Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Women and Peacebuilding: A Multilevel Perspective

Where are the Women in Global Governance and in peace processes?

Alanna O'Malley

The Chair launched this program to analyse the contribution of women as agents of peace across the five stages of a peace process: conflict prevention, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, conflict resolution, and the post-conflict environment.

The unanimous adoption of resolution 1325 by the United Nations Security Council on 31 October 2000 constituted a landmark achievement for gender equality and triggered the passing of 10 other resolutions on gender-sensitivity and gender-awareness in peace and security operations. However, victims of conflict continue to be overwhelmingly female and women’s agency is frequently neither recognised nor harnessed.

Drawing on the Secretary-General’s emphasis on the role of women in conflict prevention and Security Council Resolution 1325 the research theme investigates the role of women in building sustainable peace.

This program identifies and analyses the contribution of women and their participation in key areas of peace and conflict: conflict prevention, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and peace-making. The idea is to identify the obstacles facing women’s agency in peace processes around the world and analyse the ways in which their role has developed and changed over time. The research program draws on both military and civilian experiences to develop understandings of women as agents, rather than victims in peace-building processes.

  • What is the role of women in building sustainable peace?
  • What is the contribution of women as agents of peace in the UN system?
  • What innovations exist, both within and beyond the UN, that can help improve female participation in the process of peace?
  • How can the UN incentivize nations to improve gender equality in peace processes?
  • What are the impediments to implementing the women, peace and security agenda?

This program focuses on the contribution women have made to peacebuilding and conflict prevention processes as peacekeepers, mediators, and civil society actors, drawing on expertise and experience from military actors and civilians in this field to reflect on women as active agents of peace.

The ‘Women in Peacebuilding’ project is managed by the Chair of United Nations Studies in Peace and Justice, a position held by Professor Alanna O’Malley at Leiden University and The Hague University. If you have questions or wish to know more about the UN Studies Chair or the project please email unstudies@hum.leidenuniv.nl.

United Nations Security Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325)

The Security Council adopted resolution (S/RES/1325) on women and peace and security on 31 October 2000. The resolution reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction and stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security. Resolution 1325 urges all actors to increase the participation of women and incorporate gender perspectives in all United Nations peace and security work. It also calls on all parties to take special measures to protect women and girls from gender-based violence, particularly rape and other forms of sexual abuse, in situations of armed conflict. The resolution provides several important operational mandates, with implications for Member States and the entities of the United Nations system.

Report of the Secretary-General on women and peace and security – 2018

This report tracks the progress made on the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. The report focuses on the importance of women’s meaningful participation in conflict resolution and demonstrates the commitment of the Secretary General’s office to implementing the Women, Peace and Security agenda at the local and regional levels while ensuring that gender equality acts as a precursor to peaceful transitions and peacebuilding.

Women in International Security Netherlands (WIIS NL)

Dr. Vanessa Newby is the president of Women in International Security – The Netherlands (WIIS-NL) which is an affiliate of WIIS Global. WIIS-NL members include, professionals, civil servants, academics, NGOs, employees of international bodies, students and organizations, embassy staff, politicians and interested members of the general public. The Chapter’s base is Leiden University in The Hague.  For more information about the group's work visit the WIIS-NL website and follow their twitter page (@WIIS_NL).

Resolution 1325 and the women peace and security agenda are an integral part of the WIIS-NL research and policy engagement work.   The main goals of WIIS NL are to raise awareness of the WPS agenda and to build an inclusive community focused on assisting with the promotion of gender equality in security in the Netherlands and world-wide.

The Chair of UN studies

This Chair aims to increase the visibility and relevance of the UN to the general public in The Hague and beyond, capitalizing on The Hague a strategic centre for UN Studies.

This Chair is positioned halfway within the Institute of Security and Global Affairs of Leiden University's Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs and the Faculty of Governance, Law and Safety of The Hague University of Applied Sciences. The Chair is funded by the Municipality of The Hague as part of the ‘Van Aartsen honours program’ in the field of UN Studies.

Contact Professor Alanna O’Malley for specific questions about the Women in Peacebuilding Project at a.m.omalley@hum.leidenuniv.nl

Contact the Chair of UN Studies for general inquiries about the Chair’s work and projects at  unstudies@hum.leidenuniv.nl 

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