Women's Empowerment and Gender Equality

Women’s Participation in Peace and Security

December 21, 2022

Participants (Regularly Updated)

(image 1) Women’s Participation in Peace and Security
  • OSAKI Asako, Visiting Professor, Kwansei Gakuin University / Director, Gender Action Platform (Moderator)
  • Katrina Iran FOTOVAT, Senior Official, Global Women’s Issues, U.S. Department of State
  • HIGASHINO Atsuko, Professor at University of Tsukuba
  • Denis MUKUWEGE, Gynecologist/ Human-rights activist/ awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2018 (virtual)
  • OSA Yukie, Dean, Professor at Graduate School of Social Design Studies at Rikkyo University
  • Joyce SITIENEI, Director of the International Peace Support Training Centre - Kenya (IPSTC)
  • KATAYAMA Misaki, Master’s Student at The University of Tokyo (Rapporteur)

Current situation and challenges to be discussed

More than 20 years have passed since the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which for the first time enshrined the participation of women and their role in international peace and security. Several countries in Africa and the Middle East continue to experience conflicts and extreme political instability.

The spread of the COVID-19 has further aggravated the situation of women in some conflict-affected and fragile states, where they have lost the means to report the violence due to restrictions on leaving their homes(note1).

In Ukraine, civilians, including women and children, have suffered greatly, and sexual violence against women resulting from Russia's aggression has been reported. As 90% of the displaced people are women and children(note2), the dangers of human trafficking and other forms of violence targeting them must also be addressed. In Afghanistan, the rights of Afghan women, which had been steadily restored over the past 20 years since 2001, have been severely eroded after the Taliban, an Islamic fundamentalist organization, took control of the capital, Kabul. Women have been forced out of their jobs, unable to participate in politics, required to wear the hijab again, all while girls' education has not yet fully resumed(note3).

In such circumstances, are women merely powerless? The UN Security Council Resolution 1325 affirmed that women are not only passive victims but also positive agents of conflict resolution, prevention and peacebuilding(note4). In order to protect women’s human rights as well as to build a peaceful society, promoting women’s participation in policy-making and all other efforts is essential.

Another point to be taken into account is the treatment of survivors of sexual violence in conflict. It is important to support victims so that they are not marginalized or isolated; rather, support should be provided to empower them to become contributing members of society while economically independent.

In light of the above background, the WAW! 2022 will provide an opportunity to consider how to increase and support "women and youth as peacebuilders" or to become such leaders ourselves.

For more information on the current situation and challenges on women's participation in peace and security, please refer to this page (PDF) Open a New Window.

Discussion topics

  • How have women in conflict-affected countries been affected by the spread of COVID-19, the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and Russia's aggression against Ukraine? What should the international community as a whole do now?
  • What efforts have been made by the Japanese government, the international community, and aid organizations such as UN agencies and NGOs to promote women's participation in peace and security (Women, Peace, and Security :WPS), and what are some good practices of such efforts?
  • How should the governments, international organizations, NGOs, civil society, and individuals act to increase and support women and youth as peacebuilders, which is the core concept of UNSC Resolutions 1325 and 2250, or how we can play such a role by ourselves?
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