Women, peace and security

Kvinna till Kvinna believes equality and respect for human rights are prerequisites for sustainable peace and human security. That is why we support women’s rights organisations working for this. We also advocate for women’s equal participation in peace processes. And when individual activists face security risks, we help them find safe ways to navigate these.

Reinterpreting security as human security

In many societies today, security policy revolves around militarisation, violence and weaponisation. This is seen as the only way to achieve peace and security.

At Kvinna till Kvinna, we believe in a broader interpretation of security as human security, a concept endorsed by the United Nations as early as 1994. Human security revolves around respect for human rights and safety. It focuses on treating the underlying causes of conflict, to avoid the horror of war. Human security calls for the equal participation of all genders in peace processes.

Women’s role in peace processes

Today however, women continue to be excluded from peace negotiations. That means half the population goes unheard before efforts to rebuild war-torn countries have even begun.

This happens in spite of research findings showing how important equal participation is. When women take part in peace talks, peace agreements are more likely to address inequality and more likely to be implemented. This results in fairer and safer societies for all of us.

The international community too has confirmed how crucial women’s participation is for peace processes is. Since 2000, the UN Security Council has approved a range of resolutions on the topic – starting with the groundbreaking resolution 1325.

Photo: Bertin Mungombe

"Women activists get a lot of death threats – over the phone, by text, by e-mail, in person.

“All of us have received such threats. I have been threatened by local politicians, governors and members of parliament.”

– A Congolese activist interviewed for our report Equal Power Lasting Peace.

Women excluded from peace processes

peace agreements were signed between 1990 and 2010
0 %
of these agreements made no reference to women
0 %
of peace negotiation participants were men

Security for women’s rights activists

In our peace and security work, we also engage with individual activists. Women’s rights activists often face threats because of the work they do. Governments cut off their funding and restrict their freedom to organise. Conservative groups spread rumours to discredit them. They are verbally abused, sexually harassed and even receive death threats.

Kvinna till Kvinna does not believe the solution is asking activists to keep quiet. Instead, we analyse what women need to be able to participate safely in society.

How we advance the women, peace and security agenda

We support women’s rights organisations working for peace and security in conflict-affected areas. We do so by providing our partners with strategic financing; capacity-building and networking opportunities; and visibility for their work.

Nationally and internationally, we advocate for the equal participation of women in peace processes. We follow up on the implementation of UNSC resolution 1325 and related national action plans.

We conduct research into women’s role in peace processes and analyse peace treaties from a gender perspective.

To help women’s rights activists deal with security threats, we offer an online manual with practical strategies and arrange security workshops.

We also encourage high-level politicians to meet and support women right’s activists. This grants legitimacy to activists’ work and offers added protection.

Engendering the Peace Process

As early as 1999, Kvinna till Kvinna conducted a gender analysis of the Dayton Peace Agreement, which ended the war in Former Yugoslavia in 1995.

Our analysis, “Engendering the Peace Process”, marked the first time a peace agreement was analysed from a gender perspective.

In 2000, it was part of the background reading for the UN Security Council deliberations that lead to the adoption of resolution 1325.

Read the analysis »

Our work on women, peace and security