The independent resource on global security

8. Women, peace and security


Overview, Theresa Höghammar, Emma Bjertén-Günther and Rachel Irwin [PDF]

I. The development of the women, peace and security agenda, Theresa Höghammar, Lovisa Strand, Emmicki Roos and Rachel Irwin [PDF]

II. The 15th anniversary of Resolution 1325: global perspectives, Emma Bjertén-Günther, Emmicki Roos and Rachel Irwin [PDF]

III. Challenges and progress in implementing the women, peace and security agenda: to case studies, Valerie Percival, Emmicki Roos and Sally Theobald [PDF]

The women, peace and security (WPS) agenda consists of eight United Nations Security Council resolutions that inject a gender perspective into various peace and security forums. This perspective calls for women’s participation in preventing armed conflict and in peacebuilding, as well as for the protection of women and girls in conflict. The foundational resolution of the WPS agenda, UN Security Council Resolution 1325, was adopted unanimously in October 2000. It was the first Security Council resolution to specifically address the impact of armed conflict on women, and women’s contribution to conflict resolution and sustainable peace. This formal agenda has given rise to a transnational epistemic community of governments, private sector actors, researchers and, most notably, civil society. Many in this community have their origins in the women’s peace movement.


While the WPS agenda has been lauded for promoting a better understanding of the relevance of a gender perspective within the overall international peace and security discourse, there has also been some criticism regarding the lack of political will and funding for its implementation. In addition, insufficient implementation strategies and tools for evaluation and monitoring remain issues of concern.

UN Security Council Resolution 2242 is the most recent addition to the WPS toolbox and reflects some of the new challenges in global peace and security, including climate change, the increasing number of refugees and internally displaced persons, and violent extremism.


The 15th anniversary of Resolution 1325

The 15th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 provided an opportunity for formal reflection on the current and future direction of the WPS agenda. Four key review processes reported in 2015: (a) the High-level Review of Women, Peace and Security; (b) the Global Study on the Implementation of Resolution 1325; (c) the Report of the High-level Independent Panel on United Nations Peace Operations (HIPPO); and (d) the Report of the Advisory Group of Experts for the 2015 Review of the United Nations Peacebuilding Architecture. The latter two provide important insights into the current status of the implementation of Resolution 1325 specifically within UN peace operations and peacebuilding.


Security sector reform and health

Implementation of the WPS agenda in security sector reform (SSR) and the health sector demonstrates that all sections of society and government have a role to play, although results are mixed. While there has been some progress, much remains to be done to ensure that SSR programmes, for example, are gender sensitive and include the direct and meaningful participation of women.


An optimistic assessment of the WPS agenda could suggest that it has created a norm of gender mainstreaming and increased gender awareness around conflict, specifically regarding sexual violence in armed conflict. However, major hurdles remain with regard to implementation and creating substantial change in the daily lives of women affected by conflict.