reconciliation, “Women in Peacebuilding: Stories” published by CoD today offers such rare moment of grand revelation with inspiring stories of women leaders on the forefront of peace and security. It is only befitting that CoD turns to their “stories” to continue the dialogue on women’s role as peace builders initiated by “Engaging Women in Sustaining Peace: A Guide to Best Practices”. Women are born storytellers as we grow up listening to stories of our mothers and grandmothers and learn how to draw strength from and provide strength to our loved ones through storytelling. Stories of women in this publication show that women peace builders do and can make a difference and the world needs to engage women more in conflict resolution, peacebuilding and peacekeeping to sustain peace.”
This initiative was developed with the generous support from Governing Council Member State Republic of Korea within the framework of the project “Engaging Women in Sustaining Peace”.
We would also like to express our gratitude to Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls who led the stories development.
The illustrations for this initiative have been made possible thanks to Gabriel Benderski and Janusz Bieliński. The graphic and web design was developed by the team of Leniva under the oversight of Janek Mońka.