Recognizing women's role in peacekeeping

Utilizing women in conflict resolution
Acknowledging women's capacity to mediate conflict

This strategic objective formed part of the Platform for Action of the United Nations Fourth World Conference for Women (Beijing, 1995).

A group of 140 women of 15 different nationalities visited Bosnia in September 1993 at the invitation of one Bosnian and one Croatian woman. 78 women "broke" the blockade into Sarajevo, where they held the First International Conference of Women of the World -- "Through Heart to Peace" -- and presented the sculpture "The Unkillable Human" to the mayor of Sarajevo. Groups of women under the same name have since driven 9 times from the UK to give support and encouragement to those affected by the war. They have involved artists, singers, dancers and even a professional fool to provide entertainment. The second conference of Women of the World was held in Sarajevo during May 1995; others followed in May 1996 and May 1997.

Action by governments to address this objective could include involving an equal proportion of women in peace negotiations and conflict resolution. It could include redirecting possible savings from defence budgets to development. It might involve reflecting in legislation the right to political asylum of women persecuted on the grounds of gender or those whose human rights have been violated either in times of peace or war. It could include consideration of war-related violence against women, such as mass rapes, forced pregnancies and other gender-specific abuses applied as a means of warfare, as war crimes and crimes against humanity and treat them accordingly by proper national and international institutions. It might include steps to incorporate peace education and teaching about non-violent measures of conflict resolution into school curricula, presenting them from the gender perspective, in the context of discussion on peace and democratization.

Action by non-governmental organizations might include publicizing information on women's contribution to peace, peace education, conflict resolution, justice and democracy, bringing its relevance for decision-making to the attention of decision makers and public opinion, recording and publishing the history of women's contribution to peace, social reconstruction and peace research. It could include supporting women peace educators and peace researchers, and encouraging women to become involved in grass-roots activities related to peace and resolution of conflicts or to choose them as a profession. It could also include campaigns to encourage women and men to serve as informal educators in bringing up young people in an atmosphere of compassion, tolerance, mutual concern and trust.

Action by organizations of the UN system might include collecting and disseminating data on the participation of women in national and international military service, including peace-keeping and humanitarian operations, and studying those data with a view to eliminating gender stereotyping. It could include steps to set an ex ample of using men and women together without discrimination in peace-keeping operations and to make training in peace-keeping available to women. This could involve applying, at the civilian level, norms of equality in recruitment, selection and assignment, and at the military operations level, of encouraging governments to include women in their national contingents. It might involve training military and civilian peace-keeping forces to observe the human rights of women and to follow gender-sensitive rules of conduct, for which standards should be elaborated. Other action could include a women-in-development approach in all humanitarian assistance and peace-keeping operations, examining and addressing the needs of refugee women, providing those women with adequate assistance, and, in the case of refugee women, monitoring the process of their settlement in the receiving countries and/or their return to their home countries.


Women have the capacity to discourage conflict at all levels of society and must therefore never be assigned a secondary role in issues of conflict and peacekeeping.

Type Classification:
D: Detailed strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions