Women in International Dialogue

Curator: Leila Farsakh

Associate Professor of political science, Massachusetts University, Boston

“Women in International Dialogue WiD” is a Bruno Kreisky Forum’s initiative to bring together experts from different regions of the world in order to analyze current conflict scenarios as well as post-conflict situations from a women’s perspective and to make recommendations on what measures can be taken to improve the protection environment for women during and after conflict, to engage women in conflict prevention, and to ensure that peace processes are guided by women’s perspectives and address their needs.

The landmark adoption 10 years ago of resolution 1325 (2000) acknowledged the role of women in peace and security, not simply as victims but as agents of change.

Over the past 15 years, progress has been made in implementing resolution 1325 on various levels, including by UN Member States, entities of the UN system and civil society. They have invested in training, the development of policies, action plans, guidelines and programming to ensure women’s access to resources, justice and opportunities to participate in decision-making. UN peacekeeping missions have become more effective in engaging women in peace building. In certain post-conflict countries there has been a significant increase in the number of women in national politics.

However, despite these activities and successes, fifteen years after the adoption of resolution 1325, significant achievements are difficult to identify. In most situations of conflict around the world full participation and leadership of women in political processes remains elusive. The past fifteen years have also seen repeated instances of grave abuse and violence against women in conflicts.

We therefore need to discuss what can be done to accelerate implementation of the provisions of resolution 1325, to reach concrete results in women’s protection and in their full engagement in making, keeping and building peace.

  • Ending Palestinian Fragmentation: Women, Capacity Building And Empowerment

This program includes women from all strands of Palestinian society and is designed to meet twice a year in Vienna. Participants at these bi-annual meetings would include Palestinian women from the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, from the Palestinian refugee communities in Arab countries, the Diaspora and those living inside Israel. Those attending will also include Palestinian women representatives from international organizations as well as activists in various civil society institutions.

Palestinian women have been key witnesses, and victims, of the process of political and territorial fragmentation. Although they have historically played an important role in the Palestinian national movement, be it within the PLO or among women organizations in Lebanon, Jordan, West Bank, Gaza and inside Israel, women’s voices has been silenced since Oslo. Their role in parliamentary politics inside Israel as well as in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank has been marginalized. Above all, their ability to protect women’s rights and advance their political struggle for liberation and equality has been curtailed. Israeli checkpoints, the siege on Gaza, the wars in Syria and the failure of the PLO to meet since 1988 have hampered any attempt to seriously empower women and engage them in the political process.