The nature of violent conflict has radically changed over the past century. Wars are now fought on our front door steps, rather than on the front lines. As the consequences of war have shifted from combatants to civilians, the complex and variable roles that women have played in shaping and ending conflict have come into a more critical focus. Throughout the month of March, USIP will host a series of events and discussions that will look at the historical and contemporary roles of women in war and women in peace as well as current initiatives that support men as agents for positive change and peaceful masculinities.

Historically, wartime narratives have concentrated on masculine ideals – highlighting the male warriors and protectors in society. But, security does not belong just to men – and peace does not belong only to women. War and violent conflict as well as peacebuilding are highly gendered processes.

In 2000, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security to reverse the broad exclusion of women from participation in security processes and recognize that women must be critical actors in all our efforts to achieve sustainable peace and stability. USIP is in its eight year of dedicated work on these issues.

Why International Women’s Day Matters

Events in March

When Women in War Aren't Victims: A Security Blindspot
Full Event Video Available Now

Wednesday, March 1 | 10:00am-11:30am
The prototype of a woman in a war zone is still dominated by the image of a passive victims or, more recently at least, that of an activist working for peace and equal rights. Rarely do researchers and assistance efforts consider the unique role and impact of women agents of violence—combatants, spies, supporters. On March 1, the U.S. Institute of Peace held an event looking at examples from World War II, the Soviet-Afghan War and jihadi organizations to examine this blind spot in our analysis of war—and how it hampers our responses.

After War, Gender Equality Needs Investment Too
Full Event Video Available Now
Monday, March 13 | 10:00am-11:30am
Countries emerging from violent conflict face critical decisions from the outset, and the way public resources are managed and public goods and services distributed becomes crucial to sustaining the peace. In the influx of aid and technical support, the particular needs of women and girls often are overlooked. A nation’s leaders can address gender inequality from the outset by using gender analysis in drafting reconstruction budgets and establishing public finance institutions. Experts will discuss tools and mechanisms that ensure inclusion and equality.

Women in Ukraine’s “Revolution of Dignity”
Thursday, March 23 | 1:00pm-3:30pm
A panel discussion and a conversation with the director will accompany the screening of “Women of Maidan,” a documentary that tells the story of the women who became the heart of Ukraine’s 2014 revolution, now known as the “Revolution of Dignity.”

Stuck in the Man Box: Young Men and Identity
Full Event Video Available Now
Thursday, March 30 | 3:00pm-5:00pm
What does it mean to be a young man? How is a “real man” supposed to act? Is there even such a thing? Promundo, an organization that seeks to involve men in the drive for gender equality and an end to violence, worked with research partners to study how young males see these “Man Box” messages socially, and how they internalize them personally. This event will be co-hosted with Promundo and sponsored by Axe, the maker of men’s grooming products, which supported the study.

Powering Mediation with Gender in Mind: The Latest in Research, Practice and Policy
Full Event Video Available Now
Friday, March 31 | 1:30pm-3:00pm
Long excluded from decision-making on war and peace, women increasingly are participating in negotiations to resolve violent conflict at the national, international and local level. Join the U.S. Institute of Peace on Friday, March 31, to discuss recent research, practice and policy on gender and mediation.


Syrian Kurdish women and children cross back into the Kobani region of Syria through a Turkish military checkpoint on the border, at Suruc, Turkey, Sept. 24, 2014. Experts on civil wars say there are several reasons Syria is “a really, really tough case” that defies historical parallels.
Photo Courtesy of The New York Times/Bryan Denton

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