United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 was adopted on October 31, 2000.The resolution addresses the impact of armed conflict on women and girls, and most importantly it addresses the need for women’s “equal and full participation as active agents in peace and security.” The key provisions of 1325 are:
Increased participation and representation of women at all levels of decision-making
Attention to specific protection needs of women and girls in conflict
Gender perspectives in post-conflict processes
Gender perspectives in UN programming, reporting and SC missions
Gender perspectives and training in UN peace support operations
This resolution is a complete framework for gender mainstreaming in post-conflict situations.In a nation such as Iraq, which continually struggles with a desperate security situation and arbitrary violence, 1325 would perhaps be a framework to address the issues facing the struggling country.The full participation of women at all levels of government is needed in order to ensure security and stability.Making women a part of the solution, and including more than half of society, rather than marginalizing them, would provide hope for future rebuilding.
In an interview with Nicola Pratt in January 2011, Sundus Abbas the Director of the Iraqi Women’s Leadership Institute summarized the main reasons behind the violence against Iraqi women and girls as, “prevalent social attitudes, weak political will in regards to addressing violence against women, misinterpretation of religious scriptures, linking culture and tradition to Islam, increasing rates of unemployment, high poverty levels, the lack of shelters, weak legislative framework and lack of political stability and security.”
While quotas for women’s participation were put at no less than twenty-five percent in parliament, this has not helped the situation of women.Many argue that these female parliamentarians represent Islamist factions and are not acting out of concern for women’s rights.The Minister for Women’s Affairs, Abtihal Alzidi, recently stated that men and women were not equal, and that she seeks permission from her husband to leave her home.She later stated she was misquoted, after an outcry from Iraqi women’s activists.
A country like Syria would benefit from 1325 when the violence stops and a new government has to come together to start the rebuilding process.The resolution would have also benefitted the women and girls of Libya who also suffered during the uprising to oust Muamar Qaddafi.Sadly when the weapons are finally laid down in conflict zones, women and girls are immediately marginalized and often (such as Iraq) have their rights taken from them.In rebuilding a society after a major conflict or the ousting of a dictator, Resolution 1325 would help to ensure lasting peace, equality and fairness.