Women, Peace, and Security Act Introduced: Ensuring Women a Seat at the Table

   •    August 2, 2012

Rep. Carnahan stands with two Libyan Women

Rep. Russ Carnahan (left), a leading member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Women, Peace, and Security Act’s primary champion, poses for a photo with Women Waging Peace Network members Alaa Murabit (center) and Amina Megheirbi (right) after discussing the political transition process in Libya. (Inclusive Security archives)

Yesterday, Reps. Russ Carnahan (D-MO) and Howard Berman (D-CA), as well as Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), introduced the bicameral, bipartisan Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2012 (H.R. 6255 / S. 3477). According to its champions, the act would increase the role of women in conflict prevention and resolution and advance the implementation of the US National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security launched by President Obama’s executive order in December 2011.

“For too long, women have been left out of peace negotiations—even though they are disproportionately affected by these conflicts,” Sen. Boxer said in a statement released by her office. “From Northern Ireland to Liberia, women have proven how valuable their contributions are to peace talks, conflict prevention and conflict mediation, so it is critical that we ensure that women are at the table.”

According to Hunt Alternatives, LLC* [PDF], the legislation would:

  • Encourage the US to work with international partners and eliminate barriers to women’s participation in high-stakes peace and security processes.
  • Mandate training for US defense, diplomatic, and development personnel on the value of women’s inclusion and strategies for achieving it.
  • Require the secretary of state to provide an annual report to Congress that evaluates US diplomatic and foreign assistance vis-à-vis women’s participation.

Thirty-six US civil society organizations—including Amnesty International USA, Vital Voices, and Women Thrive Worldwide—issued a statement [PDF] applauding the introduction of the WPS Act. In the legislation, the bill’s cosponsors cited civil society’s “invaluable contributions” and called on the Obama administration to consult with them to ensure the US NAP’s effective implementation.

Original Cosponsors


  • Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
  • Scott Brown (R-MA)
  • Bob Casey (D-PA)
  • Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
  • Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)
  • Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
  • Olympia Snowe (R-ME)

All of these senators sit on key committees, including Foreign Relations, Armed Services, Intelligence, and Appropriations.


  • Russ Carnahan (D-MO)
  • Howard Berman (D-CA)
  • John Conyers (D-MI)
  • Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
  • Barbara Lee (D-CA)
  • Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
  • Jim McDermott (D-WA)
  • Jim McGovern (D-MA)
  • Jim Moran (D-VA)
  • Chris Murphy (D-CT)
  • Chellie Pingree (D-ME)
  • Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
  • Jackie Speier (D-CA)
  • Niki Tsongas (D-MA)
  • Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)

As in the Senate, most of these representatives sit on key committees, including Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, Intelligence, Appropriations, and Judiciary.

*Hunt Alternatives LLC serves as the family office for Ambassador Swanee Hunt and is a separate legal entity from The Institute for Inclusive Security, a program of Hunt Alternatives.

 Travis Wheeler is a legislative adviser to Ambassador Hunt and an advocate at Inclusive Security.

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