The U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security (U.S. CSWG) is a non-partisan network of civil society organizations with expertise on the impacts of women in war and their participation in peacebuilding. Established in 2010, the working group is an engaged coalition to promote the effective implementation of the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.

women standing

What is Women, Peace and Security?

Women, Peace and Security (WPS) is a U.S. government policy that recognizes that women must be critical actors in all our efforts to achieve sustainable international peace and security. WPS promotes a gendered perspective and women’s equal and meaningful participation in peace processes, peacebuilding and state-building.

The Women, Peace and Security Agenda evolved from the U.N. Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 that the U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted on October 25, 2000.

UNSCR 1325 addresses not only the disproportionate impacts of war on women, but also the pivotal role women should and do play in conflict management, conflict resolution and sustainable peace efforts. UNSCR 1325’s framework is comprised of four pillars—participation, protection, prevention, and relief and recovery.

In a statement in 2005, the Security Council called upon U.N. Member States to continue implementing UNSCR 1325 through the development of National Action Plans (NAPs). These national strategies are a tool for member states to determine their priorities and detail actions they will take to implement the objectives of UNSCR 1325. As of October 2016, sixty-three countries have created and adopted NAPs.

In December 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order instituting a U.S. National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace and Security, making the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda an official national policy.

The U.S. NAP calls for women’s inclusion in five major areas:

  • National integration and institutionalization
  • Participation in peace processes and decision-making
  • Protection form violence
  • Conflict prevention
  • Access to relief and recovery

Current Work

Strengthening Engagement between the U.S. Government and U.S. Civil Society

With the 2016 change in the U.S. administration, the U.S. CSWG is developing a series of thematic and regional policy briefs on key topics to better inform policymakers and government agencies on ways to continue the U.S. commitment and implementation of the U.S. NAP. To supplement the briefs, the project also includes a policy paper outlining key recommendations for the first 100 days of the new administration, and meetings and roundtables to inform and advise senior officials and members of the security think tank community.

U.S. CSWG Engagement

U.S. Government Representatives
As the “go-to” group of civil society experts on women, peace and security, the U.S. CSWG engages with U.S. government agencies including, the National Security Council, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Department of Defense through consultations, publications and roundtable discussions.

Policymakers
Member organizations of the U.S. CSWG are uniquely positioned to explain the history, rationale, relevance and utility of the women, peace and security agenda in U.S. foreign policy. The U.S. CSWG works to ensure that the WPS agenda is incorporated into legislative documents and actions through regular engagement with key members of Congress and their staffers.

Practitioners
Since its establishment in July 2010, the working group has facilitated over 30 public events and off the record consultations with national and international civil servants, policymakers and civil society to advance the women, peace, and security agenda in the United States and around the world.

U.S. CSWG timeline of events

Publications and Reports

As a key resource for learning and the exchange of lessons learned between and among civil society and government agencies, the U.S. CSWG publishes policy briefs and reports to inform and shape the policy community’s discussions on the U.S. NAP.

Member Organizations

The U.S. Institute of Peace acts as the non-partisan, independent secretariat of the working group. Because the U.S. CSWG’s members are primarily non-governmental and academic institutions, the non-partisan nature of USIP has been vital to the group’s success and allowed organizations across the political spectrum to join and participate in the working group.

Member Highlights

Working group members are producing an increasing amount of resources to aid policy shapers and other civil society organizations in their efforts to advance the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Below is a sample of resources that members have recently produced.

Visit the U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace and Security’s webpage to get additional information on our member organizations and the working group’s history.

Related Publications

Why International Women’s Day Matters

Why International Women’s Day Matters

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

By: Kathleen Kuehnast, Ph.D.

When Mahatma Gandhi was leader of the Indian National Congress in 1921, he advocated for women’s rights as key to modernizing Indian society. He understood that you cannot change a society peacefully without turning to women, half of the population, to make it happen. In an open letter in 1930, he wrote, “If nonviolence is the law of our being, the future is with women.” It was a radical idea at the time to make women, who usually are invisible, visible. It’s still radical today.

Gender; Justice, Security & Rule of Law

Women, Peace, and Security in Pakistan

Women, Peace, and Security in Pakistan

Thursday, February 16, 2017

By: Zeenia Faraz

A society defined by patriarchal norms and structural inequalities keeps women and girls on the margins of the society and hinders women’s participation in public and political spheres. Yet women’s participation in decisions related to peace and security in the country is essential to peacebuilding and postconflict reconstruction. This brief examines the challenges in implementing the women, peace, and security framework in Pakistan.

Gender; Violent Extremism; Justice, Security & Rule of Law

UNSCR 1325 in the Middle East and North Africa: Women and Security

UNSCR 1325 in the Middle East and North Africa: Women and Security

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

By: Paula M. Rayman; Seth Izen; Emily Parker

The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1325 fifteen years ago. The resolution addresses the disproportionate impact war has on women and reaffirms their important role in conflict management, conflict resolution, and sustainable peace processes. This report pulls from interviews conducted with academics, activists, government officials, and nongovernmental leaders in Egypt, Iraq, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and Tunisia. It examines the benefits and challenges of the re...

Gender; Violent Extremism; Global Policy; Justice, Security & Rule of Law

Women Charting a New Course on Peace and Security

Women Charting a New Course on Peace and Security

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

By: Kathleen Kuehnast, Ph.D.; Danielle Robertson

The fact that Afghanistan’s parliament has 69 female members, 27 percent of the total, illustrates the advances, albeit still tenuous, that are possible with determined efforts to support the protection and empowerment of women. At the same time, women worldwide still suffer disproportionately from conflict and violent extremism. In the run-up to International Women’s Day on March 8, USIP has collected statistics and the observations of global leaders to illustrate hard-won achievements and the devastating gaps that remain.

Gender; Human Rights; Justice, Security & Rule of Law

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