We are committed to the active participation of women in peace processes and to a peaceful and secure world for all. Together with our partner organisations, we develop projects that promote the exchange of experience and knowledge and the networking among globally active women peace activists. At the centre of our work with our partner organisations are the Women's Peace Tables and our worldwide network of peace activists.
Women's Peace Tables
Between 2015 to 2020 we organised, in cooperation with our partner organisations, approximately 120 Women's Peace Tables (WPTs) in fragile and conflict-affected areas. The aim of the WPTs is both to reflect on the role of women in promoting inclusive peace dialogue and to exchange knowledge about peacebuilding. In 2018, a new project phase began, which incorporates the experience of previous WPTs and other projects.
The WPTs open a space for conflict-transformation processes, as well as opportunities for women's voices to be heard, thus increasing the visibility of women peace activists. In order to make the dialogue sustainable, our local partner organisations follow up the recommendations of the corresponding WPTs using advocacy, campaigns and discussions with influential decision-makers and by linking them with policy processes such as CEDAW reporting, the drafting of National Action Plans (NAP) for UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, and with implementation strategies for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Context : Although women are disproportionately impacted by armed conflict, political fragility and extremist violence, their experiences, knowledge, skills and demands are significantly undervalued and under-utilised in conflict transformation. Despite UNSCR 1325 guaranteeing the rights of women to participate in peace processes, women overwhelmingly continue to have limited access to peace negotiations, transitional justice mechanisms and processes, and to decision-making in general. Today women make up only 9 per cent of participants in peace negotiations worldwide. As a result, gender norms and ideologies that produce patterns of exclusion which disadvantage women are reinforced within the process of conflict transformation, leading to the persistence of structural violence.
The 2018-2021 WPT programme is a long-term, worldwide programme with the following three autonomous, yet interrelated programme strands:
1. Strengthening Women’s Effective Participation in Conflict Transformation: In collaboration with our partners, we build on the WPTs in the three post-conflict countries Colombia, Nepal and the Philippines and institutionalise an exchange of views and experiences between the partners. In each country, 3-7 local WPTs are held annually. Each focuses on the concerns of women at a decentralised level, in order to increase the local capacities for women’s participation in conflict transformation. These concerns are then conveyed at an annual national WPT in the capital city and accompanied by joint advocacy measures for the participation of women and the promotion of change on a structural level.
“From transition to transformation. Strengthening women’s effective participation in peacebuilding and transitional justice processes" (publication, English and Spanish)
Launch "From transition to transformation" (videos, English, Spanisch)
A closer look at Women's Peace Tables:
Women's Peace Table, Popayan, Colombia (article)
Women's Peace Table, Antioquia, Colombia (video, Spanish)
Women's Peace Table, Nepal (video)
2. Supraregional Women’s Peace Tables: The second field of action is the strengthening of trans-regional networks for the exchange of experiences, joint learning processes and advocacy activities. Building on the first South Asian Women's PeaceTable, which took place in 2018 with the participation of partner organisations from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India and Nepal, the work in the global network of women peace activists was further developed and this strand was integrated into the network activities. (See Network below or here).
3. Enabling space for civil society: Civil society organisations have been affected by the shrinking space for socio-political action for more than a decade. To counteract this trend, we are continuing to support the implementation of annual WPTs in selected countries, including Burundi, Kenya, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The framework of these WPTs is deliberately broad to allow the regional partner organisations to adapt the content and format to local needs. Despite the diversity of topics dealt with by the WPTs, all are designed to facilitate an exchange between women's initiatives at grassroots level and local decision-makers. The aim is to provide them with information on women's concerns, skills and needs and to highlight the importance of including and implementing gender-sensitive mechanisms in conflict resolution, conflict transformation and policy-making.
"Gender and Peace" course at Gawharshad University, Afghanistan (article)
COUNTRY PROGRAMME PALESTINE
Our work in Palestine seeks to counter the increasing social, political and geographical fragmentation of Palestinian society and support Palestinian visions for a feminist, justice-driven future. With our partner organisations, we bring together and empower women and queer people affected by violence and gender injustice across fragmented and militarised borders to become more aware of their rights and to claim them.
Gender justice is at the heart of our Palestine programme, which we expanded in 2021. The Israeli occupation has gendered impacts:
- Women and queer people are affected differently than men.
- The occupation exacerbates gender inequalities and reinforces patriarchal power systems and dynamics.
- It militarises both Palestinian and Israeli society and produces specific forms of masculinity.
Feminist concerns and gender issues are often marginalised and seen as less important than the struggle against the occupation. However, the occupation and gender-based violence are interdependent and must therefore be addressed together.
In the geographically fragmented Palestinian context, physical and virtual spaces play a central role as places of exchange and activism for women and the LGBTIQ community. With our programme, we aim to protect and expand existing civil society spaces.
Read more about the projects and our partner organisations in Palestine here.
Global Network: Feminists Connecting for Peace
Our worldwide network "Feminists Connecting for Peace" forms the core of our work. It grew out of the "1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize" initiative - the PeaceWomen of 2005 - and continues to develop into a unique global community of networked peace activists.
The network provides a space for activists and for feminist peace organisations to exchange, network and learn together. They use the network as a platform to make their demands public and thus lend them political weight. Within the network, we take on the co-ordination of four main activities:
Exchange: We promote the digital and physical exchange of knowledge and experience on issues relevant to peace policy, with the idea that activists can learn from each other and translate the resulting expanded knowledge into locally based activities.
Knowledge transfer: The knowledge, competencies and experiences of peace activists are jointly developed. The network publishes this knowledge in the form of toolkits, publications, videos and other products, which the participants implement and pass on in their own work.
Projects: The network's collective learning processes feed into local peace policy activities and initiatives. Our partner organisations develop projects on peace policy in their respective contexts, which in turn generates new learning experiences.
Visibility and advocacy: The network's global peace work is continuously made visible on various channels, including our own communication platforms. The co-operation in the network provides a political voice for peace-policy related concerns locally, nationally and internationally. Campaigns are used to win public support for feminist peacebuilding.
Information about the network's webinars and events can be found under Events and on our Facebook page PeaceWomen Across the Globe. Here you can learn more about the PeaceWomen and read their biographies.
Ukraine: Women demand security - and peace
War has been raging in eastern Ukraine since 2014. In particular women along the contact line between Ukraine and the autonomous Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics are severely affected by rampant poverty, social insecurity and the militarisation of the region, which contributes significantly to the increase in gender-based violence. Despite this, women are joining together to make their everyday lives more secure.
The peace process in Ukraine has been stalled for years. The voices of local women and women's organisations are seldom heard. Our Ukraine programme gives their voices the space they deserve, paving the way for war-affected women to participate equally in peacebuilding. Together with our Ukrainian project partner KRF Public Alternative we organized several Women's Peace Tables in the region in the summer of 2021. The focus was on issues that are important to women in their everyday lives and that contribute to their security. These topics also form the core of our Ukraine programme, which also aims to counter gender stereotypes and war-related masculinities.
Building on the experiences gained during the 2021 pilot project and based on our feminist understanding of peace, the Ukraine country programme will be further developed from 2022.
Ukraine: "Violence has become the norm in our society" (Interview, September 2021)