Blogging can be a powerful tool to raise awareness on global issues. The Women, Peace and Security Academic Collective knows it well and is using a blog campaign to draw attention on the UN’s Women, Peace and Security agenda (WPS).

WILPF is actively engaged in the implementation of the WPS agenda as a cornerstone of gender equality in the pursuit of lasting peace, and supports the 8 Days of Activism campaign launched by the collective.

On the eve of the campaign launch, we decided to publish a written interview with the Women, Peace and Security Academic Collective to know more about this important initiative.

What is the 8 Days of Activism campaign and what is the idea behind it?

“The Women, Peace and Security Academic Collective (WPSAC) is marking ‘8 days of activism’ on women, peace and security on 1-8 March ending with tie-in events on International Women’s Day (IWD).

We will publish a daily blog post on the WPSAC website, which will be re-blogged through various other sites. The blogs will focus on one of the key areas of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda: prevention, protection, participation, prosecution, political economy and peacebuilding/recovery.

We take our inspiration from the 16 Days of Activism Gender Violence. We think that the WPS agenda merits at least 8 days of activism.”

Why is the campaign taking place in March? What does the International Women’s Day mean for the WPSAC?

“The International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the progress women have made worldwide in the century since this day was first founded. It also celebrates the challenges that remain for women to have the same civil and political, and social and economic rights and opportunities as men.

We believe women’s rights to participation in peace and security institutions with the aim of preventing conflict and protecting women and girls from gender-based violence and other rights violations in conflict-affected and post-conflict settings are among these the most paramount of these remaining challenges.

Our campaign ends on 8th March to focus women and men’s attention on the day when they are probably the most receptive to reflecting on women’s rights and progress.”

Who is participating in the campaign?

“Participants are WPSAC’s 45 members, supported by Oxfam Australia, Griffith University’s Human Protection Hub (Queensland, Australia), the Gender and Global Governance Network (UK), Border Observatory (Monash University, Australia), Y-WILPF Australia and WILPF International.

The blogs are being written primarily by Australian-based academic researchers, but also by academic researchers from around the world.”

How can academics and civil society collaborate to progress, extend and challenge the WPS agenda?

8 Days of Activism campaign“Progressing the collaboration between academics and civil society organisations can increase the broader public’s awareness of WPS issues and the role their countries can play in addressing them. It also assists with building the evidence-base for more effective advocacy and lobbying to hold governments accountable and more effective policy formulation and change.

Together, academics and civil society organisations can also challenge and extend the institutional WPS agenda so that ending conflict and militarism remains a central part of the agenda.”

How can the 8 Days of Activism campaign contribute to the implementation of WPS?

“The campaign will forge collaboration between academics and civil society, in the first instance. With a press release and media attention around the International Women’s Day, it will also hopefully increase the everyday awareness of women and men in Australia of the WPS agenda, the Australian government’s responsibilities at home and abroad and the potential for Australia and other countries to take leadership on promoting this agenda.

We would like to see Australia take the opportunity of their non-permanent membership on the UN Security Council to become a strong advocate for the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325. We would like to ensure that women are present and able to participate in all formal peace negotiation processes at the international level, as well as at national and local levels as mandated by the resolution.”

The WPSAC was formed in Australia in November 2012 to consolidate and extend academic feminist efforts around the WPS agenda for the duration of Australia’s two year term on the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member (2013-14).

It aims to hold the Australian government accountable for its national and international commitments to promote the WPS agenda. Its mission is to progress, extend and challenge the WPS agenda, with the overall objective of using feminist analyses to end violence and militarism at home and abroad. Follow the 8 Days of Activism blog and facebook page.