On December 19, at Georgetown University, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton discussed new efforts across the U.S. government to support women's participation in peace and security, including plans to better protect women from conflict-related violence and promote women's leadership and perspectives in all aspects of conflict prevention, resolution, relief, and recovery. Secretary Clinton said:
"...This is not just a woman's issue. It cannot be relegated to the margins of international affairs. It truly does cut to the heart of our national security and the security of people everywhere, because the sad fact is that the way the international community tries to build peace and security today just isn't getting the job done. Dozens of active conflicts are raging around the world, undermining regional and global stability, and ravaging entire populations. And more than half of all peace agreements fail within five years. At the same time, women are too often excluded from both the negotiations that make peace and the institutions that maintain it. Now of course, some women wield weapons of war -- that's true -- and many more are victims of it. But too few are empowered to be instruments of peace and security."
Secretary Clinton said, "...This morning, President Obama signed an Executive Order launching the first-ever U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security -- a comprehensive roadmap for accelerating and institutionalizing efforts across the United States government to advance women's participation in making and keeping peace. This plan builds on the President's national security strategy, and it was jointly developed by the Departments of State and Defense, USAID, and others with guidance from the White House."
The National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security and the Executive Order represent a fundamental change in how the United States will approach its diplomatic, military, and development-based support to women in areas of conflict, by ensuring that their perspectives and considerations of gender are woven into the fabric of how the United States approaches peace processes, conflict prevention, the protection of civilians, and humanitarian assistance.
In her remarks, Secretary Clinton said, "...We have enough anecdotal evidence and research that demonstrates women in peacekeeping is both the right thing to do and the smart thing, as well. It's right, because, after all, women are affected disproportionately by conflict; they deserve to participate in the decisions that shape their own lives. And it's the smart thing because we have seen again and again that women participating in these processes builds more durable peace."
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