Engaging women across the peacebuilding process
October 7, 2015
UNSCR 1325 came into force nearly 15 years ago to ensure a role for women in all stages of the peacebuilding process, from negotiations to post-conflict reconstruction. Michele Brandt, director of Interpeace’s Constitution-making for Peace programme, says more needs to be done to support women to participate in every stage and level of the constitution-making process.
Drawing on 20 years of experience in constitution-making across the globe, Brandt has seen women sidelined from the process. If women are excluded from learning about constitutions and aren’t asked about their aspirations, their concerns will be ignored. And even when they have played key roles, often at great risk, their contributions go unrecognized.
Interpeace’s Women’s Constitutional Voices project, supported by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF), seeks to elevate women’s voices in peacebuilding processes through a range of strategies, including bringing them together to share their experiences and reflect on lessons learned. At a workshop for women from Arab States, participants reported that they needed greater support and networks to improve their efforts, including at the grassroots level.
In Ukraine, participants noted that, with the exception of a few women in Kiev, women were being left out of the constitutional reform process. Because the country was a former Soviet Republic they needed more support to learn about the role of a constitution and to have a voice in current and future reforms. One participant said that when she tried to address corruption in her community her house was burnt down. Despite these obstacles, women are keen to form coalitions to advance their participation.
With around 20 countries amending or revising their constitutions each year, and another 20 envisaging the process, the importance of the issue is clear. Including women in the process enables them to gain skills in negotiation, writing legislation, and public consultation, ensuring they can play an active role in statebuilding and achieving a durable peace.
Article originally posted in Swisspeace KOFF newsletter http://koff.swisspeace.ch/what-we-offer/newsletter/