Spotlight: Women in conflict - ISS research takes the debate beyond numbers

2015-07-16

As part of its work on gender, peace and security, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) was recently approached to deliver a submission to the United Nations (UN) on women in the military in Africa.

The submission forms part of a global study that will be incorporated in the high-level review of UN Security Council resolution 1325, the landmark legal document that acknowledges the impact of armed conflict on women and girls.

The review, which will take place later this year, aims to reinvigorate commitments to resolution 1325. The global study is crucial in pointing out best practices and addressing unresolved challenges and gaps. The ISS’ submission guarantees that a vital African perspective based on sound research is brought to the review.

‘Right now, the majority of armed conflicts take place in Africa,’ says Yolande Bouka, an ISS researcher based in Nairobi. ‘As one of the leading think tanks in Africa, ISS has a responsibility to add African voices, input and research to the gender and security debate’.

ISS has a responsibility to add African voices, input and research to the gender and security debate

It is impossible to discuss human security without considering the role of women – whether as agents or victims – in episodes of violence. Through its contribution to UN Women, ISS is able to share the results of research on issues that are often overlooked in this field.

Such contributions give momentum to the push for effective policies that can truly improve the representation and impact of women in the security sector. Up until now, the focus has been on ensuring that women are represented in the military. The ISS has found that it is not all about numbers: representation is a crucial starting point, but does not necessarily change gender equality within the military.

‘This has been an ideal opportunity to collate and showcase our knowledge of women in the military in Africa within the broader framework of women, peace and security,’ says ISS gender specialist, Romi Sigsworth.

For more information contact:

Romi Sigsworth, ISS, rsigsworth@issafrica.org, +27 83 257 2582

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