In Syria, Yemen, Western Sahara, Myanmar and more, ID has worked to ensure that women are not only included at the highest levels of diplomacy, but are well placed to tackle the full spectrum of political, socioeconomic and humanitarian issues affecting their nations’ future. As a result, our female partners have secured high visibility internationally at the United Nations, in Washington DC, and in Brussels at the European Union, as well as nationally and within their own negotiations teams. Today, our female partners are shaping the direction of international policy making, driving policy decisions within their respective political parties, leading the charge for greater gender parity, and building bridges between political leaders and civil society.
Evidence is clear that women’s inclusion in peace processes reduces the likelihood of conflict and improves the prospect of stability. But for such inclusion to have long-term impact – it must be meaningful. Research has shown that parties are far more likely to reach a peace agreement if and when women are able to exert a strong influence on negotiations. This means that women must not only have a seat the table, but they must be able to speak to each of the issues affecting their constituents, and to help set the agenda that govern negotiations. ID’s support for women’s political participation strives to do precisely that, by equipping women with the tools and resources necessary to effectively engage in peace negotiations and diplomacy. ID’s approach to women’s participation is based on three core principles:
- The primacy of access: To effectively contribute to peace processes, women must have access to key decision makers on the international stage. They should be in a position to communicate their messages in their own voice to diplomats at the UN, EU or key capitals. And to truly be effective, they must do so frequently and consistently.
- The importance of self-empowerment: Our partners are their own best advocates. They have a well-defined sense of their political goals and what it is they want to achieve. ID’s role is not to define their goals for them, but to help give them the tools through which they can achieve those goals themselves, and get what they need from the international community.
- The need for preparation: Effective negotiators come prepared to engage on the issues that matter to their constituents. Too often, however, women are relegated to the humanitarian sphere or confined to so-called ‘women’s issues’. ID ensures its female partners can cover the full spectrum of political issues that pertain to negotiations, and can negotiate on an equal footing with their male colleagues.
Photo (top of page): Syrian political and civil society representatives convening in Paris in October 2017 to found the Syrian Women’s Political Movement (SWPM) as a platform for women to drive policymaking on Syria and ensure women’s rights in a future Syria.