Women, Peace, and Security Programme

WILPF’s Women, Peace and Security Programme ensures that international peace and security efforts work for women. The Programme, also known under the name PeaceWomen, promotes feminist perspectives on peace and security by advocating for women’s participation, transforming gendered power and bridging local experience and gender analysis with global efforts.

The Programme also provides recognised leadership that bridges the feminist movement and the peace movement on issues of peace and security.

“We showed that a strong foundation for peace is possible when gendered root cause analysis is integrated into peace agreements.”

Shape a feminist security council

The United Nations Security Council is responsible for maintaining peace and security worldwide. It also has a unique responsibility to implement the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. Yet it is commonly recognised that the Security Council still has far to go to live up to its mandate and engage in effective action.

WILPF advocates for a Feminist Security Council, which listens to women from communities affected by conflict and adopts their solutions, prioritises disarmament and adopts gender analysis as a way of thinking. Such a Council would not find itself with an ever-growing list of urgent conflicts on its agenda, but rather possess the tools to prevent them.

This work aims at advancing a radical shift from the top-down business-as-usual approach towards the Council that builds sustainable and democratic peace, with local women’s leadership and rights at the core. Only when the Security Council starts to actively address the root causes of violence can it succeed in the mission it was established to accomplish.

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Amplify Women’s Root Cause Analysis

What makes conflicts erupt, and what makes them escalate? How do we prevent war and create sustainable peace? Scholars, diplomats and politicians have pondered over these questions, but far too rarely have they made time to listen to the women who have lived through war and conflict. The women who hold many of the answers.

Making the concerns of local women peace activists heard in international forums is at the core of WILPF’s work. We provide spaces for women from conflict-affected regions to share their analysis of the root causes of violence with world leaders and what action is needed. WILPF’s work streams include assisting delegations to annual UN conferences, such as the UNSCR 1325 Anniversary, the Commission on the Status of Women, and the High-Level Political Forum, as well as ongoing engagement of women local peace activists with the UN Security Council.

We believe that an inclusive bottom-up approach is the only way to effectively prevent conflicts. And women’s perspectives are key. Women have unique insights on the drivers of conflict and the early warning signals that can be used to detect them. They know what action is needed both in their own communities and at the global level.

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Strengthen Accountability on
Participation and Conflict Prevention

The United Nations and its Member States have a responsibility to implement the Women, Peace and Security Agenda across different areas of work, including sustainable development, disarmament and conflict prevention. The principles of Women, Peace and Security must be at the centre of the conversations. Implementing its Agenda will advance sustainable peace and ensure security that works for women by avoiding instrumentalisation of women and girls and ensuring women’s participation and gender analysis.

The WPS Agenda cannot be addressed as a separate priority, it has to be integrated across all areas of work. Women’s participation and gender analysis have proven to be too important to be taken lightly. This is why WILPF is working actively to strengthen accountability on these issues and put pressure on the UN and its Member States to deliver on their responsibilities and commitments.

We provide independent and transparent monitoring of UN bodies and Member States, tracking how they live up to their obligations. Our tools and publications can be used by civil society organisations around the world to hold their governments accountable and ensure the effective implementation of the WPS Agenda globally, regionally and nationally.

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Provide Innovative Tools and Resources
to Advance Women, Peace and Security

When it comes to changing the world, knowledge truly is power. WILPF develops tools and gathers resources on the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda. Every day, we strive to find new and innovative ways to make this knowledge easily accessible to anyone who wants to learn more and make a difference.

We develop policy materials and create graphics, indexes, scorecards and maps in order to foster the implementation of the WPS Agenda. These resources and tools can be used by civil society activists, academics, UN Staff and Member States.

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Move the Money from War to Peace

“It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber,” says the text on a WILPF flyer from 1979. 40 years after, our message is still the same: we need to move the money from war to peace in order to truly sustain peace that works for everyone.

In 2021, global military spending has reached $2.1 trillion. Not only is this a terrifyingly high amount, but it is also scandalous when we know that women’s movements and empowerment remain woefully underfunded.

The global feminist movement has the same budget as one F-35 fighter plane (about $110 million). Read that twice.

WILPF does not buy the idea that the military presence equals security and that military responses lead to peace. Instead, we see militarism as one of the root causes of war and violence. It perpetuates toxic gender norms and violent masculinities that enable ongoing relapse into the conflict.

Guns don’t promote security, gender equality does.

WILPF works to the reallocation of resources currently spent on military towards activities that benefit women and humanity at large and advocate for the adoption of gender budgeting by all Member States. If we want peace, we must invest in inclusive participation, gender justice and human flourishing, and not in bombs.

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Melissa Torres

VICE-PRESIDENT

Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani

VICE-PRESIDENT

Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo

PRESIDENT

Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

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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Demilitarisation

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.

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