Amidst a rise in sexual violence in the world’s war zones, the United Nations has begun appointing women to head some of the key political and peacekeeping missions in conflict areas - and also created Gender Advisers as a second line of defence.
When war erupts, women are often the first to experience the harsh brutality and the last to be called to the peace table. A resolution adopted Friday by the U.N. Security Council moves us one step closer to the full participation of women as leaders for peace and security.
Last year, as rebels captured the main towns in Northern Mali, UN Women registered a sudden and dramatic increase of rapes in the first week of the takeover of Gao and Kidal, in places where most women never report this violence to anyone, not even health practitioners.
When the largest single gathering of women met at the United Nations in February last year, the adoption of a future plan of action was undermined by rigidly conservative governments opposed to women's reproductive rights - largely misinterpreted as a right to abortion.
Against the backdrop of an upcoming U.N. Security Council (UNSC) meeting on women, peace and security, a coalition of some 63 international women's groups and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) has decried the absence of women during peace negotiations in post-conflict situations.
When the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) adopted a landmark resolution numbered 1325 back in 2000, it was supposed to integrate gender into its core mandate: the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security.