Why Women Peace And Security Matters Criminology Essay

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Women and girls are disproportionately affected by armed conflict, yet they are often grossly under-represented in formal conflict prevention, resolution, and peacebuilding processes.

Track 1, 2 and 3 Peace Processes

Common peace processes can be categorised into three streams: track 1, 2 and 3. This division not only signals that different levels of peace negotiation are occurring, but also that who you are may determine which levels of decision-making you will have access to. For example, women are often active in track 2 and 3 processes, but are under-represented in track 1.

Track 1 Processes: These are high-level negotiations that cover political, economic and military dimensions of peace processes. For example, deployments of military forces to deter war, the use of economic sanctions, and post-conflict constitutional reform. These negotiations are led by diplomats, government or opposition leaders, and high-ranking military officials. Actors participating in this space also have the capacity to access significant financial resources to support their decisions.

Track 2 Processes: This stream

When track 1 negotiations stall, political leaders sometimes look to actors at this level to provide them with advice.

Target influential actors within civil society, including business, institutional, academic, and religious leaders. These actors are positioned to provide advice to government officials, as well as to amplify concerns of grassroots communities. Track II processes often provide feedback on proposals, suggest agenda items overlooked by political leaders, or test innovative approaches before they are introduced at the Track I level. When official negotiations stall, organizations with vertical and horizontal reach into society - such as women's groups, religious networks, and business associations - may continue with dialogues so that the momentum for peace can move forward.

Track 3 Processes: Engage locally influential grassroots actors or the public at large. People involved in these processes typically have the greatest direct exposure to the opposing party in a conflict, the largest involvement with the military (as both combatants and civilians), and the least access to policymakers.

Track 3 engagement is often needed for the long-term success of peace processes, as public acceptance of an agreement is crucial for its on-the-ground implementation."

While not all organisation use these terms, they are useful to

Source: USAID (2009) Support Peace Processes: A Toolkit of Development Intervention

When women and their voices are represented in formal peace negotiations, peace agreements are more likely to cover wider human security concerns such as access to land, credit education and training, employment. Peace agreements are also unlikely to include clauses guaranteeing indemnity for acts of sexual violence committed during conflict.

The agency of women and girls must be recognised, and gender concerns placed front and centre of peace and security discourses to ensure sustainable peace processes.

A gendered peace and security agenda recognises that:

Women are agents of peace - evidenced by their active participation in track 2 & 3 peace processes therefore their inclusion in all aspects of peace building, conflict prevention and post conflict reconstruction can draw attention to critical economic, social, political and cultural issues that are often the root causes of conflict

Deeply held patriarchal beliefs perpetuate gender inequality and is the root cause of sexual and gender-based violence. Sustainable peace processes must therefore address fundamental imbalances in power by challenging oppressive gender norms.

Sex and Gender: what's the difference?

Sex: refers to the biological differences between men and women (anatomy, hormones and chromosomes)

Gender: refers to socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities and attributes which determines our understanding of masculinity and femininity. The question of gender difference and the construction of masculine and feminine are not universal but culturally specific and strongly influenced by other factors such as ethnicity, race and class.

Gender, unlike sex, is not something innate or biological, but something created and maintained by our societies, through our repetition of socially constructed identities and roles. Gender, therefore, is an acquired identity that is learned, changes over time and varies within and across cultures. In all societies, people are expected to develop 'masculine' or 'feminine' character traits and behave in ways appropriate to their gender. Deviance from gender roles is predominately considered socially unacceptable and can result in violent consequences.

Human Security vs. National Security

The concept of human security emerged as a challenge to the traditional ideas of security. Traditional approaches to security prioritise the nation state's right and prerogative to defend itself from external threats. On the other hand, human security is a people centred approach; it focuses on the protection and empowerment of individuals. Human security also expands the scope of what constitutes a security threats to address ordinary people's sources of insecurity, such as economic, food, health and environmental security. While traditional approaches focus on defending state's physical and political integrity from external threats as a way to ensure global stability, human security views individual security as essential for national, regional and global stability.

The concept of human security underpins the Security Council Resolutions (SCR) that address issues on women, peace and security. SCR1325, which is the platform for subsequent SCRs on women, peace and security (see page x), explicitly redefines the term 'people' within the definition of human security to be inclusive of women and gender issues. By including gender within the discourse of human security, SCRs not only emphases women's fundamental right to equal participation and involvement in the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, but also acknowledge that gender has a significant influence on conflict and the success of peacebuilding initiatives.

Women and Conflict Prevention

Women have a vital role to play in conflict prevention. The participation of women and the incorporation of a gender perspective are crucial to preventing the emergence, spread and re-emergence of violent conflict. Women are increasingly active in both operational and structural prevention of conflict. Operational prevention refers to short term, targeted mechanisms to contain or reverse escalation during a crisis - and particularly in early warning and response efforts. In many cases, women are working to prevent violence before it occurs by undertaking such activities as: facilitating dialogue and awareness raising in communities, directly engaging potentially violent actors, protesting unconstitutional governmental actions, or developing capacity for early warning. For example, women's organisations in Fiji train local leaders to recognise early warning signs of conflict and are publicly monitoring the political and socio-economic life in the country. In 2000, women non-violently intervened to protest a civilian-led coup in 2000 that saw the prime minister and 30 others held hostage for 56 days. Women mobilised across ethnic lines and party affiliations, denouncing the coup and gathering for a daily candlelight vigil of hope. Since the crisis ended in 2001, women in Fiji have been conducting a broad range of activities to prevent a return to violence, and to ensure continuance on the path towards democracy and peace.

Traditionally, women have been much more active in structural prevention of conflict, which addresses long-term issues to reduce the potential for violence. This can include addressing human rights, justice, good governance, development and human security. Globally, many women are attempting to prevent violence and consolidate sustainable peace by designing and implementing programs nationally and locally in these areas. There are numerous examples of women in civil society and government enhancing security, increasing transparency and accountability, ending corruption and fostering reconciliation. One such example is women's organisations in Bougainville who, with the support of international groups, have partnered with men and national security institutions to help prevent the re-emergence of violence which followed armed conflict between 1989 and 1998 and left 15000 people dead. Women have provided training to male former combatants to assist their transition to civilian life, and have included sensitisation to women's rights. Women have also recruited and trained men that are then dispatched to the north parts of the country to educate other combatants on women's rights and peaceful resolution of conflict using theatre and drama. Another women's development agency partners with the police force to provide gender training for recruits, including conducting awareness-raising and workshops on the negative impacts of violence against women and child in their communities. Research suggests that women peace builders not only advance women's rights but lead to more effective programs linked to sustainable peace.

Several methods have been suggested to increase the involvement of women in conflict-prevention. Firstly, it is imperative to incorporate data on women in the systematic collection of data and information in all conflict areas. Secondly, a report presented to the United Nations on women's participation in conflict prevention (what report? Adeline) suggested that action should be taken towards ensuring women acquire seats in official and observer roles, in prevention management committees. Thirdly, women should be included in mediation processes as this forms one of the strongest and most effective methods of conflict prevention. Reports from Haiti, Darfur, and the Congo show that inclusion of women in protection missions, patrols and community policing significantly reduces the number of gender based abuses. Fourthly, women must be included in the international, national, and local level warning systems that communicate the emergence of conflict or violence. These systems should incorporate a gender based approach because it is women who serve as critical agents in the development of long lasting conflict prevention strategies. Finally, the Security Council should stress the importance of equal and full participation of all genders, especially women, in decision-making in relation to conflict prevention.

Women and Conflict

Armed conflict continues to occur in many parts of the world and has escalated over the past decade. Conflict increasingly involves citizens, not just combatants. Civilians constituted 90 per cent of casualties in conflicts during the 1990s, compared to only 5 per cent during the First World War. During conflict all civilians may be subject to high level violence and trauma, such as bombings, famines, mass executions, torture, arbitrary arrest and ethnic cleansing. However women suffer the impacts of conflict disproportionately, due to existing gender inequalities, a lack of status in society, and a lack of structures in place to protect them.

During conflict, women are frequently the target of specific forms of gender-based violence, which is often an extension of pre-existing gender discrimination. Gender-based, especially sexual violence, has increasingly become weapons of warfare. For example, rape, sexual slavery, forced impregnation and abortion, trafficking and the intentional spread of sexually transmitted infections increasingly constitute elements of contemporary conflict.

Case Study: women in the Darfur conflict

Global coverage of the war in Darfur (2003 - 2010) brought widespread attention to the use of mass rape as a tool of war. The war was characterised by violence which systematically and specifically targeted women; Darfur was a conflict where women's bodies and rights formed a significant part of the battleground. One source of police recorded rapes across Sudan during 2008 put the number at 1189, but this would be a conservative estimate of the total due to low reporting. (do we want to put something in here about how cultural attitudes affect the reporting of sexual violence during conflict?)

'War-rape' is a tool of war, degrading women to shame the male enemy and prove the potency of attackers, as well as to humiliate, punish, control, inflict fear and displace women and their communities. In the case of Darfur, war-rape was used to corrupt an ethnic community and so has been included as a form of genocide. 

Post conflict, Sudan is still not free from gender-based violence. Rape is still used to intimidate communities. Raped women face stigmatisation and a compromised future, with many denied martial partners by both the physical repercussions and the shame of their assault.  Furthermore, compensation is provided, not to the victim, but to families, meaning many victims cannot access it. 


UN  Sexual Violence Against Children and Rape Statistics


Women are not only victims of armed conflict; in some cases they also active agents and participants. They may actively engage in violence due to commitments to the political, religious or economic agendas of conflict parties, or they may be manipulated into participating in violence through propaganda, intimidation or forced recruitment. Women also support war through non-combatant roles both directly, such as cooking and cleaning for soldiers or undertaking logistical tasks; and indirectly, such as developing and disseminating propaganda and encouraging their children, family members and others to participate in conflict.

Conflicts sometimes give women opportunities to challenge and redefine gender roles, creating space for a temporary redefinition of gender relations, which may lead to increased power, status and skills for women. The absence of men may also permit women to assume roles and responsibilities that are usually the prerogative of men. This can have both positive and negative consequences for women. While some women may gain more decision making power, enter the formal economy, and gain rights to own land and goods, increased family and community responsibilities means that they are burdened by an ever increasing workload. . Unfortunately, gains made during conflict are mostly short-lived, with societies usually reinstating traditional gender roles post-conflict.

Women and Post-Conflict Reconstruction

The gendered nature of conflict leads to post-conflict situations where women face particular challenges. For example, women usually outnumber men in the aftermath of conflict, increasing their burden in the post-conflict reconstruction of their communities. Women are also often additionally burdened with the physical, emotional and psychological repercussions of gender-based violence experienced during conflict.

Case Study: Child Soldiers in Sierra Leone

In Sierra Leone, an estimated 12000 girl soldiers were present within all rebel and pro-government armed forces during the 1991-2002 war. They were involved as cooks, fighters, domestic labourers, 'wives', and food producers. Despite the large numbers of girls and women in these armed forces, demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration programs (DDR) have tended to focus on male combatants, overlooking the need for girls to participate in rehabilitation programs.

DDR programs in Sierra Leone actively excluded girl soldiers through their processes and institutional structures. For example, they required participants to submit a weapon in order to access DDR programs, which excluded girls who may not have had a combatant role or did not have a weapon at the end of the conflict.

DDR sites lacked the resources to cater for women, for example specific medical supplies, and women who did attend DDR programs often faced the stigma of having been a 'wife' or having to perform sexual services for the armed forces. Young women and girls who returned to their communities pregnant or with small children were often discriminated against.

Better inclusion of women in the post-conflict reconstruction of Sierra Leone could have overcome some of these issues. For example, a better understanding of the needs and situation of women and girls would have assisted their inclusion in DDR programs, as would having more women present at DDR sites in leadership roles. Programs including child-care arrangements would have enabled young mothers who were soldiers to complete schooling or training, enabling them to better rebuild their lives after the conflict.

Often post-conflict reconstruction reinstates and accentuates traditional gender roles. Post-conflict and nation-building processes often aim to be gender-neutral, but instead limit women to the gendered spaces of victimhood or the domestic realm of mothers and caregivers. A focus solely on protecting women and ending discrimination, rather than involving them in the post-conflict processes, sustains the view of women as victims rather than active agents.

Gender-blind, gender neutral, gender specific and gender redistributive

These terms are drawn from the NailaKabeer's Social Relations Approach to gender analysis in program and policy development. The aim of this approach is to address gender relations of power within a variety of settings. For example, state institutions, the market, the community and the family. Policies are classified as either:

Gender-blind: These policies do not account for existing gender inequalities or their impact on women's access to resources or formal decision making processes. As these policies rely on existing power relations, they often exclude women or exacerbate inequality.

Gender neutral: These policies take account of gender differences and use this knowledge to respond to the 'practical' needs of both men and women. However, the focus is on effective delivery. They do not question the differing roles and responsibilities expected of men and women.

Gender specific: These policies recognise that existing gender inequality has produced specific challenges for women. They involve targeted intervention to respond to gender specific needs, but are not designed to alter the distribution of resources, responsibilities, or power. For example, a gender specific policy may introduce additional measures to protect women and girls from sexual assault during conflict.

Gender redistributive: These policies focus on the transformation of existing relations of power. The aim is to disrupt existing gender inequality, including the differences in social status and resource access that have hindered women's empowerment. Should I include an example

These last three categories are broadly described as gender aware.

Women are often not recognised as agents of change and are frequently not considered as 'significant players' in post-conflict processes. As such, women are often absent from many post-conflict negotiations and justice processes. Four main areas of post-conflict procedures have been identified as needing to include women. These are: the immersion of gender within state-building, the need for women's participation, the adoption of domestic legislation as a means to foster gender equality, and campaigning to end the culture of impunity regarding sexual violence. (nb. May need to paraphrase more to make sure this is not a direct quote)

Case Study: Bosnia-Herzegovina

As in Northern Ireland and Burundi, post-conflict reconstruction in Bosnia-Herzegovina made an effort to engage with the issues surrounding women, peace and security. Each case involved including women through mandates on participation and representation, coupled with general efforts to achieve a power-sharing relationship between the conflicted groups.

Bosnia-Herzegovina took the following measures to involve women in the post-conflict reconstruction:

Entity level Gender Centres were established in 2001 (what does this mean?)

A state level gender equality agency was established in 2004

A gender equality law was passed in 2003

The election law requires that every third candidate on the list is female

In 2010 a National Action Plan on Security Council Resolution 1325 was created

However, these formal commitments have resulted in limited success at including women in the post-conflict reconstruction due to a lack of focus on gender issues by decision-making bodies, and a lack of inclusion of women in negotiating processes. Gender issues, such as the gender-based violence experienced during the conflict, have not been a prominent feature of the post-conflict negotiations.

Women and Peacebuilding

Women comprise the most vulnerable groups in conflict and post-conflict situations, yet a great deal of evidence points to the fact that they play the most significant roles in triggering peace mechanisms (such as? Example of a peace mechanism) A majority of researchers on the role of women in conflict resolution and peacebuilding argue that involving women in these processes creates a better chance of ensuring sustainable peace and security. Women have been shown to be more likely to forge ahead with genuine reconciliation, and to take part in more sustainable peace processes than men.

Unfortunately, women are consistently left out of peacebuilding processes. Few women take part in conflict negotiations, and women's roles post-conflict are often relegated to insignificant tasks. The proportion of women in high-level roles in peacebuilding and post-conflict processes has in fact decreased in recent years.

The main reason women are left out of the peacebuilding process is again the result of gendered social expectations. Women are frequently positioned as victims of conflict only, and seldom seen as active agents of change. Post-conflict reconstruction processes often uphold the traditional roles of women within communities and families, assigning them gender-specific roles which deter their involvement in peacebuilding.

Women and Peacebuilding: statistics

Less than 8% of peace negotiators are women

Women participated in the peace negotiation teams in only four (Cyprus, Georgia, Guyana, Yemen) or 14 peace negotiations held under UN auspices in 2011

Only 3 of 15 judges (20%) on the International Court of Justice are women

Only 6% of post-conflict spending is budgeted specifically to empower women or promote gender equality

Organised sexual violence is a tactic of war, yet just 17 of 585 post-1990 peace accords mention it

Only 16% of peace agreements since 1990 have any explicit reference to women and gender

Few than 3% of signatories to peace agreements are women

Women should have a greater role in peacebuilding processes for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, it is the right of women to take part in issues which affect their lives, such as peace and security, and it is their right to seek justice for crimes committed against them during war. Secondly, as important members of society, the inclusion of women in conflict resolution and peace building would make these processes faster and more efficient. Marginalising fifty percent of the population during major recovery processes undermines any gains made and reduces the probability of achieving lasting peace outcomes. Disproportionate exclusion of women based on gender roles, discrimination and marginalisation is detrimental to gains made worldwide in recognising the role of women in society and upholding equality across all spheres of human life.

Case Study: the Solomon Islands

In the Solomon Islands, a National Council of Women (NCW) acts in support of the regional action plan for UN Security Council Resolution 1325, and helped to secure national peace and protection for women during ethnic conflict between 1998 and 2000. The NCW directly engaged with militants, providing food aid and even arranging food and supply exchanges between rival ethnic groups. Women risked their own security as they moved between bunkers, disarming militants.

However, Solomon women were notably absent from the eventual peace negotiations of 2000. The exclusion of women from formal peacebuilding processes is highly problematic for the maintenance and promotion of ongoing peace and security in the region.

The United Nations Security Council Resolutions and the International Structure around Women, Peace and Security

From Anu's email:

Good work

I think the section on 1325 needs more work.

See 'Join the Dots' pdf in dropbox for notes on MDGs

See 'Contextualising UNSCR 1325-policy brief' pdf in dropbox for notes on UNSCR 1325

From Bec's email:

Thanks for your work on this so far, it is looking really good.

I've added a few comments, but ultimately think you are on the right path.

Adeline: future editing plans

Work more on 1325, in response to comments from Anu

Attempt to make each resolution less wordy

Write a succinct topic sentence for each SCR so that: the main purpose of the SCRs is made clear; it is easy to grasp the rest of the paragraph; it is easier to remember each SCR.

The majority of modern conflicts have been internal, or contained within states rather than between states. The trauma conflict inflicts upon a local population is a frequently cited concern of the United Nations, non-governmental organisations and civil society members. Women and girls are not only exposed to these traumas, but as discussed above can also become targets of specific gender-based violence and its tactical use in conflict. Through the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing Platform summit and various Security Council resolutions introduced over the past decade, the United Nations has recognised the unique situation of women and girls in conflict and the necessity of the valuable contribution of women in conflict prevention and the sustainment of peace. This action of gender mainstreaming women's involvement across the process of peace building and monitoring has unfortunately so far resulted in minimal structural change or increases to the number of women participating in peace and security.

Gender Mainstreaming

"Gender Mainstreaming is a globally accepted strategy for promoting gender equality… a means to achieve the goal of gender equality. Mainstreaming involves ensuring that gender perspectives and attention to the goal of gender equality are central to all activities - policy development, research, advocacy/ dialogue, legislation, resource allocation…"

United Nations Office of the Special Advisor on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women 2001 Report


The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1979, and is widely lauded as an international bill of rights for women. It set out definitions of what constitutes discrimination against women and highlights steps for nations to act. The Convention notes the significance of gender roles. It advocates for equality before the law and the importance of engaging with social and cultural norms to work towards (Kate = delete, Anu = left in) the elimination of prejudices based on the idea of the superiority or inferiority of either sex. In 1982, a committee consisting of 23 experts on women's issues was established to monitor the progress of countries that have signed and ratified CEDAW. Part of this process involves regular reporting from signatory countries on how the rights of the convention are being implemented in their country. In this way, CEDAW has acted as an important base and building block for discussions on women, peace and security in the United Nations.

Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPFA) drafted at the Fourth World Conference on Women (1995) brought to the fore the persistence of gender discrimination and the lack of focus on gender inequality despite over a decade of CEDAW's adoption. The BPFA noted twelve 'critical areas of concern' that must be addressed to ensure gender equality and women's empowerment. In particular, it noted that women's full participation in conflict prevention and post conflict reconstruction was essential in fostering peace and security.

Millennium Development Goals

"MDG - link definitely to MDG 3 and a simple sentence that recognises that if there is conflict none of the other MDGs can be achieved if we adopt a human security approach. See attached document"

Check with Anu - what should we be discussing, specifically, here?

United Nations Security Council Resolutions relating to Women, Peace and Security

There are five United Nations Security Council resolutions which explicitly address the women, peace and security agenda. Passed by the United Nations Security Council over a ten year period, these resolutions act protect women's rights during armed conflicts and promote their participation in in all levels of the peace process, including peacekeeping and post-conflict reconstruction. The general themes of women, peace and security first addressed in resolution 1325 are reinforced and expanded in the subsequent resolutions. Although the resolutions have left little doubt of the importance of gender equality in the sustenance of peace and security, implementation of the resolutions has proven a challenge in the years since their introduction.

Resolution 1325

Excerpt from UNSCR 1325

Expressing concern that civilians, particularly women and children, account for the vast majority of those adversely affected by armed conflict, including as refugees and internally displaced persons, and increasingly are targeted by combatants and armed elements, and recognizing the consequent impact this has on durable peace and reconciliation,

Reaffirming the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peace-building, and stressing the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, and the need to increase their role in decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and resolution.

Passed in 2000 by the Security Council, Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) is widely considered a landmark resolution that for the first time referenced the link between women's experience in armed conflicts to maintaining levels of peace and security internationally.

Case Study: Bougainville

At its 46th session (July 2010), the CEDAW committee called on the state leaders to affect the United Nations Security Resolution 1325 by guaranteeing Bougainville women's involvement in peace and reconciliation decision making.

Conflict has persisted since Bougainville's 1975 independence from Papua New Guinea, with violence characterising Bougainville's continual struggle for self-governance. While women were systematically abused during the crisis, women were also instrumental to the restoration of peace. Women connected displaced communities through local church groups, NGO's and youth groups, and mobilised to share ideas and knowledge, and to provide essential supplies.

Reconciliation in 1998 is largely attributed to negotiations by Bougainville women's groups, however, women were not included in the formal peace process, including the Bougainville Peace Agreement, signed in August 2000.

Progress today towards better implementing UNSCR 1325, while slow, is in motion. Bougainville women hold 3 seats in government, providing the women a formal public voice, but lack representation in the private sector. Encouragingly, UNSR1325 has been reflected in local initiatives. The grass roots organisation, Leitana Nehan Women's Development Agency (LNWDA) has been integral to the promotion of UNSR1325. LNWDA runs community education workshops and campaigns on issues affecting women, and has successfully introduced 'empowerment 1325', a community for young women to promote and discuss implementation strategies for engaging women in participation, peacekeeping and protection..

Resolution 1325 provided four key pillars to be addressed in support of the overarching aims of the resolution. These include participation, protection, prevention and relief and recovery. It also calls for the equal participation of women and men in efforts to maintain and promote peace and security. It also reaffirms the need to protect women and girls from gender-based violence and human rights abuses. Action involving mainstream gender perspectives in conflict prevention, negotiations for peace and reconstruction efforts were a focal point of Resolution 1325, and provided strong discussion points for the development of the women, peace and security field in the following years and resolutions. It highlights that women's leadership in conflict resolution and recovery requires a build- up of a gender response capability in peacekeeping missions, therefore requiring gender training in societal and institutional forces to ensure peace and security.

The Arria Formula

The Arria Formula is an arrangement that lets any of the Security Council members invited a person or organisation considered an expert on an issue of international security and peace present their thoughts to the security council at an informal meeting. These have been seen as an important mechanism in the council, as under normal circumstances it is only the delegations, high government officials of present Security Council Members states and United Nations Officials who can speak at regular council consultations and meetings.

Resolution 1820

Resolution 1820 was unanimously adopted in 2008. Seeking to expand Resolution 1325's article ten, Resolution 1820 notesthat rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide". Resolution 1820 also notesthat sexual violence and rape has been used as "a tactic of war to humiliate, dominate, instil fear in, disperse and/or forcibly relocate civilian members of a community or ethnic group[s]" .

The Resolution also noted that such acts of violence can lead exacerbate tensions and therefore reaffirmed the Security Council's commitment to address systemic sexual violence in conflict. In particular, Resolution 1820 affirmsthe Council's call to member states to impose and prosecute "targeted and graduated" measures against internal factions who committed rape and other forms of violence against women and girls. This resolution not only specifically identified the use of sexual violence as a tactic of war, but was one of the first to identify particular steps and actions that could be implemented in addressing gendered violence in conflicts.

Resolution 1888

Adoptedin 2009, Resolution 1888 continued to act to strengthen themes raised in resolution 1325 and 1825, focusing on the use of sexual violence in armed conflicts. In particular, Resolution 1888 expanded on the work of Resolution 1820, but went further to highlight the necessity of ensuring women's involvement in peacekeeping missions through the deployment of Women Protection Advisors (WPA's). Resolution 1820 also called for the immediate appointment of a special representative and a team of experts to provide government's assistance in quickly responding to arising instances of sexual violence in conflict zones. These positions are designed to strengthen existing United Nations structures, and assist missions and peacekeeping forces on the ground with ways to address sexual violence in armed conflicts. Furthermore, the need for data and information on the rates and prevalence of sexual violence in peacekeeping reports received by the Security Council was also raised. As such, the role of annual reporting on the occurrence of sexual violence and progress made in the articles of Resolution 1820 and Resolution 1888 were highlighted in the latter.

Resolution 1889

Adopted in 2009, Resolution 1889 aimsto expand on women's role in the post-conflict reconstruction and peace building. In particular, the Resolution sought to reinforce the importance of women's participation throughout the peace process. Resolution 1889 also promptedthe Security Council to encourage other United Nation member states, United Nations organisations, non-governmental organisations and civil society members to work towards greater incorporation of empowering women in the peacekeeping process in terms of planning, programming and funding. Articles15 through 19 of Resolution 1889 sought to build upon this, calling for greater transparency and inclusion in the structural implementation of United Nations missions and organisations. This included a request to the Secretary-General of the United Nations to submit a report in the following 12 month period examining women in post-conflict situation. In particular data collected and the Secretary General's report would allow the appointed experts and related organisations to develop a series of indicators reflecting country progress on women, peace and security.

Resolution 1960

Finally, Resolution 1960 was adoptedin 2010 by the Security Council. The Resolution expressed concern over the progress of addressing sexual violence and its continued prevalence in armed conflicts against women and girls. The Security Council also called on states to recall international laws and leaders to demonstrate their commitment to ending sexual violence in armed conflict, as well as prosecuting perpetrators and upholding gender equality as part of their responsibility to safeguard human rights in their countries. The resolution sought to increase work in this regard by building further workable frameworks and procedures to address systemic sexual violence arising in conflict.For example, following the lead of the Secretary General in strengthening the United Nations zero tolerance approach to sexual violence.

Timeline of significant events

June 1945 - United Nations Charter 26. The 1945 Charter champions the 'equal rights of men and women' in achieving world peace.

December 1948 - The Universal Declaration of Human Rights; General Assembly Resolution 217A (III) 10 

16 December 1966 - Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict; General Assembly Resolution 2200A (XXI)

19 June-2 July 1975 - The First World Conference on Women held in Mexico City. Declaration of Mexico on the Equality of Women and Their Contribution to Development and Peace

15 December 1975 - General Assembly Resolution 3519 on Women's Participation in the Strengthening of International Peace & Security

15 December 1975 - General Assembly Resolution 3521 calling on States to ratify international conventions and other instruments concerning the protection of women's rights

1976-1985 - The UN Decade for Women (1976 - 1985) which had three major themes - equality, development and peace. It generated, for the first time, worldwide data on the conditions of women.

18 December 1979 - Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) General Assembly Resolution 34/180

14-30 July 1980 - The Second World Conference on Women held in Copenhagen and Report of the World Conference of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace

December 1982 - General Assembly Declaration A/RES/37/63 on the Participation of Women in Promoting International Peace and Cooperation

15-26 July 1985 - The Third World Conference on Women held in Nairobi, Kenya, including The Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women from the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace

20 December 1993 - Declaration on Elimination of Violence Against Women General Assembly Resolution 48/104

18 October 1994 - Programme of Action of the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development Chapter IV: Gender Equality, Equity and Empowerment of Women

1994 - The UNDP's Human Development Report, p.35, estimates that up to 75% of all refugees are estimated to be women or girls

4-15 September 1995 - The Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China. Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing 4 to 15 September

2-13 March 1998 - The Commission on the Status of Women, Agreed Outcomes on Women and Armed Conflict: Report on the forty-second session, Economic and Social Council Official Records, 1998, Supplement No. 7

will also include UNSCRs (not yet complete)

International Structure and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda

The relationship of the United Nations, non-governmental agencies and civil society members can be confusing, particularly when looking at how issues such as women, peace and security are approached in the international structure. As the diagram shows, there is a strong interrelationship between agencies of the United Nations. On top of this, civil society members and non-governmental organisations frequently work with the various bodies of the United Nations, providing experts and key data for issues such as women, peace and security.http://blogs.ubc.ca/astu400e2010/files/2010/09/400px-UN_Institutions.svg_.png

Article 25 of the United Nations charter notes that all Security Council resolutions are binding on member states. Although civil society, regional security and international organisations have played important roles in shaping the women and security agenda and the UN Security Council Resolutions the responsibility of implementation lies primarily with the member states. In 2005, the Security Council called upon United Nations member states to develop National Action Plans (NAP) to assist countries in identifying resources, priorities, determining responsibilities, and encouraging each country to find the best way of implementing the women, peace and security agenda within the national context. By 2012, 39 countries had adopted nation action plans based on resolution 1325, including Australia in 2012.

Australia's National Plan for Action on Women, Peace and Security

The Australian National Action Plan for Women, Peace and Security (NAP) was launched on International Women's Day 2012 for the period 2012-2018. The NAP is a documented commitment that Australia has made in line with its obligation to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1325. The NAP, which was coordinated by the Commonwealth Office for Women, represents Australia's commitment to incorporating a gender perspective into peace building processes and security efforts, encouraging the participation of women and girls in conflict prevention, management and resolution, and protecting the human rights of these individuals. The NAP outlines how Australia intends to achieve these stated aims both domestically and overseas, and the projects that are already underway. Importantly, the Government has committed itself to reporting to the Australian Federal Parliament every two years on the progress of the aims outlined in the NAP.

However, there are still many aspects of the NAP which could be improved, and much more that can be done, both by government and civil society, to promote the NAP.

Purpose of the NAP

To articulate Australia's ongoing commitment to implementing UNSCR 1325 and the broader UN Security Council Women, Peace and Security agenda

To establish a clear framework for a coordinated, whole of government approach to implementing UNSCR 1325 and related resolutions

To identify strategies and actions that Australia will undertake both domestically and overseas to implement UNSCR 1325 and related resolutions, and measure the effectiveness of this work over a six year period from 2012 - 2018

To highlight the important work that Australia is doing in partnership with the international community to respond to women's needs, recognise their roles, promote equal participation, and protect women and girls' human rights in fragile, conflict, and post-conflict settings.

The Structure of the NAP

The Australian NAP seeks to improve the situation for women and girls through 5 key 'thematic areas' identified by the UN which relate to the principles of resolution 1325. These areas are prevention, participation, protection, relief and recovery and normative. It is recognised that there is overlapping and linkages between these areas.

Key Thematic Areas of the NAP

Prevention: "Reduction in conflict and all forms of structural and physical violence against women, particularly sexual and gender-based violence"

Participation: "Inclusion of women and women's interests in decision-making processes related to the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts"

Protection: "Women's safety, physical and mental health and economic security are assured and their human rights respected"

Relief and Recovery: "Women's specific needs are met in conflict and post-conflict situations"

Normative: "Raising awareness about and developing policy frameworks to progress the Women, Peace and Security agenda, and integrating a gender perspective across government policies on peace and security"