Feminism in Times of War and Peace

UN Women-produced documentary pays a tribute to the feminist movement in Colombia and is a testament of women’s commitment to a peaceful society

Date: 10 July 2017

In June 2016, the Government of Colombia signed the first historic cease-fire agreement with the FARC insurgency group. While this first peace accord was rejected in a referendum, a second agreement was ratified by the Colombian Congress in November of the same year, bringing an end to 52 years of armed conflict. Colombian women peacebuilders played a pivotal role in building consensus and bringing to light the needs and vulnerabilities of women and girls throughout the peace process.

Feminism in Times of War and Peace, a documentary produced by UN Women, tells the story of the game-changing work of Colombian women that ushered the country towards peace at last. The film captures the personal stories of UN Women Civil Society Advisory Group (CSAG) members in Colombia, who were participants in the peace process, and explores their lives as women and as gender equality advocates.

“We, the women of Colombia made it our cause to make a number of things happen; one of which was ensuring that the peace agreement’s wording and definitions included both men and women,” says Janneth Lozano, (former coordinator) of the Network of Popular Education among Women from Latin American and the Caribbean (REPEM), featured in the film. “The agreement recognizes how war impacts women’s lives differently. It recognizes how we have been victims of systematic exclusion that we have been denied the right to political participation, that we have been the victims of the worst acts of violence and of the deepest poverty and with little access to ownership of land.”

“The peace agreement clearly states: “sexual violence is not pardonable,” says Gloria Gil, from the National Women’s Network. “We see that statement as a guarantee for those women who were victims of rape and similar acts of violence during the conflict. Now women are claiming their right to know the truth. “Why were they raped, why were their husbands killed… what was the cause? And in some cases, to also know where their loved ones’ bodies are. This is the truth they are looking for.”

The advocacy efforts of the women peacebuilders resulted in the establishment of a dedicated gender sub-commission—an institution that went on to ensure that gender perspectives and women’s rights were included in all agreements.

“I think women’s role in achieving peace is very important,” says Alberto [Magda], a young feminist and women’s right defender. “We have been key players because we recognize the importance of sitting together, being together, and we believe it’s possible to make changes to this country and to achieve peace in spite of our differences.” 

UN Women’s Civil Society Advisory Groups include prominent advocates of gender equality and women’s rights in countries across the world. UN Women works to expand dialogue and collaboration with these leaders and frontline allies to promote gender equality.