Women as Peacebuilders


René Wadlow – TRANSCEND Media Service

27 Oct 2023 – 31 October is the anniversary of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325 (from 2000), which calls for “the full and equal participation of women in conflict prevention, peace processes and peace-building, thus creating opportunities for women to become fully involved in governance and leadership.”  This historic UNSC resolution provides a mandate to incorporate gender perspectives in all areas of peace support.

However, since 2000 there have been no radical changes in U.N. or governmental practices as a result of Resolution 1325, although the goal has been articulated and accepted.

As U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrote in his 2023 Report on Women, Peace, and Security, “Despite our best efforts, women represented just sixteen percent of negotiators or delegates in the peace processes led, or co-led, by the United Nations.”  Women were almost completely missing from peace processes in situations monitored by the U.N. Security Council such as Ethiopia, Sudan, Libya, and Myanmar.

There has been a growing awareness that women are not just victims in violent armed conflicts and wars – ‘collateral damage’ – but are chosen targets.  Recent conflicts have served to bring rape and other sexual atrocities as deliberate tools of war to the forefront of international attention.  Such violations must be properly documented; the perpetrators brought to justice; and victims provided with redress.

However, women should not only be seen as victims of war.  They are often significantly involved in taking initiatives to promote peace.  Some writers have stressed the essential link between women, motherhood and non-violence, arguing that those in mothering work have distinct motives for rejecting war which run in tandem with their ability to resolve conflicts non-violently.  Others reject this position of a gender bias toward peace and stress rather that the same continuum of  nonviolence to violence is found among women as among men.

In practice, it is never all women nor all men who are involved in peace-making efforts.  Sometimes, it is only a few persons, especially at the start of peace-making efforts.  The basic question is how best to use the talents, energies, and networks of both women and men for efforts at conflict resolution.

31 October can serve as a day of rededication to inclusive processes for peacebuilding.


René Wadlow is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. He is President of the Association of World Citizens, an international peace organization with consultative status with ECOSOC, the United Nations organ facilitating international cooperation and problem-solving in economic and social issues, and editor of Transnational Perspectives.

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 30 Oct 2023.

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