What is ‘Women, Peace and Security’? What does gender equality and women’s participation in peacebuilding have to do with international peace and security? And what role can Australian Parliamentarians play?
Gender experts from the Defence forces, the Civil Military Centre and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute joined parliamentarians to discuss Australia’s commitment to gender equality across its security operations.
Conflicts have devastating consequences, including in widening gaps between women and men. Women often have fewer resources to protect themselves and, with children, frequently make up the majority of displaced and refugee populations. War tactics such as sexual violence specifically target them. Though women have led peace movements and driven community recovery after conflict, they are almost completely missing from peace negotiations. Exclusion from reconstruction limits access to opportunities to recover, to gain justice for human rights abuses, and to participate in shaping reformed laws and public institutions.
In 2000, United Nations Security Resolution (1325) recognised that conflict affects women and men differently, and that women are often sidelined from peace building processes. The international community, including Australia, has since sought to introduce special measures to address these challenges, including funding gender advisers across the defence forces, integrating gender training among its security operations, consulting widely with civil society organisations to develop its National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, and engaging with other countries to support their development of similar measures.