Debate

We demand quotas and more resources for women's representation

Today it is 15 years since the UN adopted Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. Peace and women's organizations have benefited greatly from it, but they are still facing a lot of opposition. Now we demand quotas and more resources for women's representation, write three representatives of Operation 1325.

Resolution 1325 was adopted 15 years ago by the UN Security Council. Since then, it has been an important instrument for peace and women's organizations in the work for women, peace and security. In Colombia, for example, a peace agreement has been reached in which women have been involved and negotiated for an end to decades of violence. In other contexts, women have also demanded to be heard and to be involved in making decisions concerning their future. Peace has been planned together with people with different experiences. The talks have also included local development, economic opportunities, how revenge can be prevented, how victims of sexual violence can be compensated and how society can handle reconciliation and peaceful coexistence between victims and perpetrators.

And the agenda continues to evolve. Following six sister resolutions with a similar theme since 2015, the Security Council adopted Resolution 2242 earlier this year, which requires that UN soldiers' sexual assaults must be resolved quickly without immunity, and draws attention to how terrorism and violent extremism use strategic sexual assaults as weapons. Unfortunately, the fact remains, over the past 15 years: It is more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in a war!

Women's participation is hampered by obstacles

The path for women's participation continues to be lined with obstacles. At the UN General Assembly meeting on 14 October this year, the global review report of Resolution 1325 was presented. But hundreds of women were excluded from this historic meeting. Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy, interim Security Council chairman, changed the meeting date so late that the failing women's organizations planning to travel there from all over the world could not come. When Rajoy also left the discussion after only ten minutes, strong criticism was directed at the fact that existing UN systems reinforce structural and economic discrimination. This shows how important comprehensive representation is to include women in the discussion of human security and human rights.

UN Women Director-General Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka has previously pointed out that it has been proven that women's leadership and representation contribute to more effective humanitarian aid, counter extremism, strengthen peacekeeping efforts and lead peace negotiations towards sustainable, inclusive peace agreements. The economic and long-term benefits of including women were also highlighted by Prime Minister Stefan Löfven in his speech to the General Assembly earlier this autumn. He said the world could not afford to waste women's labor. But for women to enter the public spaces of their societies and participate in decisions, resources are needed.

Unacceptably reduce aid for women's participation

The Swedish government has stated clear support for strengthening women in power and decision-makers in the world in their feminist foreign, security and development aid policies. Against this background, it is unacceptable to reduce the state's development assistance efforts for women's participation on the ground. The proposed settlements of Swedish development assistance would have direct negative consequences.

Human rights also include women and presuppose that women participate in local politics, in working life and in all decisions concerning the security of their countries. When women are excluded from planning their societies' education, labor market and sexual and reproductive health care, it risks leading to exploited and discriminated population groups. It can also jeopardize global security.

In order for a feminist foreign policy and policy for global development to be credible, a tightening of the rules for Swedish arms exports is also required. Today, the civilian population, including many women and children, is also affected by legal and illegal weapons.

Therefore, we want the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals 5 and 16, which deal with equality and peace, to be translated into concrete action plans with timelines, budgets and follow-up mechanisms.

Requires "every other lady"

Operation 1325 and our partner organizations working for women's participation in peace work and women's human rights, we expect more long-term support that enables longer planning horizons and commitments. The government has a responsibility to involve civil society in the security dialogue and actively nominate women for international positions and assignments.

We demand that "every other lady" applies to every dialogue for international security, to every peace negotiation and to the signing of agreements. We demand extensive resources that promote women's human rights and we propose quotas for the representation of women and civil society in mediation. Peace talks must be conducted by local people who know what concrete conditions are necessary to lead to peace agreements being translated into security on the ground.

For women to be represented and have the power to make decisions based on the worlds of women and girls, women need more chairs. Therefore, Operation 1325 supports the GQUAL campaign for more women in international courts and in high UN posts.

In addition, we propose that the UN system's selection processes be transparent and inclusive and not a club for the already initiated where vacancies are never announced before they have already been filled by a man.

That future peace agreements are signed by half women, that Sweden's aid is not nibbled on by depreciation and that the aid budget is gender-analyzed are our expectations of a feminist government. Representation of women in conflict countries is as important as Sweden having a gender-equal government.

Annika Schabbauer, Anita Klum and Eva Zetterberg

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