Women, Peace & Security

In the News: Monday, 10 August 2020

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Africa: The African Women Leaders Network – A Movement for the Transformation of Africa

Source: allAfrica / Bineta Diop, African Union Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security & Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director

The year 2020 began on a high note for the African Women Leaders Network (AWLN). As the world was preparing to mark 25 years since the Fourth World Conference on Women, AWLN sought to commemorate the anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action with the launch of 25 National Chapters across Africa.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportionate gendered impacts has challenged AWLN to quickly become the torchbearer of African women’s indomitable spirit to ensure the “gains made are not reversed”, as AWLN Champion and UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed emphasized during a May 2020 virtual consultation on COVID-19 Responses.

Read more here.

 Congo-Kinshasa: South-Kivu – Uvira’s Women Leaders Renew Their Confidence in Monusco

Source: allAfrica / United Nations Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (Kinshasa)

During a working session with MONUSO’s substantive sections in Uvira, South Kivu Province, on 6th August, some 20 women leaders from the region assessed the critical and worrying situation in the territories of Fizi, Mwenga and Uvira. While recognizing MONUSCO’s efforts to protect civilians, they suggest that the UN Mission must do more to gain the confidence of the affected populations.

These women leaders note that the recurrence of security incidents affects the protection of civilians in the three territories as well as social cohesion, the peace implementation process and stabilization efforts. They call for the strengthening of mechanisms for the protection of civilians in these territories.

Read more here.

South Africa Needs the Skills of the Women Who Led Resistance in the 1980s

Source: IOL / Reneva Fourie

South Africa should not be struggling to overcome its current challenges of underdevelopment and corruption as there is an entire generation of remarkable women that is under-utilised.

The women that led anti-apartheid struggles inside the country during the 1980s are hardworking, selfless, highly knowledgeable and competent, with impeccable integrity. They possess a unique capacity to motivate and lead people because they acquired the skill by convincing many to risk their lives (and livelihoods) for a cause. Empowering others is inherent in this cohort of women; for having a second layer of leadership to replace them in the event of detention or death, was imperative.

As we celebrate the brave actions of women who on August 9, 1956, marched to the Union Buildings and demanded the abolishment of the Pass Laws, we honour too on this day, the women activists from the decades before, and from the decades thereafter.

I want to share some of the contributions made by women from my hometown, Grassy Park, to our fight against apartheid in the 1980s. I do so because younger women activists always challenge me about the lack of material on women activists from the 1980s.

Read more here.

 Youth Voices for Change: Why We Should All Be Listening to Young Leaders

Source: UN Women

There are 1.8 billion youth, between the ages of 10-24, at the forefront of movements for equality, justice and dignity for all. Yes, we are thinking of them today, because it’s International Youth Day. But they are actually raising their voices and demanding a better future every day. They haven’t resigned to the old norms and they have the power to imagine and activate new norms.

As the COVID-19 pandemic overwhelms healthcare services, disrupts education, livelihoods and social lives, and increases the burden of care, young people are advocating for themselves and the needs of the communities. They want their priorities reflected in COVID-19 response packages, they want racial equality, gender equality and climate action. They want a better, more sustainable world.

We asked some youth activists about their hopes for the future and what building back better means for them.

Read more here.

Afghan Women Should Be the Centerpiece of the Peace Process

Source: Foreign Policy / Roya Rahmani

Afghanistan has been seeking peace for decades. Perhaps it is time to embrace the fresh perspective that women can bring. Afghans have already seen the benefit of having all of society, both men and women, contribute to Afghanistan’s progress. Women’s economic, social, and political contributions are strengthening Afghanistan daily by enriching the country’s societal fabric and helping to build a more stable society. Women now constitute 21 percent of the labor force. From parliament to orchestras, civil-society organizations, and sports teams, women are on the national stage more than ever before.

The question then is whether women’s contributions to peace processes are valuable. The evidence clearly says yes. This has been proved in the Philippines, Liberia, Northern Ireland, and many other regions where women have had a substantive voice in a peace process. Women’s inclusion in Afghanistan would be similarly impactful, since peace talks that substantively include women have been shown to be more likely to both succeed and last. This makes women’s participation in peace talks a national security issue.

Read more here.