Power to Women in Peace Processes

Women's Organisations Cooperating in Realising Resolution 1325

Operation 1325's president Maj-Britt Theorin was present in discussions brought up by the OSCE concerning the involvement of women in battling terrorism. Here sharing the seat with Khizra Dhinsa from the Chief Police Officers of England and Wales.
FOTO: OSCE/Mehdi Knani

OSCE highlights need to involve women in counterterrorism

Last week in Vienna, the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe) arranged a two-day expert meeting to discuss ways of empowering women in countering violent radicalisation leading to terrorism. Operation 1325's president Maj-Britt Theorin was one of the invited experts, and spoke about the important role of women in conflict and how Operation 1325 works with this issue.

In her speech, Theorin lifted several factors that limit women's involvement in working against terrorism. “War is the story of men, virility and violence. War creates solidarity between men for values formulated by men”. In a polarized world where men make the political decisions, the authoritative statements and take part in media – it is hard for women to talk about non-violence as an alternative solution to conflict. To not be a strong supporter of war is perceived as doubtful and decreases one's reliability.

Ignoring resolution 1325

With this statement, Theorin highlighted how resolution 1325 is often ignored. She describes that the resolution clearly "demands that women shall have the right to decide on the whole peace process", but is seldom followed properly. She also promoted the participation of women, with specific emphasis on countries where women's rights are weak. As resolution 1325 states that women must be a part of the decision making processes in conflict, there is a need to demand more tangible goals to include women in peace and conflict processes.

Civil society engagement

Both Theorin and the rest of the present experts agreed that women's organisations have a central role when it comes to pushing forward the agenda of women's participation in counterterrorism. Elaine Hargrove from Sisters Against Violent Extremism (SAVE) says that "Women are strategically positioned to help raise awareness about the threat of violent extremism and to empower their communities to reduce the appeal of extremist ideologies". Maj-Britt Theorin agrees, and puts forward the work of Operation 1325 as an important example of strengthening the capacity of civil society organisations and making them aware of the rights that resolution 1325 provides.

To view an artcile on the expert meeting, click here.

Operation 1325