For women’s full participation in conflict resolution and peacebuilding

An initiative from Kvinna till Kvinna

Equal Power – Lasting Peace (2012)

Equal Power - Lasting Peace (2012)

The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation. Examines obstacles for women’s participation in peace processes, based on field studies made in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, DR Congo, Iraq and Liberia.

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Violence, corruption and unequal laws are some of the obstacles that keep women in conflict-torn regions from participating on equal terms with men in peace processes. Another big part of the problem is that the international community gives priority to men for senior positions in peace operations. These are some of the findings of The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation’s report Equal Power – Lasting Peace.

“We have to achieve gender equality in society. We will then acquire power, which will give us the means to achieve sustainable peace.” Quote from a Bosnian woman peace activist.

How are transitions from war to peace made? Who has the power to build peace? Who decides what the peace should entail?

Equal Power – Lasting Peace explores obstacles to women’s participation in peace and democracy processes in regions affected by armed conflict. Equal Power – Lasting Peace addresses the gaps between words and practice in peace building by gathering experiences and knowledge from 79 women peace builders working in five different conflict contexts: Bosnia and Herzegovina, DR Congo, Iraq, Liberia and Armenia/Azerbaijan/Nagorno-Karabakh. They have a wealth of concrete experience of how exclusion works in practice and what windows of opportunity may open.

In all the regions women and women’s organizations play important roles in resolving conflicts in local communities and in handling everyday life. But when it comes to formal decision forums the doors are closed for women. This contrary to the statements of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which emphasizes that women must participate on the same terms as men in all parts of peace processes, for the peace to be sustainable.

As the quote above from a Bosnian woman peace activist illustrates, there are intimate connections between gender, power and peace. The aim of Equal Power – Lasting Peace is to explore these interconnections and in addition, to contribute to a better understanding of the power gaps that prevent women’s participation in peace processes. The report also presents recommendations to the international community and to women’s organisations on how to act to change the current unequal participation of women in peace processes.