Women for peace

How women contribute to resolving conflicts – and how Germany supports them in their efforts. We present four questions and answers.

 Large numbers of women are currently fighting for democracy in Belarus.
Large numbers of women are currently fighting for democracy in Belarus. dpa

What role is played by women in conflicts?

Women were long viewed primarily as victims. And yet they do important work in many crisis regions: women negotiate with militants, create safe spaces and enable humanitarian corridors. Without the courageous protests of women who took to the streets day in, day out, the peaceful revolution in Sudan would not have been possible, for example. Large numbers of women are currently fighting for democracy in Belarus. During its non-permanent membership of the Safety Council in 2019/2020 , Germany has therefore committed itself to promoting the “Women, Peace and Security” agenda.

What does the agenda involve?

When it adopted the resolution 20 years ago, the UN Security Council made it clear that the participation of women in creating and preserving peace is absolutely vital. Ever since, security and conflict prevention have been viewed as women’s rights, and therefore as human rights. To mark the anniversary of the resolution, a study has been published about how Germany’s commitment is perceived. 

What can Germany do in concrete terms?

To this day, women still take part far too rarely in formal peace negotiations – despite studies showing that their involvement improves the chances of success. Germany therefore supports the participation of women in political processes, for example via the Women’s Peace & Humanitarian Fund. Together with partners such as medica mondiale and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the German government helps provide medical and psychosocial support for women who have experienced sexualised violence. Furthermore, Germany is active in and a co-initiator of the African Women Leaders Network.

How do women themselves assess the situation?

Staged by the Federal Foreign Office, the virtual exhibition Ohne Frauen kein Frieden (i.e. No peace without women) gives a voice to female activists. A dossier compiled by the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung also portrays women who stand up for peace and security. Their stories are impressive proof of what is possible, and of just how much still needs to be done.

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