On August 31st, IPI together with the Governments of Sweden, South Africa and the United States cohosted a virtual event on “Ensuring Protection for Full and Equal Participation in Peacebuilding and Political Spaces.”
The Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda is more important than ever. The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed gender inequalities that are exacerbated in fragile and conflict situations. Political will and leadership are needed to connect the dots, particularly between women’s participation and protection needs. Protection concerns within the WPS Agenda are often framed around conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) and focus primarily on women’s victimization. There has been less attention paid to the specific forms of gender-based violence (GBV) and discrimination that women political activists, women peacebuilders, and women human rights defenders, particularly in conflict-affected environments, encounter. These gender-based threats and challenges, along with a lack of adequate protection measures, prevent women‘s full participation in political spaces, silence them, and create an extra burden of navigating risks to their safety and well-being. The lack of protection measures is often structural and span across issues of economic insecurity, lack of enforcement of legal protections, etc.
The WPS community cannot push for women’s visibility in public spaces without also making visible the threats and challenges women face when they fulfill these roles. This high-level event was an opportunity to discuss questions coming directly from women civil society activists for a conversation around the protection issues that prevent their full and equal participation in political spaces and processes.
The goal for this dialogue was to foster a robust partnership and bridge between civil society and policymaking circles, including with the UN Security Council.
H.E. Ms. Ann Linde, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden
H.E. Dr. Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa
T.H. Mrs. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Representative of the United States of America to the UN
Prof. Margaret Kobia, Ph.D., MGH, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Public Service and Gender, Kenya
Dr. Adam Lupel, IPI Vice President