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Overloaded and Underpaid—Women and the Role They Play in Feeding Urban South Africa

In this article, Robyn Bowden draws on her own research to discuss the ways in which South African women—who are responsible for providing food for the household—will be most impacted by one of this century’s biggest development challenges: urban food insecurity. Low-income, urban women in South Africa find innovative ways to balance the societal expectations of household caretaker with earning an income. Simply pushing women into the labor market isn’t enough to address urban food insecurity. Instead, the development and support of informal, social structures to ensure women’s access to resources is key.  Read more here.

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Text and context: Evaluating peace agreements for their ‘gender perspective’

Since 1990 peace agreements have grown in prominence as a tool to engage parties to a conflict, and UN Security Council Resolution 1325 calls for these agreements to adopt a ‘gender perspective. Christine Bell’s paper evaluates this aspect of SCR 1325 in part by examining the gender power relations that characterize the settlement. The paper also tallies all mentions of women in peace agreements from 1990-2015, finding very few examples of a robust ‘gender perspective’ and even fewer that implement it effectively. A series of recommendations are proposed to improve implementation of current UN resolutions, augment women’s participation in peace processes, enhance monitoring and enforcement, and ensure that the particularities of local women’s needs are addressed.   Read the full paper here.

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What Does the New Women, Peace, and Security Index Measure?

Anne Marie Goetz’s article discusses the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Index, launched in October by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and Peace Research Institute. The WPS Index innovatively draws from existing gender equality indices and perception- and attitudinal-based measures in order to rank countries on the following three areas: women’s inclusion, justice, and security. While the WPS Index is the first to include levels of organized violence as a measure of women’s security, it would greatly benefit from additional measures of conflict. Read the full article here.

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Women’s Peacebuilding Strategies Amidst Conflict: Lessons from Myanmar and Ukraine

This study conducted by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security employs literature reviews and interviews in order to better understand the nature of women’s contributions to peace processes in Ukraine and Myanmar. While both countries have adopted national plans to advance women’s participation in peace processes, women remain underrepresented in official peace processes. Women’s organizations employ a variety of strategies to further their contributions to peacebuilding initiatives, such as collaboration with international organizations, and local advocacy efforts. Read the full report here.

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Preventing Conflict, Transforming Justice, Securing the Peace: A Global Study on the Implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1325

This study examines the execution of United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security, as well as barriers to and priorities for its future implementation. Since it was passed in 2000, Resolution 1325 has contributed to the creation of additional protections for women in conflict, an increase in peace agreements that specifically reference women, and growth in the number of women in senior leadership at the UN. However, many of the improvements have been insufficient to address both ongoing needs and new threats to women’s rights. Detailed recommendations are provided for numerous issues, and a set of principles are proposed to guide global efforts toward continued implementation of the resolution. The study concludes with a call to view all these efforts through the lens of women in specific conflicts, and for the UN to take the lead in promoting global peace. Read the full article here.

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Indigenous Women & The Women, Peace and Security Agenda

Though indigenous women have successfully engaged in and made notable contributions to the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, there remain areas  in which their enhanced involvement is central. This UN Women research brief discusses two of these areas: justice for conflict-related violence, and the role of natural resources in conflict prevention and peacebuilding. Indigenous women’s involvement in reparation initiatives for gender- and sexual-based violence in conflict settings has proven successful, but enhancing their engagement is needed to maximize these efforts. Additionally, indigenous women should no longer be excluded from decision-making processes around natural resources in conflict-affected settings since they are key actors in securing these resources for their communities. Read the full article here.

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“Women nowadays do anything”: Women’s role in conflict, peace and security in Yemen

This article by Marie-Christine Heinze and Marwa Baabad draws from interview-based research by the Yemen Polling Center, Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient, and Saferworld to discuss the impact of conflict on women and the roles of women in conflict and peacebuilding in two regions of Yemen—Aden and Ibb. This research identifies common, general concerns in both regions with regard to the impact of conflict on women and families, including deleterious economic impacts, increased isolation of women, health consequences, and increased proliferation of arms. Additionally, women play a significant role in peacebuilding efforts in both areas. While generalities exist, it is important to remember that the relationship between women, conflict and peacebuilding is unique to each locale. As such, local, national and international institutions need to build on all women’s contributions to peacebuilding initiatives—even those that seem insignificant—in order to maximize the efficacy of these efforts. Read the full article here.

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Building Gender Equality in Ukraine

2013 protests against the Ukrainian government brought forth a new social awareness of women’s roles in conflict and peacekeeping initiatives that challenged the country’s historically patriarchal culture. This U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Policy Brief—“Building Gender Equality in Ukraine”—discusses how this shift in views on gender equality impacted the development of Ukraine’s first National Action Plan (NAP) on WPS, as well as the plan’s strengths and challenges. As a result, Ukraine’s national government has adopted international conventions on gender equality and elevated women to powerful governmental positions. Still, several factors—including insufficient data to track the progress of gender equality initiatives, and devolution to local governments that have neither the resources nor the interest in the NAP’s implementation—undermine these national efforts. Recommendations for the U.S. and international community to bolster the implementation of Ukraine’s NAP include funding for data collection on critical gender issues, and development of programs and humanitarian relief efforts that incorporate a gender equality framework. Read the full brief here.

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Leading the Way to a More Equal Peace: Senior Management and Gender Mainstreaming

In this policy brief, Dr. Louise Olsson examines ways in which senior leadership in United Nations peacekeeping operations can better implement their directive to mainstream promotion of gender equality. Senior management must help their teams consider gender in the interpretation of their peacekeeping mandate and move to incorporate gender-sensitive approaches into concrete documentation and tasks. Several context-specific examples are included to demonstrate how this may be accomplished. Finally, the Policy Brief considers the need for organizational capacity to implement relevant policies, the importance of national ownership and consultation of local women—both leaders and women’s groups—and how leadership can better use senior gender advisors and other expert support in their mission.  Read the full article here.

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Implementing the WPS agenda into Defense: concept or capability?

 

A Gender Advisor in the Australian Defence Force (ADF), Colonel Amanda Fielding discusses the ways in which Women, Peace and Security (WPS) can be met with less resistance and, therefore, most effectively implemented in military operations. WPS is “not just about equity, but capability” suggesting that the proper integration of women into military operations, such as the Afghan National Defense Security Forces, can enhance operational capabilities. Interestingly, —and despite concerns from WPS-purists—Fielding suggests a twist on the agenda, advocating for replacing the term “WPS” with “gender.” Recognizing the significance of culturally and socially defined roles of women and men may actually bolster policymakers’ acknowledgment of women’s issues and roles in conflict. Read more here.

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