On October 16th Shia Rights Watch attended the UNDP event entitled “Building Inclusive and Peaceful Societies through Women’s participation and Leadership” at the UN headquarters in New York. Marking the 15th anniversary of UN Resolution 1325, the panel of guests at this event spoke about the progress of women’s inclusion into post conflict peacebuilding efforts.
While progress has been made in the inclusion of women in peacebuilding in the last 15 years, challenges remain in ensuring that this is meaningful participation. After two round of political instability in Kyrgyzstan in 2005 and 2010, efforts to involvement have had nominal success but large gaps still remain between men and women. Women in Kyrgyzstan are largely excluded from public life and it has been hard to overcome this gap do to the responsibilities women hold both at home and in the agricultural sector. One way that NGOs and other stakeholders have been working to increase the influence of women in society is by disseminating images of women participating in politics through mediums that women consume a great deal of such as soap operas.
In Libya, the effort to include women has been incomplete as well. A female human rights activist who was a part of the UN mediated peace process in the country. The activist stated while women were involved in the peace process, they remained excluded at many major points. This essentially rendered their participation ineffective. The activist finished by stating that resolution 1325 has been ineffective for Libyan women and more emphasis needs to be put on meaningful participation for women.
This conversation is an important one for post conflict societies to be having. With qualitative and quantitate data showing a strong and positive relationship between women’s inclusion in peace processes and the effectiveness of those peace process, improving women’s access will have a large effect going forward. As Shia communities around the world work with their states to move past horrendous conflicts, it is important that women from both sides of these hostilities are involved early and often throughout transition periods.