Latest News



Dismantling Patriarchy and Ensuring Women’s Meaningful Participation

In October 2018, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR1325) celebrated its 18th Birthday!

Image credit: WILPF
WILPF International Secretariat
7 November 2018

In October 2018, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR1325) celebrated its 18th Birthday!

As a product of long-term advocacy and push from civil society, UNSCR1325, along with seven subsequent Women, Peace and Security (WPS) resolutions, affirms the Security Council’s responsibility and commitment to strengthening women’s participation, protection and rights across the conflict spectrum.

The UNSCR1325+18 week brought together women from all over the world to New York to discuss progress made and remaining challenges to the implementation of the WPS Agenda.

WILPF at the UNSCR1325+18 week

On the occasion, WILPF facilitated engagement from our global activist network with peace leaders from Colombia, Cameroon, Lebanon, Spain and Syria and supported a variety of events, meetings, and discussions across the week around meaningful participation and its link to disarmament, elections, humanitarian work, peace processes and feminist peace movement-building.

Panellists and organisers of the event titled, “Political Movements and Electoral Processes: Strengthening Women’s Meaningful Participation in Formal and Informal Spaces” (Visual: Nathaniel Hamlin)

WILPF took on a leadership role in mobilising with our coalitions to create community spaces for strategic discussions and build synergies for action across WPS week. As part of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, WILPF worked with the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UN Women to design and facilitate the Tuesday 23 October Multi-Stakeholder Meeting on Women, Peace and Security. Building on this conversation, on 26 October, WILPF worked with the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security to hold a Civil Society 2020 planning session. WILPF also facilitated and co-facilitated many bilateral meetings, discussions and sponsored and co-sponsored events.

Our engagement contributed to a significant shift in the discourse across the week: rather than the typical tokenistic references to “women as victims but also agents of change”, discussions highlighted systems of patriarchy and economic institutions for war, brought up the critical importance of not just changing the face of leadership by adding women, but tackling the tough challenges of gender inequality by changing political, economic and social systems from violence to equality and justice.

Read the summaries and highlights from WILPF-supported events below:

WPS Debate and Advocacy

Randa Siniora Atallah, General Director of the Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counselling in Jerusalem, addresses the Security Council meeting on women and peace and security. (Photo: UN Photo/Manuel Elias)

On 25 October, the Security Council debate on WPS was convened under the Presidency of Bolivia. The debate built on the 2018 Secretary-General’s report on WPS, which for the first time had a thematic focus on women’s meaningful participation, as well as an Expert Group Meeting on women’s meaningful participation earlier in 2018. All three also built on WILPF’s calls in our 2017 Geneva Convening on Strengthening Women’s Meaningful Participation at the UN to move from top down to bottom up action, and design work for peace based on local women’s leadership for rights and justice

This year’s debate was historic for having a woman peace activist from Palestine officially brief the Security Council. Randa Siniora, General Director of the Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counselling in Jerusalem, spoke on the experiences of women in Palestine. “The Israeli occupation and the resulting humanitarian crisis are deeply gendered and exacerbate existing gender inequalities,” stated Ms. Siniora, noting the disproportionate and therefore gendered effects of violence, lack of access to resources and funding cuts of UNRWA to women in Palestine.

As a whole, the debate included powerful statements addressed masculinities and patriarchy, economic resilience and access to resources, and root causes. In addition, statements made by representatives alluded to the progress and positive steps undertaken by Member States in the implementation of the WPS Agenda, such as the improving the inclusion of more civil society briefers to the Security Council, supporting the creation of regional mediation networks, and implementing the work of the Informal Expert Group on WPS (IEG). Many representatives praised civil society inclusion as progress for women’s meaningful participation. Furthermore, the representatives of Norway and Switzerland recognised WILPF for its work on the WPS Agenda.

Missing Voices

This year, a number of women peace activists were unable to attend the UNSCR1325+18 week due to the discriminatory impact of the US Travel Ban, including WILPF partners from Yemen and Libya. WILPF continued to bring attention to women’s #MissingVoices and call for the UN to reclaim its Charter and become the peace organisation it was intended to be by ensuring women’s access and meaningful participation for peace.

WILPF appreciates the statements by six speakers at the Security Council debate which acknowledged the importance of encouraging and supporting civil society action on the ground. However, more action is needed. The US must urgently overturn its discriminatory travel ban. If it does not, the UN needs to have a serious conversation about what measures it will put in place to ensure local women’s participation on peace and security issues, or it will not be doing its job.

Next Steps

The conversations during the UNSCR1325+18 week have demonstrated that adding women is just a first step. Meaningful participation requires holistic and effective action that amplifying experiences of women and women’s groups and putting them at the centre of peace work.

As we prepare for 2020, the international community must put local women’s voices for feminist peace at the center of their work, and move from commitments to concrete implementation for accountability.

Join us in demanding that the international community steps up by

Read the full version of the UNSCR1325+18 analysis here>>>!

Share the post

WILPF International Secretariat

WILPF International Secretariat, with offices in Geneva and New York, liaises with the International Board and the National Sections and Groups for the implementation of WILPF International Programme, resolutions and policies as adopted by the International Congress. Under the direction of the Secretary-General, the Secretariat also provides support in areas of advocacy, communications, and financial operations.

Your donation isn’t just a financial transaction; it’s a step toward a more compassionate and equitable world. With your support, we’re poised to achieve lasting change that echoes through generations. Thank you!

Thank you!

Melissa Torres


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


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


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

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Mauris facilisis luctus rhoncus. Praesent eget tellus sit amet enim consectetur condimentum et vel ante. Nulla facilisi. Suspendisse et nunc sem. Vivamus ullamcorper vestibulum neque, a interdum nisl accumsan ac. Cras ut condimentum turpis. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia curae; Curabitur efficitur gravida ipsum, quis ultricies erat iaculis pellentesque. Nulla congue iaculis feugiat. Suspendisse euismod congue ultricies. Sed blandit neque in libero ultricies aliquam. Donec euismod eget diam vitae vehicula. Fusce hendrerit purus leo. Aenean malesuada, ante eu aliquet mollis, diam erat suscipit eros, in.


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.

Skip to content