FUTURES Commends the U.S House of Representatives for Passing the Updated Women, Peace, and Security Act
In a timely and much welcomed bipartisan effort to make women’s participation in the peace and security space a core piece of US foreign policy, the US House of Representatives passed the updated Women, Peace, and Security Act on a voice vote on Tuesday, November 15, 2016. Futures Without Violence has been in the forefront of advocating for the inclusion of women in this critical field through its participation in the US Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace and Security and efforts to inform the discourse and policies which shape US Government position on such issues. At a time where it has been found that when women are included in peace processes there is a 20 percent increase in the probability of an agreement lasting at least 2 years, and a 35 percent increase in the probability of an agreement lasting at least 15 years, women’s inclusion is not just the right thing to do but it is the smart thing to do.
Futures Without Violence commends the House for this unified action spearheaded by Congresswoman Kristi Noem (R-SD), Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), and Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY). We are also grateful to the tireless efforts of Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Mike Honda (D-CA), and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) who were in the forefront of championing the original Women, Peace and Security Act (2012) and laying the groundwork for a bill which ultimately establishes a US policy to promote the meaningful participation of women in all aspects of conflict prevention, management, and resolution.
The WPS Act of 2016 would:
- Make an official statement that it is US policy to promote the meaningful participation of women in all aspects of conflict prevention, management, and resolution;
- Call on the President to submit to Congress and make publicly available, every 5 years, a Women, Peace, and Security Strategy, detailing how the US will fulfill policy objectives of the Act and mandates that the strategy is aligned with similar plans of other nations
- Call on the Secretary of Defense to ensure that all appropriate personnel obtain training in “gender considerations and meaningful participation of women” and “effective strategies and best practices for ensuring meaningful participation by women.”
- Require the President to provide reports that outline the monitoring and evaluation tools, mechanisms and common indicators to assess progress made on the policy objectives; summarizes US diplomatic efforts and foreign assistance efforts to promote the meaningful participation of women; and summarizes and evaluates the impact of such programs;
- Require the Secretary of State and USAID Administrator to establish guidelines for overseas personnel to ensure women’s meaningful participating in consultations with key stakeholders on preventing and resolving conflict.
The Women, Peace and Security Act will now have to be considered and voted on in the Senate. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Mark Kirk (R-IL), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced similar legislation in 2015. Futures Without Violence is committed to working with members of the Senate to advance this hallmark legislation and send a message to the international community that inclusion and participation of women at all decision making levels, in times of peace and war, is a corner stone of US foreign policy.
How to take action
Use our easy advocacy tool to send a letter to your senator and urge them to support the Women, Peace, and Security Act and give women a voice at the peacekeeping table.
Support the #WPSAct and ensure that women have a voice in peace agreements! @[Senator]
Women’s inclusion is not just the right thing to do but it is the smart thing to do. @[Senator] support the #WPSAct!
Women must play a more prominent role in building peace around the globe. @[Senator] support the #WPSAct!