Women, Peace and Security:

Women, Peace and Security: women participate in peacebuilding

Women's rights are human rights – today this is undisputed. We work to ensure that key human rights standards are also respected in conflict-affected regions. Our work is based on the UN’s "Women, Peace and Security" agenda. Of additional central importance for feminist peace work are the Women's Rights Convention CEDAW, the Beijing Declaration and the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda.

Through the long-standing and tenacious work of civil society organisations, especially from the global South, an important agreement for feminist peacebuilding was reached in 2000. The UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1325 ((internal link > UN Resolution 1325)) on "Women, Peace and Security", thus underlining women’s central role in preventing conflict and working for peace.

Resolution 1325 is considered a milestone for women's rights in armed conflict and, together with its follow-up resolutions, forms the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda.

Together with other key human rights instruments, the WPS agenda lays the foundation for respecting women's rights, including in war and conflict. These include:

  • The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) ((EN)), the only binding instrument to date that commits the signatory states to legal and effective equality in all areas of life.

  • The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, adopted in 1995 and containing the most comprehensive roadmap on gender equality to date.

  • The 2015 UN Agenda 2030 ((EN)), which includes 17 goals for a sustainable future, including "gender equality" and "peace, justice and strong institutions". Gender equality also is a transversal theme in all the Sustainable Development Goals.

Despite these important human rights instruments, in practice, the record is sobering: women's participation in peace and in political processes is still very limited. Protection against sexualised violence in conflicts, a cornerstone of the WPS agenda, is barely guaranteed. There is also a need for action in Switzerland: peace policy must become more gender-sensitive, both in domestic and in foreign policy.

With our programmes ((EN)), in our political work ((EN)) and within our network ((EN)), we are working to ensure that the goals of these groundbreaking human rights instruments are achieved and that governments are held to account.