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What Women Say: Participation & UNSCR 1325: Case Study Assessment

A year-long study in six countries has found that the goals of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325, enacted 10 years ago, have not been fulfilled and that implementation is generally poor. The U.N. itself, major industrial powers, other international organizations, and conflict states have all failed to include women in peace processes and peacebuilding, two key goals of the resolution.


The study, “What the Women Say: Participation and UNSCR 1325,” was organized by the MIT Center for International Studies, Cambridge, Mass., and the International Civil Society Action Network, a NGO based in Washington DC. 


In the six countries—Aceh (Indonesia), Colombia, Israel and Palestine, Liberia, Sri Lanka, and Uganda—researchers found that the governments had essentially failed to take the necessary steps to raise women’s participation. In some of these countries, formal legislation had been enacted but had not been implemented. In others, special advisers or commissions have been created, but the offices are ineffective, politicized, or diverting resources from women NGOs. “The cases show that by limiting peace talks to only belligerents – state and non-state actors – and marginalizing peace groups, the international community is de facto legitimizing violence. ” said Sanam N. Anderlini, the study’s principal author and co-organizer of the project. “The way things are, as long as women are not a security threat, their concerns and interests will be sidelined. Peace processes are about ceasefires and power deals, not real peace.” The study was based on extensive interviews in each country, government documents, press accounts, and the experience of the study team. The work was supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Irish Aid, Forum for Women and Development, Channel Foundation, among others. The case studies were conducted by Cerue Garlo, Liberia; Shyamala Gomez, Sri Lanka; Suraiya Kamaruzzaman, Aceh; Turid Smith Polfus, Palestine/Israel; Elena Rey, Colombia; and Lina Zedriga, Uganda.