USIP's Work on Gender
Violent conflict and extremism have different impacts on men and women, and understanding those distinctive effects is critical for designing effective peacebuilding approaches and ensuring greater gender equality and protection for women and girls. Over the past two decades, international organizations and the U.S. government have increasingly recognized the importance of gender equality in creating enduring, peaceful societies. The U.S. Institute of Peace advances scholarship, carries out programs on the ground, and informs policy on issues of gender, peace and security. USIP works with academics, the military, peacekeepers, diplomats and practitioners to advance women’s participation in decision-making, promote peaceful concepts of masculinity and prevent sexual violence in conflict.
Learn more in our fact sheet on USIP's Work on Gender.
With the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Act of 2017, the United States is the only country in the world to codify into law women’s critical role in building peace and security. The law requires the Department of Defense, among several U.S. government agencies, to create strategies that prioritize the perspectives, safety and meaningful participation of women across all facets of national security — a critical factor in addressing the complex challenges facing the United States.
Samia Suluhu Hassan, who became Tanzania’s sixth president this month following the death of her predecessor, has an opportunity to promote stability for her nation of 58 million people, say analysts and women activists in East Africa. As Tanzania confronts COVID and political division, Hassan could expand a history of African women leaders who have advanced stability and peace in moments of crisis. Her elevation also could boost grassroots movements across East Africa—including a new network of women leaders in Tanzania—that are strengthening peace and security through greater inclusion of women in public life.
Thousands of women rallied across Pakistan on International Women’s Day this year and demanded an end to violence against women and gender minorities. In the days since, Pakistan’s Taliban movement has escalated the threats facing the women who marched. Opponents of women’s rights doctored a video of the rally to suggest that the women had committed blasphemy—an accusation that has been frequently weaponized against minorities in Pakistan and has resulted in vigilantes killing those who are targeted.
USIP’s Women Preventing Violent Extremism (WPVE) program aims to shape national policies and community approaches to countering violent extremism in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel. USIP does this by empowering women-led organizations and building local capacity that fosters collaboration between community-level activists and national-level policymakers.
USIP’s Women Building Peace Award honors the inspiring work of women peacebuilders whose courage, leadership, and commitment to peace stand out as beacons of strength and hope—women like Rita M. Lopidia of South Sudan, the recipient of the inaugural 2020 Women Building Peace Award.
USIP has developed a series of Action Guides focused on religion and conflict analysis, mediation, reconciliation and gender-inclusive religious peacebuilding in collaboration with the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers and the Salam Institute for Peace and Justice. These Action Guides provide a practical overview of the religious peacebuilding field and the role religion plays in driving both conflict and peace, examples of how religious actors and institutions have contributed to the prevention and resolution of conflict, and considerations for how best to engage the religious sector in peacebuilding.