Womens Role in Peace and Security

Women's Role in Peace and Security

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The Issue

The Security Council convened on 30 November 2012 an Open Debate on women and peace and security with a focus on “the Role of Women’s Civil Society Organizations in Contributing to the Prevention and Resolution of Armed Conflict and Peacebuilding”.

The Open Debate marked an opportunity to reflect on the progress made and to accelerate action on the implementation of the Security Council’s historic resolution 1325 (2000) and related commitments and guiding documents on women and peace and security, one of UN Women’s priority areas of work.

The ground-breaking Security Council Resolution 1325, which was passed in the year 2000, is the first to link women’s experiences of conflict to the international peace and security agenda, focusing attention on the disproportionate impact of conflict on women, and calling for women’s engagement in conflict resolution and peacebuilding. It recognized the under-valued and under-utilized contributions women make to conflict prevention, peacekeeping, conflict resolution and securing peace. It also stressed the importance of women’s equal and full participation as active agents in peace and security.

Twelve years on, changes in peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding are clear. The protection of women and girls from sexual and gender-based violence is recognized as a priority challenge. Women’s peace coalitions have grown in strength.

Transitional justice mechanisms are increasingly responding to war crimes against women with specific arrangements to protect women witnesses. Post-conflict needs assessments, post-conflict planning processes and financing frameworks have in some cases acknowledged the need to put women’s participation and concerns at the center of recovery. While these changes have been critical, much more remains to be done.

UN Women’s efforts

In collaboration with partners, UN Women is currently supporting implementation of women, peace and security commitments in at least 37 countries. This includes support for strengthening women’s peace coalitions and to help prepare them for engagement in peace processes; work with peacekeepers to help detect and prevent conflict-related sexual violence; support to build justice and security institutions that protect women and girls from violence and discrimination; and initiatives to promote public services that respond to women’s needs, ensure women’s access to economic opportunities, and build women’s engagement in public decision-making at national and local levels.

Speeches and statements

  • UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet’s speech at the Open Debate of Security Council on Women and Peace and Security. New York, 30 November 2012. Read more»
  • Statement by the President of the Security Council, at the Open Debate of Security Council on Women and Peace and Security. New York, 30 November 2012. (Originally scheduled for 31 October 2012, but postponed due to Hurricane Sandy) Read more»
  • UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet’s remarks at the High Level Side Event on “Preventing Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes in Conflict and Securing Justice for Survivors.” New York, 25 September 2012. Read more»
  • Opening remarks by Ms. Lakshmi Puri, Deputy Executive Director, UN Women, at the panel discussion titled “Securing Justice for Women in Post-Conflict States,” held at UN Headquarters. New York, 2 May 2011. Read more»
  • In an address at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute, UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet announced a new initiative to boost women’s roles in conflict resolution with an international roster of gender experts who can be rapidly deployed. Pennsylvania, 5 April 2011. Read more»


Report of the Secretary-General on Women and Peace and Security (S/2012/732)

The new report of the UN Secretary-General provides an overview of progress since last year in implementing resolution 1325 (2000) across four action areas: prevention, participation, protection and relief and recovery. The report includes updates on measures taken to improve coordination and accountability for women, peace and security, and highlights best practice examples as well as obstacles and challenges to women’s participation and representation in efforts to prevent and resolve conflict. The report shows that across regions there are a growing number of inspiring examples of women, peace and security in action but overall progress remains slow and uneven.

Sourcebook on Women, Peace and Security

SourcebookThis is a collection of cutting-edge resources intended to raise awareness, provoke policy, support training, advocacy and share lessons learned on implementation of the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda, including the UN Security Council resolution 1325 and other women and peace and security resolutions (1820, 1888, 1889 and 1960). This collection is expected to strengthen the knowledge base on women and peace and security-related issues and to provide practitioners, advocates and policy-makers with practical guidance.

For resolutions and other guiding documents, click here »


The Security Council convened an Open Debate on women and peace and security on 30 November with a focus on “the Role of Women’s Civil Society Organizations in Contributing to the Prevention and Resolution of Armed Conflict and Peacebuilding.”

The Open Debate provided an opportunity to Security Council members to hear views from Member States, the United Nations system and civil society on progress in the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) and related commitments on women and peace and security. Watch the archived webcast of the Open Debate »

A range of side events and activities was organized by Member States, regional organizations, civil society and United Nations entities in connection to the Open Debate to provide opportunities for stakeholders across regions to share experiences, good practices and lessons learned on the implementation of commitments on women and peace and security.

Archived webcast

UN Security Council Open Debate on Women Peace and Security ( Part 1)

Part 2

Part 3

Feature Stories

Radio broadcasters spread messages of peace in Darfur
Radio broadcasters spread messages of peace in Darfur UN Women provides a two-day training course for journalists in Khartoum on gender mainstreaming and other skills, to support  the efforts of women like Intisar Ginded, whose radio show Women and Society informs and spreads seeds of hope. Read more»

Setting the scene of sexual violence in armed conflict: using audio-visual tools to train UN peacekeepers to respond
Setting the scene of sexual violence in armed conflictA new scenario-based training programme by UN Women and the DPKO is teaching troops and officers to better understand, prevent and respond to conflict-related sexual violence. Read more»

Women’s Situation Room aims to prevent conflict and ensure peaceful elections in Sierra Leone
Women’s Situation RoomWith local, parliamentary and presidential elections taking place on 17 November, this UN Women-funded initiative provides a safe space for advocacy, mediation and observation throughout the electoral process. Read more»

Planting the seeds of healing: moving from words to actions to restore the rights of female survivors in Colombia
Planting the seeds of healingMayerlis Angarita is using the power of words and the recovery of collective memory as a healing mechanism for the ravages induced by armed conflict and as a tool to raise awareness of women’s rights. Read more»

Women of Mali call for increased protection and involvement in resolving the conflict
Women of MaliUN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson recently visited Mali where he met with 40 female leaders supported by UN Women to hear their stories and receive their proposals and demands aimed at helping resolve the conflict. Read more»

Young Palestinian activists carry out their role in bringing about peace
Young Palestinian activists carry out their roleA journalist and political activist in the Occupied Palestinian Territories speak at an Open Day event on the duty of younger generations to step up and encourage change as active participants in the peace process. Read more»

Forging a new path: Women at the peace tables in Myanmar
Forging a new pathA training course by UN Women in Yangon this week brings together 20 women from seven different ethnic groups to discuss women’s role in peacebuilding and help them claim their space in the 15 peace processes currently underway. Read more»

Zimbabwean women police officers make inroads as members of the ‘blue berets’
Zimbabwean women police officersZimbabwe is one of the few countries in Africa where the female contingent of peacekeepers from the police force is near 20 per cent. Four female peacekeepers there recount their success and challenges. Read more»

Haiti: Efforts at the local level to improve Women’s Access to Justice and Security
Haiti: Efforts at the local levelJustice for girls and women survivors of gender-based violence can be found at a centre supported by UN Women in the Haitian village of Le Borgne. Survivors, once alone, are now taken for medical help and legal advice. Read more»

From conflict resolution to prevention: connecting Peace Huts to the police in Liberia
From conflict resolution to preventionWomen and girls across the West African country of Liberia, hit hard by a deadly civil war, come together in Peace Huts to mediate and resolve community disputes. Read more»

Truth, justice and reparation for women survivors of Colombia’s battles
Truth, justice and reparation for women survivorsWomen in Colombia face a fairer future with a new law that delivers justice and compensation for crimes committed during armed conflict and representation from officials trained in dealing with sexual and gender-based violence. Read more»

Q&A with peacekeeper Sahely Ferdous, Superintendent in the Bangladesh Formed Police Unit
Q&A with peacekeeper Sahely FerdousThe United Nations Bangladeshi peacekeeping contingent in Haiti is entirely composed of women. One of its officers explains how they are contributing to the fight against gender-based discrimination and violence in the country. Read more»

Kenya moves to increase women in its police force, and improve their work environments
Kenya moves to increase women in its police forceKenya’s security and legal system got a boost as a newly established National Women’s Police Association provides a forum for training women officers and increasing awareness about gender-sensitive issues. Read more»

News & Media

UN Women hails historic work done by Special Court for Sierra Leone strengthening women’s access to justice

Women should be an integral part of any peace process, says Michelle Bachelet during her visit to Colombia

UN Women co-hosts first of its kind training symposium on sexual and gender-based violence

Inclusion of Protections for Women and Girls Central to Transition Security Sector Framework for Afghanistan

Videos & Photos

Side by side: Women, Peace and Security
Jointly developed by the Australian Civil-Military Centre and UN Women to highlight the role of women in peace and security worldwide, “Side by Side: Women, Peace and Security” explores how the international community has met and can meet its commitments regarding women and conflict. The 30-minute video features an introduction by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as well as interviews with Ms. Bachelet and other United Nations personnel, among them peacekeepers, mediators, humanitarian actors, policy-makers and survivors of conflict.

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on investigating sexual and gender-based crimes

UN Women sat down with Fatou Bensouda, the newly appointed Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, on her plans to strengthen international prosecutions of sexual and gender-based crimes. In early September 2012, UN Women co-hosted a symposium on using international prosecutions to strengthen gender justice with Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice, as well as a week-long training on “Investigating Cases of Sexual and Gender-based Violence as International Crimes.”

Criminal investigations and prosecutions of gender-based crimes

ICTY Prosecutor Max Marcus on criminal investigations and prosecutions of gender-based crimes focuses on how far the international community has come in that process and where we need to go. Among other things, Ms. Marcus was the first gender expert seconded by UN Women (then UNIFEM) to an international Commission of Inquiry in Guinea. Earlier this year she participated in a symposium and a training, both co-hosted by UN Women, in The Hague that emphasized how to build on past experiences to bolster the investigations and prosecutions of gender crimes in the future.


Preventing Sexual Violence and Gender-based Crimes in Conflict and Securing Justice for Survivors
Against the backdrop of the 67th UN General Assembly, UN Women, the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on Sexual Violence in Conflict, the United Kingdom Foreign Secretary, and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict hosted a high-level event on Preventing Sexual Violence and Gender-based Crimes in Conflict and Securing Justice for Survivors.

Join the conversation

Join the conversation on Twitter [EN; SP; FR] and Facebook [EN; SP; FR], and share your thoughts about the 12th anniversary of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security using the hashtags #res1325 and #womenpeacesecurity.