US Boosts Women’s Participation in Peacemaking

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today said the United States of America is committed to boost women’s participation in making and keeping peace.

In her remarks at Women’s Breakfast in Germany, Ms. Clinton said the United States, under President Obama, launched the first-ever U.S. national action plan on women, peace, and security.

“We worked very hard on this, and we did it jointly, between the State Department and the Defense Department. Because, from our perspective, it was essential that we have a comprehensive road map for accelerating and institutionalizing efforts across the United States Government to advance women’s participation in peacemaking.” -Ms. Clinton

Kaltoum Adam Imam with one of her five children collects millet in a land rented by a community leader in Saluma Area, near El Fasher (North Darfur). She works with her sister Sadias (in background). Both are from Tarne village (some kilometers away) and they emigrated to Saluma due to security reasons. Twice a week, the African UnionUN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) organizes patrols to escort women, like Imam, who are farming and collecting firewood in rural areas. UN Photo/Albert Gonzalez Farran

Ms. Clinton stressed that there are not enough women at the table, not enough women’s voices being heard.

“Women are still largely shut out of the negotiations that seek to end conflicts, even though women and children are the primary victims of 21st century conflict.” -Ms. Clinton

She noted that in the last two decades, dozens of conflicts have persisted because peace efforts were unsuccessful. Talks broke down, agreements were broken, parties found it easier to fight than to negotiate.

“And far too often in these failed efforts women were marginalized, making up, by one estimate, just eight percent of all peace negotiators.” -Ms. Clinton

She said the U.S. national action plan represents a fundamentally different way for the United States to do business. She added that it is really trying to lay out a new approach in its diplomatic, military, and development support to women in areas of conflict.

“The plan will ensure that their perspectives and that considerations of gender are always part of how the United States approaches peace processes, conflict prevention, the protection of civilians, humanitarian assistance.” -Ms. Clinton

She pointed out that NATO itself has a robust effort, increasingly factoring women and their needs into key planning processes and training courses, and stationing experts throughout operational headquarters.

The Department of State also works closely with the Department of Defense on the Global Peace Operations Initiative, which has facilitated the training of more than 2,000 female peacekeepers worldwide.

Field research has found that when women participate in negotiations, especially in large numbers, men behave less aggressively and are more willing to compromise.

President Obama issued an executive order directing the implementation of the United States’ first-ever National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security on December 2011. The plan was developed with collaboration across the U.S. government, and with the help of NGOs and civil society groups that advocate the rights of women and girls around the world.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.