Women, Peace & Security

In the News: Thursday, 13 August 2020

Belarus election: Women Form ‘Solidarity Chains’ to Condemn Crackdown

Source: BBC

Women have formed human chains in Belarus to condemn a crackdown on protests over the disputed election. Many dressed in white and carried flowers as they called for an end to police brutality. Unrest erupted across the country after long-time leader Alexander Lukashenko was declared winner of Sunday’s presidential election, sparking allegations of vote rigging.

Read the story here.

UN Women and Partners Provide Immediate Relief to Women and Girls Impacted by the Beirut Blasts

Source: UN Women

The Beirut blast adds to compounded crises that Lebanon has been experiencing since the financial and economic crisis of 2019, followed by the COVID-19 pandemic that started in March 2020. The COVID-19 crisis led to rising cases of domestic violence and other forms of violence against women across the world. In Lebanon, one assessment found that up to 54 per cent of respondents had observed an increase of harassment, violence or abuse against other women and girls in their household or their communities. Ensuring that women have access to support and services, as well as information on how to access such support, is crucial.

Read more here.

Open Letter by Afghan Women to the Taliban

Source: TOLO / Coalition of Afghan Women

For the past two years, Afghan women have been observing the ongoing negotiation process in Afghanistan carefully and, like millions of our fellow citizens, we deeply hope that the process can bring the nearly 40 years of conflict in our beloved Afghanistan to an end. We, women, have borne the brunt of the four decades of conflict. As wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters we have suffered terribly, we have been subjected to the brutality and violence of war; we have borne witness to the endless suffering of our families and our people. We, perhaps more than anyone, seek an end to this senseless war. Yet, we, like the vast majority of Afghan women and men, worry that the price of peace may be too heavy if we lose the vitality of more than half of our population and the essential gains achieved in the last two decades.

Read the full letter here.

Elevating Women Peacebuilders amidst Covid-19

Source: CSIS / Eral Yayboke & Hareem F. Abdullah

The Covid-19 pandemic is exacerbating conditions for women and girls around the world, especially in conflict and fragile settings. A shadow pandemic of gender-based violence is growing. Women are being excluded and marginalized from all areas of decisionmaking, including Covid-19 response and recovery efforts.

Despite this, women are showing exemplary strength as they combat Covid-19 within their communities. Women peacebuilders and peacekeepers are educating local communities about containing and preventing the spread of Covid-19 and are providing lifesaving services to men, women, and children.

Covid-19 further demonstrates and highlights women’s effective leadership in times of crisis. The United States should elevate women’s voices in Covid-19 response and recovery efforts and ensure their meaningful participation in peace processes and politics post-pandemic.

Read the full brief here.

New Women’s Empowerment Index for Kenyan Women and Girls

Source: UN Women

A recent study using a first-of-its-kind measure of women’s empowerment, the Kenya Women’s Empowerment Index (WEI), shows that only 29 percent of Kenyan women can participate equally and effectively in political, economic, and cultural life — and that their involvement is largely dependent on household circumstances.

Developed by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) in partnership with the State Department for Gender, UN Women and UNICEF, the Index provides the first comprehensive and systematic measure for women and girl’s empowerment in Kenya.

According to the study, on average, 40 percent of women living in Kenya’s urban areas are empowered, nearly double the rate for women in rural areas. Where household heads have attained secondary education, women are more than four times more empowered than in households where the head – whether male or female – has no education. This rate climbs quite drastically in households where the head has attained post-secondary education; women here are more than six times more empowered than those in households where the head has no education.

Read more here.

Shukria’s Blog: COVID-19 Adding to the Long List of Tragedies Women Face in Afghanistan

Source: UN Women

More than in many other countries, the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately hurt Afghanistan’s women and girls, who already have been disproportionately hurt by four decades of war, poverty, prejudice and lack of education and security. Recent reports by the news organization The New Humanitarian and by International Rescue Committee tell a depressing story. Women make up only 27 per cent of Afghanistan’s 36,000-37,000 COVID-19 cases, according to the Ministry of Public Health. But that doesn’t mean women are less affected. They are being left out of testing and less priority is given to their health. There are myriad reasons women have less access to health care in Afghanistan.

Read more here.