Women’s participation in previous peace negotiations in Yemen have so far been excluded. Operation 1325, together with three Yemeni partner organizations will gather women’s opinions and needs in a peace declaration and deliver it to relevant stake holders. The project strives for the inclusion of women in coming peace processes, while simultaneously contributing to women’s empowerment within other sectors in the country.
The international project began 1st of September 2021 and aims to enable women from Yemeni civil society to influence stake holders and decision makers in peace processes in Yemen to include women. Since the conflict broke out in 2014, peace processes have been initiated on several occasions but have so far not reached a lasting solution. Operation 1325, together with three Yemini partner organizations, All Girls Foundation, Sister’s Arab Forum and Mawada will together work towards promoting the inclusion of women in the peace processes and thus sustainable peace for the country were women, children and men’s needs and rights are accounted for.
The peace negotiations between the two conflicting actors, the government of Yemen and the Houthi rebels, have so far excluded Yemeni women as a result of the strong patriarchal structures in the country. All partners in the project understand the importance of UNSCR 1325. To reach sustainable peace, including women’s perspective is a prerequisite, as is applying a gender perspective and highlighting women’s particularly vulnerable situation in conflict.
Expectations & Excitements
Intisar Aladhi, one of the founders of All Girls Foundation, founded in 2003, is very excited about the project. “I look forward to the end of the project when I get to take the voice of thousands of women to the decision makers and ask for peace and stability in the country, I am very excited to let the decision makers know that women have a voice” she explains enthusiastically referring to the collected opinions which will be gathered and compiled into the final “Women’s Peace Declaration”, which will be handed to the relevant stake holders and decisionmakers.
Intisar Aladhi describes the patriarchal structure of Yemen and why their traditions and customs centred around women only taking care of the household prevents the important voices of women reaching the public sphere and development processes. She believes for Yemen to move forward as a nation, women must have an active role in all sectors of Yemeni society.
“This project is a great opportunity for us to reach the women, to reach their voice, and we will listen. Really listen. It is very valuable for us as an organization and for the women of Yemen to connect in this capacity, not only to interact about peace processes but to let them be heard and learn about their challenges and opinions”.
The voices of these women, together with activists from civil society are going to reach thousands more Yemeni women through the use of social media. Operation 1325 and the partner organizations are hoping for this to encourage women to understand that their voice matter, their opinions are heard and their opinions and influence matters just as much as anyone else’s.
The women have a particularly vulnerable position in society, but they are also strong agents capable of working towards a stronger Yemen for all, Aladhi continues. “To reach positive development in Yemen we need peace, but peace cannot be reached without development” she says referring to the importance of women’s rights being a priority in the country. “The project does not only enable the women to participate in the peace process but will also allow us to work with other goals in the Agenda 2030, especially the reduction of poverty and women’s empowerment.” The situation in Yemen is complex and difficult to navigate, both the conflict and the women’s situation in the country, but this project gives hope and a possibility for women to interact with each other and make their voices heard.