The Women, Peace, and Security Act and the March Toward Inclusion

   •    January 22, 2014

Senator Barbara Boxer (D- CA) meets with Swanee Hunt and a delegation of Afghan leaders. The Women, Peace, and Security Act calls for the US to work with international partners to reduce barriers to women’s participation in peace and security processes.

From this week’s Geneva II talks on Syria to the ongoing South Sudan peace negotiations, women continue to call on the US and the international community to play a greater role in advocating for their meaningful inclusion and participation in negotiations.

While there is progress, much work remains. Last week, US Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) reintroduced the bipartisan Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2014 (S. 1942). In crafting this important piece of legislation, Sens. Boxer and Kirk join champions in the House—Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Mike Honda (D-CA), and Niki Tsongas (D-MA)—who reintroduced the bill in that chamber last year.

Inclusive Security Action strongly advocated for this legislation, which is a significant step toward building more effective peace and security processes. The need for the bill is clear, as research and practice indicate that when a broad range of stakeholders are excluded, negotiations are less likely to result in lasting stability.

The reintroduction of the Women, Peace, and Security Act falls two years after President Obama announced the first-ever US National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace, and Security. The plan mandates a substantive role for women in peace processes supported or facilitated by the US.

The Women, Peace, and Security Act would advance implementation of the National Action Plan by:

  • Encouraging the US to work with international partners to eliminate barriers to women’s participation in peace and security processes.
  • Mandating training for US defense, diplomatic, and development personnel on the value of women’s inclusion and strategies for achieving it.
  • Requiring 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-nine US civil society organizations have joined together to support the Women, Peace, and Security Act. A full description of the bill and list of these organizations can be found here.

Inclusive Security Action encourages you to reach out to your representative and senators to urge them to cosponsor the Women, Peace, and Security Act today! Call the Capitol switchboard at 202.224.3121 to be connected to their offices. By taking this small step, you can make a big difference in creating and maintaining peace around the globe.

Allison Peters is a Policy Adviser at Inclusive Security Action, where she shapes the organization’s policy strategies and outreach initiatives, with a particular focus on the US Congress.

Inclusive Security Action partners with The Institute for Inclusive Security to increase the participation of all stakeholders—particularly women—in preventing, resolving, and rebuilding after deadly conflict.

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