WILPF Advocacy Documents


Integrating a Gender Perspective into the Treaty on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises

Extraterritorial Obligations | Human Rights
20 October 2017
Document type:
Position, Statement
Body submitted to:
IGWG on TNCs and other business enterprises

Joint written contribution by 14 organisations*, including WILPF, submitted to the third session of the UN Open-ended intergovernmental working group (IGWG) on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights.

In this submission we emphasise why it is imperative to integrate a gender perspective into a legally binding instrument that is being drafted in the IGWG. It focuses on three key areas: mandatory gender impact assessments of the impacts on human rights of business operations; gender sensitive justice and remedy mechanisms; and ensuring respect, protection and an enabling environment for women human rights defenders.

Integrating a gender perspective is not about treating women as a “vulnerable group”; it should not be a separate “tick the box” exercise; and it is not only about women and girls. Integrating a gender approach into the treaty means analysing how businesses activities may have different, disproportionate, or unanticipated impacts on women or men, as a result of their different gender-based social, legal, cultural roles. This approach is essential to the very purpose of the prospective treaty if it is to put the concerns of rights holders at the centre and to ensure the effective prevention, protection from and remediation of business-related violations harms for all.

*Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)

Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)

Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)

Centro De Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS)

Centro Regional De Derechos Humanos y Justicia de Genero (HUMANAS)

Conectas Direitos Humanos

Food First Information and Action Network (FIAN) International

FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights)

Friends of the Earth Europe (FOEE)

Friends of the Earth International (FOEI)

International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW Asia Pacific)

International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)

Project on Organizing, Development, Education, and Research (PODER)

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.