The Gender and Peacebuilding Center coordinates the gender-related work of USIP. The Center reflects the Institute’s commitment to gender awareness in both its analytical and practitioner work on conflict and peacebuilding.
The Gender and Peacebuilding Center coordinates the gender-related work of the Institute, including convening symposia and working groups, implementing training programs at headquarters and in field locations, and conducting practitioner-based research on gender and peacebuilding.
The Center aims to expand on the concept that gender is not synonymous with women, and therefore, examines in the context of violent conflict and peacebuilding efforts through a gender lens that is inclusive of the multi-dimensional roles of men and women in society.
The Annual Sheikha Fatima Lectureship Series
In recognition of women as peacebuilders, USIP has established the Sheikha Fatima Lectureship series around Women at the Table. The first annual lecture focused on women as “Messengers” of Peacebuilding, and was held May 9, 2013. Each year for the next four years the Institute of Peace will host an event to advance the progress of women as peacemakers. A short video is available for more information about this event.
Communities of Practice
The Men, Peace & Security Symposium – Agents of Change held at USIP in October 2013 expanded the scope of gender analysis to include male-related issues in conflict, and acknowledged that gender roles are often in dynamic change during and after violent conflict. As embodied in UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace & Security, critically examining the roles and expectations of men and women in conflict and post-conflict settings is key for sustainable peace. A regional training program will be conducted in Kigali, Rwanda in the summer of 2014 to build upon the expanded scope of gender analysis.
USIP, through collaboration with ARTWORKS Projects, has created a 10-minute video that highlights key takeaways of the symposium.
In February 2013, the Center for Gender and Peacebuilding co-hosted the Missing Peace Symposium. This three day, global event brought together a community of practice around the issue of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict. Expert scholars, policymakers, practitioners, and military and civil society actors aimed to identify gaps in knowledge and reporting, and explored how to increase the effectiveness of current responses to such violence. The symposium was the first of its kind and will continue bridging the gaps in knowledge and practice with the Missing Peace Symposium 2014.
As a part of the Missing Peace Initiative, a Young Scholars’ workshop was held on May 22-23, 2014 to examine the current state of research on preventing sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict settings, in advance of the 2014 UK Global Summit.
The U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security (CSWG) is a network of experts, NGOs, and academics with years of experience working on issues involving women, war, and peace. Inspired by and building upon the international Women, Peace, and Security Agenda, the CSWG informs, promotes, facilitates, and monitors the meaningful implementation of the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security (U.S. NAP) - PDF. Convened by USIP’s Center for Gender and Peacebuilding, the U.S. Civil Society Working Group is committed to assisting the U.S. Government in U.S. NAP implementation through consultations and briefings. The Working Group is also committed to NAP implementation worldwide and is readily available to answer questions and give suggestions regarding drafting and implementing National Action Plans on Women, Peace, and Security.
USIP’s Center for Gender and Peacebuilding has brought together a community of practice that was initially formed to examine the lessons learned from programs of support for women in Iraq and Afghanistan. Along with best practices derived from those programs, the objective of the working group is to strengthen the effectiveness of women’s programs. This working group consists of representatives of the US Government (USG), international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the Allied Embassies, along with key members of Congress and their staff and members of the US Armed Forces. Since the end of 2012, the Working Group has expanded its objective to focus on women’s programming in transitioning countries.
In the Field
Women Preventing Extremist Violence Project
The Women Preventing Extremist Violence project aims to identify and support innovative ways in which women in civil society can help prevent extremist violence. The project aims to build the capacity of women in civil society to counter violence and extremism and to foster trust and cooperation between women in civil society and the security sector. USIP staff will facilitate a series of in-country women-led projects in three countries over the next two years. By linking these local efforts to the larger international dialogue on women and security, USIP will contribute to a growing community of practice and a more nuanced understanding of the role women play in conflict prevention.
Women in Governance
The Center manages several projects focused on empowering women in Afghanistan. Increasing the civic and political participation of young Afghan women, in preparation for the upcoming national election and beyond, is a primary goal of current projects. On February 4-5, 2014, the Center sponsored a groundbreaking national conference on “Women and Elections” in Kabul, Afghanistan, organized and implemented by in-country partner Equality for Peace and Democracy (EPD). Over 220 women civil society leaders and activists had the opportunity to present concrete recommendations to all eleven presidential candidates or their representatives and to interact with key election and policy stakeholders during the conference. Two regional dialogues were previously held in 2013, in preparation for the national conference. The first was in Kabul in September for women from southern provinces and the second was in Mazar-e Sharif in December for women from northern provinces of Afghanistan. The goal of the dialogues was to identify the major political and societal obstacles to the participation of Afghan women in elections.
Fostering Synergies for Advancing Women’s Rights in Post-Conflict Islamic States: A Focus on Afghanistan, Egypt, and Libya (November 2013) by USIP experts, Hamid Khan, Manal Omar, Kathleen Kuehnast and Susan Hayward. This report is a product of the tenth annual U.S.–Islamic World Forum, co-convened by the Brookings Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World and the State of Qatar. It explores ways to champion and sustain progress on women’s rights amid renewed Islamic constitutionalism.
Men and Women in War and Peace
December 2 - 5, 2014
Men and women experience war differently, so it is essential to understand the dynamic impact of gender roles in conflict and post-conflict settings. Participants will practice applying a “gender lens” to peace processes and conflict prevention scenarios. Using a practical example of gender analysis and the inclusion of gender in peacebuilding, participants will apply a core set of gender analysis skills to a real-world scenario and develop their own action plans.
Top photo: Civil society actors participating in the Unlearning Violence pilot training program hosted by USIP, January 12 - 16, 2015. Photo Credit: Nicoletta Barbera