Last week, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) submitted the full report of the civil society consultations on Women, Peace and Security to the U.S. Department of State. The report contains 64 recommendations for the U.S. National Action Plan (NAP) for compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. Sixty-four concrete recommendations, but no surprises.
When it comes to matters of war and peace, U.S. women haven't changed their minds. Building peace at home takes precedence over waging war, even when this requires real change to our domestic policies and national security platform. The ten regional consultations held in preparation for the 1995 Fourth Women's Conference in Beijing, China, distilled the very same message that was revealed this fall during WILPF sponsored consultations with U.S. Department of State representatives: cut military spending, fund human needs, and support women candidates for public office by ratifying the international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
Voices of the hundreds of women who participated in the five consultations are clear: women's security is all about women's empowerment. “Before there was the 99%, there was the 51% whose demands were never adequately addressed,” commented WILPF's National Director Tanya Henderson. “What is required is the political will to adopt and implement measurable benchmarks and inclusive processes, to reform the delivery of education and health care, and put into place effective measures to close the wage gap between men and women, not by stagnating men's wages but by paying women full value for their economic contributions.”
The report suggests that the U.S. NAP can have the most impact if it creates and strengthens mechanisms for government accountability and opportunities for civil society oversight and participation. Many of the report's most powerful recommendations are procedural and, therefore, budget neutral; for example, including the Departments of Justice, Commerce and Labor, Homeland Security and others in all conversations about Women, Peace and Security; instituting gender responsive budgeting analysis for all federally funded projects of significant cost; aligning the Uniform Code of Military Justice with the international Palermo Protocol in dealing with sex trafficking as it occurs domestically and in conflict areas where the U.S. is involved; requiring military installations to track and report on the nature and amount of toxins released into the surrounding aquafir and air. Other recommendations would cost surprisingly little but yield big results: federal support for state Commissions on the Status of Women ($5 million); providing incentives for peace and human rights education in public schools; and comprehensive support services for discharged women veterans. An added benefit: almost all of these proposed expenditures would go toward direct job creation rather than capital investment.
What women want is what the U.S. needs. Learn more and read the full report here.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to make a major address regarding progress on the development of the U.S. National Action Plan for Women, Peace and Security on Monday, December 19. Stay in the loop by following WILPF on Twitter and Facebook. For in depth coverage and analysis of the U.S. NAP as well as progress on implementing Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security worldwide, subscribe to the e-newsletter of WILPF's Peacewomen Project.
For updates on WILPF's Civil Society Recommendations on National Security, please visit the WILPF website.