20 Years Since Beijing: What does Transformation look like?
By Abigail Ruane, PeaceWomen Program Manager
In a year of anniversaries, where much is promised and more expected, “transformative” is becoming a buzzword—even a meme. But what does it mean?
In the context of dismaying violence in Yemen and Tunisia and qualms over a two-state solution in Israel, entrenched violence and injustice seems more apparent than transformation.
After a whirlwind last couple of weeks at the 59th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 59) and the 20th anniversary of Beijing (Beijing+20), the question of what transformation looks like lingers in my mind. As Isabelle Geuskens of the Women Peacemakers Program asked, “We got our resolutions, but what about our revolution?”
Transformation is a tricky term. It has almost unlimited potential. However, its ability to live up to this potential is ultimately anchored to it’s user’s privilege and perspective.
This year’s CSW political declaration is a case in point. The declaration calls for “transformation” of gender stereotypes, yet WILPF joined over 900 organizations in pointing out that the declaration threatens a major step backward and that efforts must be substantially ramped up “to achieve the goals of fully realizing gender equality, the human rights and empowerment of all women and girls everywhere.” Echoing this, current negotiations over the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have promised “transformative” change that “leaves no one behind”; yet the SDGs are at risk of being corrupted by an expansion of corporate power in the name of sustainable development. As WILPF has repeatedly reminded states, the Women, Peace and Security Agenda commits to addressing root causes of armed conflict; yet countries continue to fail to put their money where their mouth is: global military spending ($1.7 trillion) is thirteen times more than development aid (about $130 billion), much less development justice.
How can we move forward and go beyond adding women to changing the whole war system for peace? How can we take action for change that women human rights defenders can see and feel?
At CSW 59, WILPF Secretary General Madeleine Rees put out a call to action: it is time, she demanded, to “rethink, strategize, organize and make a difference.”
Feminist human rights and peace leaders at CSW 59 refused to accept a stagnating status quo and reignited their determination for creative mobilization for structurally transformative change. With the Post2015 Women’s Coalition, we launched a vision of feminist sustainable development that rejects the current militarist, extractivist, neoliberal economic model and instead invests in development designed for gender justice, gender equitable distribution of power, wealth, and resources, and sustainable nonviolence, environmental restoration and peace. WILPF’s events at CSW 59 created space to cultivate a conversation on what addressing root causes of violence can look like.
At WILPF’s 100th anniversary Women’s Power to Stop War conference in the Hague 27-29 April 2015 we will take the next step to mobilize feminist peace leaders for creative action for peace and gender justice.
To change the world, we need all of us!
We invite you to join us as we craft a vision and strategy for the next century for gender justice and peace activism.
See you in the Hague!
by Madhuri Sastry
We are barely a month away from celebrating our centennial! Hundreds of powerful peacemakers will be congregating at the Hague, and we invite you to come to usher in a new era of peace activism with us! Registration for the Conference is open until April 19th 2015. After online registration has closed, you will still be able to buy your ticket directly at the Conference at our registration desk.
Our list of speakers is now public! The line up includes Radhika Coomaraswamy, Lead Author of the UN Global Study on Women, Peace and Security and the first UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee, and WILPF Secretary General Madeleine Rees. Check out what's in store for the Conference Program, and learn more about some of our other key speakers.
There are many other ways to get involved. Do you know someone who would like to volunteer? See the Volunteer Program here. Join the Thunderclap campaign and help us spread the word about the peace conference of the century.
We look forward to seeing you in the Hague!
by Ghazal Rahmanpanah
2015 is a monumental year for the Women, Peace and Security agenda, marking the 15th anniversary of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and the Security Council High-Level Review of Women, Peace and Security. Now more than ever, it is critical to take action by recognizing and addressing existing gaps, amplifying the voices of grassroots organizations worldwide focused on the Women, Peace and Security agenda, and increasing opportunities for women’s meaningful participation and rights in both conflict prevention and peacebuilding.
You can get involved by being a part of the 2015 Global Study! If you are a civil society activist working on gender, conflict, or Women, Peace and Security issues, you can:
Now is the time that we turn our commitments into accomplishments through engagement and mobilization as we work hard to forge a new peace agenda for the 21st century. Make sure your voice is heard—submit to both the Survey and Resources by March 31st .
by Prachi Rao
Over 40 WILPFers joined thousands of activists at the 59th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) to reflect on the Beijing agreement. Twenty years after the landmark conference, commitments on gender, conflict, and peace remain lacking: women’s participation and rights continue to be excluded from peace negotiations. Militarism and armed conflict continue to negatively impact women’s rights and inhibit sustainable development and peace. Inconsistent implementation of human rights, disarmament, and Women, Peace and Security commitments continue.
WILPF held and co-sponsored 14 events in total during this year's CSW. Our panels showcased the powerful voices of women working for peace, disarmament, and women's rights from around the world. WILPF's Secretary General, Madeleine Rees, spoke at many of our events stressing that there can be no development without disarmament and reiterating the importance of having women's participation in peace negotiations for sustainable and long-lasting peace. At WILPF’s Civil Society Consultation, she stressed that peace activists must “rethink, strategize, organize and make a difference”, so that twenty years from now we are not demanding the same things.
Stay tuned for the CSW59 photo series, infographic, and read the CSW59 blog here.
by Ghazal Rahmanpanah
According to the Secretary-General during a Security Council briefing in early February, “Yemen is collapsing before our eyes.” As the country faces potential civil war, possible economic collapse, and rising violence, the current situation is only further exacerbated by the devastating reality facing women throughout Yemen. The current crisis means that the ongoing, systematic discrimination facing Yemen’s women will only worsen as women continue to be absent from the negotiations and peace processes overall. WILPF has pressed the Security Council to take decisive action on this issue and to ensure implementation of Women, Peace and Security agenda in how the Council deals with the evolving crisis situation in Yemen. To learn more about our recommendations to the Security Council, read our advocacy letter here.