Why A 15 Year Old UN Resolution On Women In Conflict Is Still Just A Piece Of Paper

Posted on November 3, 2015 in GlobeScope

By Anubha Bhonsle

The meaningful UN 1325 resolution remains an important framework, yet detached from the millions of lives it hopes to touch. In 15 years of its existence, the resolution remains a paper tiger of sorts. Can a resolution as lofty and important as this one be a living document-easy, accessible, robust and in sync with the most pressing needs of women it seeks to stand for?

A quick reckoner: In 2000, the United Nations Security Council formally acknowledged through the creation of Resolution 1325 the changing nature of warfare, in which civilians were targeted, and women continued to be excluded from participation in peace processes. Women in peace and security was an idea and a reality needed much before 2000, but the UN resolution gave a much-needed framework on which the future could be built.

In the last decade and a half has the 1325 and the allied resolutions made strident progress bringing women, their perspectives and their various unique needs into peace and security? The answer would be a definite NO.

Among the many things discussed at the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security workshop for the Fulbright Humphrey Fellows was the reiteration and possibly the gaps that prevent Resolution 1325 from having a far-reaching impact.

1. Women are not a monolithic group. The perception of being ‘less threatening’, ‘less corrupt’, even the perception of incompetence has either kept women away from the peace table or has prevented them from making meaningful interventions.

2. The idea is not to merely add women to the table and stir the pot hoping magical solutions will come. Women at the negotiating table have often spoken of wanting to be negotiators first who are sensitive to matters related to gender.

3. Apply the gender lens and take into account the multiple and complex roles women play during conflict and the disproportionate burden on them in times of conflict. Understand that women experience conflict not just as victims of sexual violence.

4. Acknowledge that peacemaking in its current format isn’t really working.

5. Recognizing the changing nature of conflict and the many fronts battles are being fought on. There is conflict, propaganda, recruitment and even tweet justice on social media forums. There is also naming and shaming here.

6. And my favorite of all, as articulated by Mayesha Alam, ‘just because women are in power does not mean women are empowered‘.

(For those wondering what the UN 1325 is and what it seeks to do I recommend a quick glance at this)