Women, Peace & Security

In the News: Monday, 20 July 2020

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Trump Administration’s Women, Peace and Security Plans: Blueprint for Action or Empty Promises?

Source: Just Security / Ambassador Donald Steinberg

The release of the plans of four U.S. government agencies to protect, empower, and support women in conflict situations abroad, as required by Congress in the Women, Peace and Security Act of 2017, presents advocates and independent observers with a conundrum. The State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in particular have prepared credible plans with ambitious, yet achievable, goals, but how are we to assess commitments to women’s empowerment and gender equality made under a president whose policies have flouted those principles for more than three years? A president whose actions consistently undercut women’s human rights activists abroad, prevent women from accessing life-saving sexual and reproductive health services, and demonstrate a readiness to sacrifice the progress achieved by women in places like Afghanistan on the altar of a false peace?

As if to purposely dampen expectations, four days after his administration released these plans last month, the president also issued new immigration regulations that would, in violation of domestic and international law, eliminate persecution based on gender as grounds for asylum, force women back into dangerous situations of domestic violence and sexual abuse abroad, allow judges to make negative decisions on an asylum application without giving the applicant a chance to testify, and continue a policy of separating children from their mothers.  What are we to make of this?

Read more here.

For Women in Afghanistan Security Forces, a Daily Battle

Source: New York Times / Mujib Mashal

A new generation of women is moving to take up leadership roles in Afghanistan. The price is a daily barrage of abuse, and the fear that not much has changed.

Read the story here.

Zimbabwe: Girls Vulnerable As Covid-19 Drives Child Marriages

Source: allAfrica / Andile Tshuma

Bulawayo — Covid-19 has upended the lives of many children and their families alike, with migratory efforts such lock downs resulting in countrywide school closures, affecting children’s routines and support systems. Pandemic control measures that do not account for the gender specific needs and vulnerabilities of young women and girls may increase their risk of sexual exploitation, including child marriage.

Read the full story here.

Nigeria: Weighing the Impact of Covid-19 On Women

Source: allAfrica / Chiemelie Ezeobi

For women who comprise 1.5 billion of the world’s low-wage workforce and twice as many of its carers, it is perhaps ironical to state that are the most vulnerable to the economic and health crises that unfold in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s an unfortunate reality.

Before the pandemic, a majority of women worked as low-wage workers in the manufacturing, service and informal sectors. Unfortunately, these low-wage employments lack a social safety net such as paid sick leave, parental leave, or retirement contributions to cope with the economic shocks of the ongoing pandemic. As a result, girls are now vulnerable to early marriages in order to relieve the family of another mouth to feed; women are facing greater financial barriers and sexual violence has become rampant.

According to experts, to ensure that women do not slip further into poverty and marginalisation, efforts taken by public and private stakeholders must take into consideration these seen and unseen costs. This is backed by reports by global research which suggests that women’s financial inclusion and empowerment has positive benefits for the family and society at large.

Read the full story here.

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