Facilitating a Localised, Inclusive, 

and Sustainable Feminist Peace Process

The escalation of violence in Yemen, which began in 2014, has further exacerbated an already dire situation for Yemeni women. Since that time, women in Yemen have experienced growing security challenges, displacement, and increasing rates of violence inflicted upon them. At the same time, Yemeni women are almost entirely absent from discussions on how to solve the conflict – even though they are disproportionately affected by it. 

Through our work in Yemen, WILPF is supporting our partner organisations and the Yemeni women’s movement more broadly to ensure their experiences and recommendations are reflected in the different tracks of the ongoing peace process, with a goal to reach a more localised, inclusive, and sustainable feminist peace process.

We are also seeking to promote Yemeni women as agents of change and influencers within their communities, which has the side effect of reducing harmful gender norms and expectations that prevent women from achieving equality. This work is in addition to advocating for accountability towards perpetrators of women’s rights violations and abuses.

Rasha Jarhum: “Yemeni women are not waiting for a prince on a white horse to come and save them, they are doing the hard work and facing unimaginable challenges; and they only need their loud voices to be heard.”

“Yemeni women are not waiting for a prince on a white horse to come and save them, they are doing the hard work and facing unimaginable challenges; and they only need their loud voices to be heard.”

Rasha Jarhum
Founder and Director
of Peace Track Initiative

WILPF Partners

WILPF’s partner in Yemen, the Peace Track Initiative (PTI), established in 2017, works towards localising and feminising the peace process through promoting inclusion and enhancing feminist knowledge and leadership.  

PTI is recognised nationally and internationally as a key player in supporting the peace process in Yemen. In 2016, they mobilised over 70 Yemeni organisations and activists internationally and developed a Women, Peace and Security national agenda for Yemen, which was later acknowledged by the UN Security Council.

Yemen Feminist Peace High-Level Virtual Convening 2021

Peace Track Initiative, WILPF, and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in collaboration with the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), hosted the Yemen Feminist Peace High-Level Convening between 28 June and 2 July, 2021. 

During five days, the Convening featured roundtables and interactive dialogues that addressed the underlying national, regional, and international drivers of conflict in Yemen, current peace factors, and feminist policy options that target these issues.

It also presented the Feminist Roadmap for Peace in Yemen, developed in collaboration with Yemeni women leaders and national stakeholders over the last two years.

Yemen Feminist Peace Convening

Learn more about the Convening in this interview with Nesmah Mansoor, Communication and Advocacy Officer for the Peace Track Initiative. 

And read key messages from the virtual event on Twitter under the hashtags #FeministPeaceYe and #سلام_نسوي_لليمن

The Women Leading Yemen’s Peace Movement

Rasha Jarhum at the centre of a group photo upon receiving Anita Augspurg Award

Despite the dire situation in Yemen, Yemeni women are still standing strong, calling for their rights and for a future of peace. Rasha Jarhum, PTI’s founder and current chair, is a vocal advocate for peace and women’s rights in Yemen.

In 2019, Jarhum was awarded the Anita Augspurg Award for Rebels against War by WILPF Germany and the City of Verden, for her tireless advocacy and inspiring activism for women’s rights in Yemen. Read more about Jarhum and the women leading Yemen’s peace movement

Get to Know Yemeni Women Experts

Screenshot of PTI's women experts database

Countless Yemeni women leaders inside the country and in the diaspora are doing amazing work in pursuit of peace and justice – as lawyers, journalists, activists, business women, and more.

Developed by PTI and with support from WILPF, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, and MADRE, the Women Experts database seeks to profile these Yemeni women leaders in order to support women’s inclusion in peace and political processes in the country. 

Yemeni Women Map the Road to Peace

Five veiled women walking in Yemeni desert area

Ahead of the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on Yemen in January 2019, WILPF collaborated with six Yemeni human rights organisations to issue a report titled Yemeni Women Map the Road to Peace. The report addresses the gaps in Yemen’s implementation of UPR recommendations on women’s rights, sexual and gender-based violence, and women’s participation in political and public life. 

The report sheds light on the severe humanitarian crisis, the growth of sexual and gender-based violence, enforced disappearances, arms proliferation, and women’s exclusion from political and public life.

Moreover, it underlines the disproportionate impacts of conflict on Yemeni women, and shares recommendations to address the numerous challenges in the conflict-torn country. 

Yemen’s Future is in Women’s Hands

Women sitting in a conference hall at Yemen Convening 2019

Seeking to facilitate a space for Yemeni women to lead a localised, inclusive, and sustainable feminist peace process, a joint project was launched by WILPF and PTI in 2019 with the support of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The project seeks to create a feminist space for strategic collaboration, trust building, and exchange of information; strengthen engagement with the grassroots movement through ongoing consultations; and enhance advocacy for women’s inclusion in the peace process.

As part of this project, WILPF and PTI brought together 36 Yemeni women leaders from the North and South of Yemen and the international diaspora for a five-day convening in Jordan in June 2019.

This convening allowed Yemen women activists to meet, strategise, and ensure a coherent and transparent flow of information to foster movement-building and inclusion in peace. It also created an excellent opportunity for Yemeni women leaders to interact with diplomats, international stakeholders, and representatives of relevant UN agencies working on Yemen.

Latest Updates

Latest Publications

UNSCR 1325 at 20 Years:
Perspectives from Feminist Peace Activists and Civil Society

Yemeni Women Map the Road to Peace

Feminism at the Frontline:
Addressing Women’s Multidimensional Insecurity in Yemen and Libya

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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