The U.S. Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Act of 2017 is one of the most comprehensive WPS laws in the world. It is intended to help transform government structures to support women’s leadership and meaningful engagement in ending conflict and creating sustainable peace. Building on WPS principles introduced through the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325, the WPS Act underscores women’s full participation in society as a means to achieve better security, health and economic outcomes, as well as more successful peace processes.

As one of the four primary U.S. departments and agencies tasked with creating detailed strategies on WPS implementation in 2020, the Department of Defense is working to prioritize the perspectives, safety, and meaningful participation of women across all facets of national security. Additionally, the department is mainstreaming a gender perspective into DoD plans, operations, activities, and investments. For the DoD, this initiative is critical for successfully addressing the complex security challenges the United States faces. 

USIP and the Department of Defense hosted a discussion on the military’s progress and commitment to implementing the WPS agenda in their operations. To inform and strengthen engagement between the U.S. government and civil society organizations, the discussion also included key questions from the U.S. Civil Society Working Group on WPS (USCSWG). The USCSWG is a USIP-hosted nonpartisan network of over 50 civil society organizations with expertise on the disproportionate impact of conflict on women and the importance of their participation in peacebuilding. 

Continue the conversation on Twitter with #WomenPeaceandSecurity.

Speakers

Lise Grande, welcoming remarks
President and CEO, U.S. Institute of Peace

Kathleen H. Hicks
Deputy Secretary of Defense 

Admiral Craig S. Faller
Commander, United States Southern Command, U.S. Department of Defense

Lieutenant General Thomas A. Bussiere
Deputy Commander, United States Strategic Command, U.S. Department of Defense

Lieutenant General Michael A. Minihan
Deputy Commander, United States Indo-Pacific Command, U.S. Department of Defense

Ambassador Andrew Young
Deputy to the Commander for Civil-Military Engagement, Africa Command, U.S. Department of State

Brigadier General Rebecca J. Sonkiss
Deputy Director for Counter Threats and International Cooperation on the Joint Staff, J5, U.S. Department of Defense 

Valerie Hudson
Distinguished Professor and George H.W. Bush Chair, Texas A&M University

Kathleen Kuehnast, moderator
Director, Gender Policy and Strategy, U.S. Institute of Peace

Related Publications

How the Taliban’s Hijab Decree Defies Islam

How the Taliban’s Hijab Decree Defies Islam

Thursday, May 12, 2022

By: Belquis Ahmadi;  Mohammad Osman Tariq

The Taliban continued this week to roll back Afghan women’s rights by decreeing women must be fully covered from head to toe — including their faces — to appear in public. This follows decrees limiting women’s ability to work, women’s and girls’ access to education and even limiting their freedom of movement. Afghan women are rapidly facing the worst-case scenario many feared when the Taliban took over last summer. While the Taliban justify these moves as in accordance with Islam, they are, in fact, contradicting Islamic tradition and Afghan culture as the group looks to resurrect the full control they had over women and girls when they ruled in the 1990s.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

GenderHuman RightsReligion

Protecting the Participation of Women Peacebuilders

Protecting the Participation of Women Peacebuilders

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

By: Negar Ashtari Abay, Ph.D.;  Kathleen Kuehnast, Ph.D.

Worsening violence against women is often a precursor to — and early outcome of — the rise in coups and authoritarianism that have made recent headlines. Not only does protecting women’s participation in public life and decision-making go hand-in-hand with democracy, but the former is actually a precondition for the latter. As we mark International Women’s Day in 2022, we would do well to remember that global efforts to prevent violent conflict and sustain peace are significantly undermined when women are deterred from access to participation and full leadership without fear of reprisals and violence. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

GenderPeace Processes

Peaceful Masculinities: Religion and Psychosocial Support Amid Forced Displacement

Peaceful Masculinities: Religion and Psychosocial Support Amid Forced Displacement

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

By: Negar Ashtari Abay, Ph.D.;  Andrés Martínez;  Carolina Buendia Sarmiento

The number of people displaced globally due to conflict and violence nearly doubled between 2010 and 2020 from 41 million to 78.5 million, the highest number on record. Forced displacement, within and across national borders, exposes persons to stressful events and trauma, making psychosocial support a critical part of successful integration in new communities and societies. Those forcibly displaced include women and girls, men and boys, and gender and sexual minorities.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

GenderReligion

View All Publications