South Sudanese soldiers allowed to rape women in lieu of wages and an UN Security Council resolution that calls for the repatriation of peacekeeping units whose troops face allegations of sexual abuse. These are the most recent (almost uncovered) news that give evidence of the widespread and systemic sexual exploitation and abuse that occurs not only during conflicts, but also in conflict resolution operations. Atrocities that a group of women from all over the world are trying to fight, increasing female role in the field of international security. A group of women who can now count on the Italian branch, just launched in the Italian Senate by Lia Quartapelle, a Democratic Party young MP, and Irene Fellin, a very active gender expert, Executive Director of Women in International Security (WIIS). «While living in the States working on gender, I was fascinated by WIIS activity and I found my mission: come back home to create the Italian branch» said Irene.
Women in International Security, WIIS, is the premier organization in the world dedicated to advance the leadership and professional development of women in the field of international peace and security. Since its founding in 1987, WIIS (pronounced “wise”) has worked to advance female role in the field of international security. At the beginning, it was just a small group of women in senior positions in the U.S. government and academia trying to respond to the lack of support for women in the male dominated foreign policy and defense environment, but it has grown fast.
With members in more than 47 countries, WIIS is now a network of 7,000 associated experts worldwide, reflecting a broad and diverse range of expertise. Their object is to increase female representation in decision making positions, in order to provide a diverse expertise and perspective that is desperately needed in the field of international security. In fact, even if not all women share the same opinion about how to address the world’s security problem, they often share common experiences and challenges. Academia is full of research demonstrating that women in position of authority often share consultative, inclusive, and collaborative leadership styles, but the contributions that women have made and could potentially make to international peace and security are just beginning to be recognized.
UNSCR 1325, from its implementation do date
Until now the most important victory was the one obtained in October 2000, when the UNSCR 1325 was adopted. It was a response – asked by many women’s groups – to the violent conflict that erupted in the 1990s. UNSCR 1325 recognized the changing face of conflicts in the aftermath of the Cold War and the importance of considering evolving gender dynamics when dealing with international peace and security issues. It also underscored the importance of considering gender equality in all Security Council actions that deal with the maintenance and restoration of peace. Recognizing that gender inequalities impede the establishment of durable and sustainable peace, UNSCR 1325 recommends addressing these imbalances at all levels: political, operational, strategic, and tactical. It also called on member states to recognize gender imbalances and to ensure the full participation of women in peace and post conflict reconstruction efforts.
In 2004 and 2015 the UN Security Council called on UN member states to implement UNSCR 1325 through the development of Regional and National Action Plans. Since 2007, NATO and NATO member states have committed to the implementation of this resolution. But 15 years later, how much progress has been made?
According to the Report Gender Mainstreaming. Indicators for the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 and Its Related Resolutions, a report by Chantal de Jonge Oudraat, Sonja Stjanovic-Gajic, Carolyn Washington and Brooke Stedman, even if there have been important results, at the national level the implementation of these policies has lagged. National implementation of UNSCR 1325 within the armed forces of NATO allies is generally ad hoc and unsystematic and for many soldiers gender perspectives remain a foreign concept. Too many civilians and military personnel remain unfamiliar with the principles underlying the resolution and its follow-on resolutions, most commonly referred to as the Women, Peace and Security agenda. This is one of the reason why WIIS suggests NATO members and partners states to appoint a Gender Advisor (Genad) at the Commander level.
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