UN Resolution 1325 reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and post-conflict reconstruction. Most importantly, it stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts towards maintaining and promoting peace and security. When decisions affecting war and peace are made, women need to be sitting at the table.
Important milestones since the UN Security Council passed this resolution on 31 October 2000 include the following:
Barriers persist, however:
What should we do?
Societies are more peaceful and stable when women participate fully and gender equality is promoted. Fully implementing and strengthening the WPS agenda should therefore remain a priority of any and every multilateral engagement.
At the European level, member states should advocate for it to be anchored more strongly in missions of the Common Security and Defence Policy and the European Peace Facility. More concretely, women’s perspectives should guide the rebuilding of Ukraine and the framing of the future European security environment.
Generally, the implementation of Resolution 1325 is an important milestone. The representation of women at peace negotiations increases not only the probability of an agreement, but also sustainable peace. This is not because women negotiate better, but because they change the substance of the negotiations, bringing issues onto the agenda that men find less important. Or in the words of Ruth Bader Ginsberg: ‘Women belong in all places where decisions are being made’. In questions of war and peace, that should be self-evident.
Peace is one of the major achievements on the European continent after 1945, yet it is barely being mentioned anymore. When it is, it is all too often accompanied by a connotation of appeasement and defeatism. That shouldn’t be the case. Peace is one of the most precious achievements for humankind. But building it and sustaining it requires effort, ideas, political will, and perseverance. However far out of reach it may appear, peace should nonetheless serve as the long-term aim of politicians in Europe. This series of comments provides ideas for a new European Security environment able to provide the basis for a more peaceful future in the face of new challenges.