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 resolution in these countries as well as its potential in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Summary

  • The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1325 in October 2000. The resolution is not being utilized consistently across the studied nations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. This disparity exists not only among the five nations examined by this report but also within each nation.
  • Internally, there are differences among women and men in their support for the resolution and a Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda due to factors such as rural/urban divides, religious/secular affiliations, and socioeconomic status.
  • Resolution 1325 offers a “common language” and approach for unifying efforts toward ending violence against women in the MENA region post-Arab Spring and promoting advancement toward gender equality.
  • Women’s organizations have benefitted from 1325 because of international funding for related projects which they have struggled to obtain from local governments.
  • Passage and implementation of National Action Plans (NAPs) by governments in the studied nations have proven difficult, largely due to insufficient political will, a dearth of governmental leadership and buy-in, and a lack of necessary and targeted resources. General unawareness is a major obstacle to both launching viable campaigns for 1325 and recruiting actors necessary for its implementation.
  • For real change to occur, male and female leaders need to embrace values of gender justice that are recognized to be in the national interest of all.
  • As conflicts in the region persist and economic inequality deepens, governments are prioritizing responses to the economic, political, and security crises in ways that preserve the status quo. As a result, women are pushed to the periphery.
  • It is crucial that both men and women see the strong connection between implementation of the objectives of 1325 and long-term national security and economic development.

About the Report

This report examines the implementation of UNSCR 1325, what it has accomplished, and its potential in Egypt, Iraq, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and Tunisia fifteen years after being passed by the United Nations Security Council. To understand the successes and challenges of 1325 in each nation, one-on-one interviews were conducted as a key part of this research. Interviewees included female and male academics, activists, government officials, and nongovernmental leaders. The report distills lessons and recommendations that are applicable to the Middle East and North Africa region and those relevant to particular nations. The report’s findings aim to deepen the recognition and application of the essential linkages between advancing gender equality and creating sustainable national security and peace.

About the Authors

Paula M. Rayman is the director of the Middle East Center for Peace, Development and Culture at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Seth Izen is the assistant director of the Middle East Center for Peace, Development and Culture. Emily Parker is a research fellow and consultant on the Middle East.

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