By Maria Butler, Director of Global Programmes, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) 1
The OECD policy paper Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Fragile and Conflict-affected Situations (October 2017) demands a “fundamental shift in perspective on gender.” It challenges the donor community to understand gender and conflict more holistically, more deeply and more politically with a strong focus on women as agents of change. It is a must-read for all policy makers and donors alike. However, an important aspect missed in this paper is the importance of feminist movements and how to leverage local feminist movements for change. Women are working at the frontlines of peace, development, humanitarian aid and human rights. Here are three reasons why feminist movements are central to fostering more peaceful and secure societies.
First, there is proof. One of the most compelling research findings on political violence is that societies with more equality between men and women tend to be more peaceful. Research on violence against women in 70 countries also reveals that the most important and consistent factor driving policy change is feminist activism. Furthermore, when women are included in peace processes, the probability of an agreement lasting at least 15 years increases 35% (Global Study 2015). Continue reading