Athena shares news and analysis that showcase good practice, and communicate gains for women’s rights. We are particularly keen to promote to good news, innovations and achievements in gender justice, alongside persistent concerns. We have a vibrant Facebook page and Twitter profile which you can follow for more regular updates.
October, November 2018
- October is always a big month with the UNSG's annual report on UNSCR1325 and accompanying Open Debate, with a strong emphasis this year on access to resources and stronger civil society inclusion; but that's not all that went on in WPS-world:
- The inspiring Elisabeth Slåttum writes about the impact and necessity of more women in mediation reminding us "It’s not only about introducing more women. It is also about looking at how mediation is being carried out. Mediation traditionally depends heavily on high level personalities, mostly male, who carry a great responsibility on their shoulders. In this day and age, it is time to look at more innovative and modern working methods. Using stronger mediation teams, co-mediation, deputy Special Envoys are ways of adapting mediation work, to make it less dependent on one person, and spread the responsibility. I believe that this would also favor a more gender-balanced approach."
- Ever busy, the Georgetown Institute on WPS's Dr. Anjali Dayal also produced a policy brief with concrete recommendations on connecting formal and informal peace process for better inclusivity and results.
- Are you wondering why women remain so fundamentally excluded from peace processes? Then read this report from the 2018 Experts Group Meeting on women’s meaningful participation. In short: there is no one thing that guarantees women’s meaningful participation. Instead there are many elements that are best associated with enabling measures and require vigilance to seize and create opportunities for women to exert transformative influence and agency.
- CMI and SIPRI are debunking persistent myths on gender in mediation in their recent article.
- No more frustrated websurfing in search of best, latest evidence, cases and infographics to use in your advocacy on inclusion: UN Women has created a state of the art editorial package.
July, August, September 2018
- Poignant and vital article from Amani Haydar, artist, lawyer, feminist advocate reflecting on the impact of the murder of her mother by her father."Children without parents, parents without children. Who else is here because of male violence? Why don't we talk more openly about the effects of male violence on our families? For Muslim women in particular, the answers are complex."
- Brilliant example of 'sisters doin' it for themselves': Dr Jessica Wade, a British physicist who writes 270 Wikipedia pages a year to raise the profile of female scientists, was so inspired on reading Angela Saini's book, "Inferior: The True Power of Women and the Science that Shows It" that she started a campaign to send a copy to every mixed secondary school in England with more than 1,000 pupils. The funding target was reached within two days and has now been further surpassed.
- Excited to see this global peace polling from International Alert and Co. This is one dynamic way to bring the opinions of people living in areas with armed violence and conflict areas into decisions and planning.
- Brigadier General Zakia Hussein Ahmed has become the highest ranking female in the Somali Police Force after recent promotion from her previous rank as Colonel. She is the first woman in the country's police history to attain the rank.
April, May, June 2018
- Interested in gender-sensitive peace agreements? Check out the work of Katrina Lee-Koo & Jaqui True, "Toward Inclusive Peace: mapping gender-sensitive peace agreements 2000-2016" and the work of the Monash University Gender, Peace and Security Centre.
- Solomé Lemma, Deputy Director of Thousand Currents and co-founder of Africans in the Diaspora, blasts out 25 crisp ideas for how donors can support social movements. Study after study demonstrates the international community needs to significantly improve its approach to funding women's organisations especially as these organisations are increasingly regarded as the panacea for countering terrorism and extremism and are frequently called upon to give information that informs the programming of international organisations.
- Steve Biddulph, psychologist and advocate for men being engaged fathers reflects on where responsibility lies: "...if boys wanted to learn about "healthy manhood" they needed to see male role models show a wide range of emotions and be willing to talk through issues."
- Ndubuisi Christian Ani from the Institute for Security Studies reflects on pitfalls FemWise-Africa should avoid: "...the effectiveness of using mainly former heads of state as mediators should be examined. Does it signal a bias in favour of sitting leaders, to the disadvantage of the opposition? Are there more bureaucratic constraints on the mission? Are they effective? Can other dignitaries deliver better?"
January, February, March 2018
- The Institute for Inclusive Security has produced a detailed and accessible study (a feat in and of itself!) on women's influence and roles in constitution-making. It reveals that only 1 in 5 constitution drafters in conflict settings is a woman. "This is partly because the rules for electing or appointing a constitution-making body are typically established in the peace process — an even more male-dominated affair."
- Tamasin Ford considers the legacy of Africa's first female president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia.
- "There’s only three things you can be certain of in life: taxes, death and some randomer yelling ‘what about men?’ every time you talk about women’s issues." Jessica Eaton reflects on the tedium of the 'what about men?' line of argument.
- Ana Villellas and the team at the School for a Culture of Peace, Autonomous University of Barcelona, released The Role of the EU and Other Third Parties in Promoting Gender, Peace and Security Agenda in Mediation and Dialogue Processes - part of a wider effort to strengthen the EU’s peace support capabilities.
October, November, December 2017
- Kudos to Nahla Valji and Fionnuala Ní Aoláin & colleagues for publishing The Oxford Handbook on Gender and Conflict, a fabulous resource for students, practitioners and academics alike.
- Dismayed and uplifted by the tsunami from the outing of Harvey Weinstein decades-long sexual abuse and harassment of women? This is a great set of suggestions on how men can walk the talk on gender equality. We especially appreciate this insight - "Part of living in a patriarchal society is that men are not socialized to think about how their habits and attitudes harm women. This list is meant to push men to think more consciously and personally about the direct and indirect effects they have on women, and to think more about how they can contribute to feminism through their lived, everyday practices." #metoo
- The her-story of the #metoo hashtag is now helpfully explained in a Wiki page.
- Madawi al-Rashid, thank you for reminding us about the long way to go in Saudi Arabia for women. It's an age-old ploy of patriarchal dictators, to act as the saviours of the women they oppress by granting them freedoms that are risible in the face of those they really lack - of movement, of speech, of franchise, of personal status; all the while distracting onlookers from those and other crimes and abuses perpetrated with impunity.
July, August, September 2017
- Rafia Zakaria critiques Canada's feminist foreign policy - Call it disruption, call it radical overhaul: the point of this article is that tinkering around the edges is no longer enough - aid systems, so many systems need to be rethought from a feminist perspective that benefits everyone.
- August 8 is the 29th anniversary of the '88 Uprising in Myanmar. Good profile here of women who were part of the uprising and what they are doing now. Ma Win Maw Oo was killed in the Uprising by the military. On her wishes, Ma Win Maw Oo had her final burial rites in May 2016 when the National League for Democracy came to power.
- Vale Ginny Bouvier. We recall her deep commitment to feminism and social justice and remember Ginny as careful and thoughtful, and deeply committed to inclusive peace processes. You can read her wonderful blog, Colombia Calls which will remain a touchstone for insightful analysis on the Colombia peace process.
April, May, June 2017
- Stark finding on the pathways between childhood trauma, intimate partner violence, and harsh parenting. Review the findings from the UN Multi-country Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific published in The Lancet.
- The Australian Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade has launched a Women in Leadership strategy to increase the numbers of women in senior levels. Notably:"The initiative requires all managers to participate in unconscious bias training and set a target of women filling 43 per cent of senior executive band one positions by 2020."
January, February, March 2017
- Despite the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade launching a Women in Leadership strategy in 2015 to increase the numbers of women in senior levels, progress is too slow according to the first woman to ever lead the Department (as of 2016). "The initiative requires all managers to participate in unconscious bias training and set a target of women filling 43 per cent of senior executive band one positions by 2020."
- The invisibilising and silencing of girls and women starts early, and in subtle forms from the stories we read and share. Here is a great exercise to do with your own kids, children you know or in a classroom, a stocktake of the portrayal of girls and women in children's stories. Check out the The Ugly Truth
- This International Women's Day follow the hashtags #IWD and #BeBoldForChange.
October, November, December 2016
- Nifty summary of the OCED-DAC Gender-net review by Emily Esplen.
- On and off court the Williams sisters shine. Motivated by the murder of their sister due to gun violence, Venus and Serena Williams have founded the Yetunde Price Resource Center, a safe space to men and women affected by gun violence, in Compton, California.
- "Working on Gender Equality in Fragile Contexts" is the November 2016 theme for the Gender and Development Journal. Policy-relevant and stimulating reading. We also love that this is an open-source journal.
July, August, September 2016
- Thrilled to share the work of the Gun Free Kitchen Tables from Israel providing "a first-of-its-kind feminist analysis of the proliferation, distribution, regulation, control of, and some of the damage caused by small arms in Israel."
- "Studies have consistently found that men overestimate their abilities and performance, and women do the opposite." Pitch perfect insights from Julia Baird about the insidious ways women doubt and pick away at ourselves in comparison to so many men who float on a sea of mediocrity.
- The UN Peacebuilding Commission has adopted a gender strategy after a lot of work, push and pull. Kudos to colleagues working on this over many years.
- Athena salutes Serena Williams. Journalist: “There’s talk about you going down as one of the greatest female athletes of all-time.” Serena: “I prefer the words ‘one of the greatest athletes of all time’. No one has yet asked Roger Federer if he considers himself one of the greatest male athletes of all time."
April, May, June 2016
- "Imagine a life amidst war, another war, and recovery from decades of war, where humans decide that all public positions are shared between women and men, and where, in fact, everything is shared. It’s not a bleak but beautiful fantasy dreamed up by Ursula le Guin, it is here and now on the border between Syria and Turkey. It is Rojava." Beatrix Campbell reporting on the women who have taken up arms against Daesh/ISIS.
- Brilliant to see this award from the International Feminist Journal of Politics in honour of the One and Only Cynthia Enloe who has enabled so many of us to spot, process and transform the nexus between militarism and patriarchy.
- This Father's Day the World Bank and Sexual Violence Research Initiative highlight their research grants to nine teams to prevent gender-based violence, specifically projects that examine power and masculinity.
January, February, March 2016
- Athena always recommends reading whatever Anne Marie Goetz writes. Let's bring the F-word to the UN Secretary General selection process.
- Alliance for Gender Inclusion in the Peace Process in Myanmar launched its first Policy Brief in January. You can access on their site in English and Burmese.
- From 17 to 18% women's inclusion in the 2016 Davos Forum. Athena commented on this last year! Are the organisers still living in a former century or have the world's female changemakers decided to use their energies more productively?
October, November, December 2015
- The brilliant women at the Women Peacemakers Program released a great series of articles during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, from its publication ‘Women, Peace & Security: Business as Usual?’: A critical exploration of the relationship between the private sector and the implementation of the Women, Peace & Security agenda and the connections between militarism, power and patriarchy.
- October welcomed the newest member of the WPS Agenda, UN Security Council Resolution 2422. A snapshot of UNSCR2422 highlights here from WILPF and a great little infographic. What is new?
- Athena was in New York for the Open Debate and High Level Review and release of the Global Study on Women, Peace and Security: Preventing Conflict, Transforming Justice, Securing Peace.
- Athena speaking for Crisis Management Initiative highlighted the need to step it up on women's participation
- Early in 2015, Athena supported coordination efforts for civil society: over 47 civil society organizations, academics and research institutes submitted resources and policy briefs providing key implementation gaps, good practices and recommendations for the Global Study (you can read those recommendations here and the 9 strategic recommendations from civil society here.
- Athena’s Cate Buchanan and International Alert’s Henri Myrrttnen discuss ‘Men and Gender in the Peace Process: Worlds Apart?’. 'Men are on the front lines of war. They are fighters, negotiators and peacebuilders. They are victims and survivors of violence and intimidation, aid givers, media and by-standers. Yet in spite of their ubiquity, their own gendered identity as men – and how this affects conflict and peace – is seldom discussed in peace talks, policymaking and research.’ A fantastic contribution to this growing field of analysis and policy.
- In her excellent piece, ‘The Lost Agenda: Gender Parity in Senior UN Appointments’ on the Global Peace Operations Review blog, Karin Landgren shines a light on a seemingly unnoticed statistic in 2015: selections for the seniormost level of UN staff were skewed nearly 92 per cent male.
July, August, September 2015
- Thanks Louise Olsson and Open Democracy for this good piece on the pitfalls of vague language and 'good intentions only' gender mainstreaming approaches; in this case in EU Common Security and Defence Policy missions.
- Athena was part of the review team for the Interim Review of the Australian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (2012-2018). The Interim Review will be released in early 2015 and will provide recommendations to the Australian government on strengthening implementation of the UN Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security and ways to enhance civil society collaboration.
- Athena was proud to be part of the extensive consultations for the newly launched Better Peace Tool. The Better Peace Tool was conceived by the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) in 2014, to develop practical guidance on the inclusion of women peacebuilders in peacemaking and mediation processes. Through research, convening, and diverse consultations, the project aimed to move beyond the question of why inclusivity matters, to ask how it is being practiced – identifying ongoing barriers and effective strategies to overcome them.
April, May, June 2015
- 100 years after over 1000 women gathered in the Hague to bring an end to World War I, Athena was honoured to join Nobel laureates and women’s rights activists from around the globe at the WILPF Centenary Women’s Power to Stop War Conference. You can listen and watch all 42 sessions from the Conference here.
- Great week for Athena when 2/3 of us were honoured to be a part of WILPF's 100th year reflections in Canberra. An inspiring event captured with vibrance on storify.
- Brilliant new resource from the powerhouse team at the International Peace Institute, “Reimagining Peacemaking: Women’s Roles in Peace Processes” which brings together new quantitative and qualitative evidence on the impact of this participation and explores models and strategies for strengthening women’s influence in peace processes.
- Q&A with Rina Amiri, senior research associate, Princeton University and a former member of UN Mediation Standby Team on the ‘value added’ of inclusion: “women and civil society actors are actually very strategic assets and they can be partners in helping the UN get better access and go to places it cannot because of security and mobility constraints."
- Essential listening/reading: an interview with the brilliant Anne Marie Goetz, New York University, former Head of Peace and Security at UN Women. “Women’s Rights Find Success and Pushback”
March and April 2015
- Nifty blog Two Views Beyond the Hill to follow from two awesome women in Washington DC with all kinds of fresh views and insights. Thumbs up from Athena.
- Policy Brief from the Women Peacemakers Program, “Counterterrorism Measures and Their Effects on the Implementation of the Women, Peace & Security Agenda,” refers to the: "...worrying emerging trend affecting women’s organizations worldwide - which has the potential to become a serious disabler to women’s human rights and peace activism and hence UNSCR 1325 implementation in upcoming years - the impact of #counterterrorism measures."
- The Foreign Minister of Sweden, Margot Wallström, decision not to sell arms to Saudi Arabia powerfully demonstrated what #feminist foreign policy looks like in action.
- Athena always appreciates the insights of Saferworld's Hannah Wright this time on what it means to bring the men and masculinities agenda into the 1325 one: "Rather than seeing gender as a de-politicised, technical exercise that just adds men and boys to the women, peace and security agenda, we need to repoliticise an agenda that all too often focuses on adding women into existing peace and security processes without really challenging the gendered nature of those processes."
January and February 2015
- Athena managing a short-term list-serv to provide information about the 1325 High Level Review #HLR1325 as well as the Peace Support Operations review (PSO). The HLR is a golden policymaking moment for intensifying efforts to secure #womensrights and #genderjustice in #peacetalks, #securitysectorreform,#violencereduction and much more. UN Women have indicated that HLR submissions are best received by the end of March to be fully considered in the process that is being led by Radhika Coomaraswamy. The list-serv aims to provide info about who is writing on what themes etc. The first edition of the document (Feb 20, 2015) is available here. If you would like to join the list-serv please be in touch email@example.com.
- Athena welcomes a strong policy brief, as always, from the NGO Working Group on Women Peace & Security to focus our minds and those in particular of the UN Security Council on priorities in the agenda for 2015; Athena notes in particular the practical recommendations on gender expertise in political and peacekeeping missions.
- If 2014 was such a banner year for feminism and gender equality, according to the media, should we be satisfied to see only 17% of Davos participants in January 2015 were women?. No time to relax our efforts, thinks Athena
- Thoughtful piece by Jayne Huckerby on women jihadis reminding us that we need to understand the world in complex not simplistic ways: and this includes the role women play in terror.
- Delighted to see the EU appoint its first female head of a Common Security and Defence Policy Mission, EUPOL Afghanistan, Pia Stjernvall.
- Athena welcomes the opening of a new academic centre at LSE to combat warzone violence against women, and in particular the choice of director, Professor Christine Chinkin.
- Thanks to Laura Mcleod for her new study Gender and Peace Settlements from a Quantitative Perspective: A global surveywhich reveals that there is very little quantitative information collected about the process of reaching an agreement e.g. who participates, where the agreement is made or how civil society is involved; her analysis also reveals that these datasets code gender in different ways, and these labels cannot be taken at face value. Such representations could reproduce essentialist images about women and obscure the power relations that shape the kind of data that is included and what is considered to “count”.
November and December 2014:
- Fionnuala Ní Aoláin offers a reflection on the Top Ten Gender and Security Issues of 2014
- A six women team of Colombia gender experts participated in the December round of peace talks in Havana; a first for this long running peace process. This follows on from the summit on women and peace in October 2013 of some 400 Colombian women who demanded seats at the negotiating table for women. This resulted in two women going on to the government team–María Paulina Riveros and Nigeria Rentería.
- On the 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women Anne-Marie Goetz reflects on three aspects of norms: emergence, cascade and internalization. Relevant across a wide range of women's rights concerns but here she specifically applies it to understanding why progress to address violence against women is stuck.
August, September and October 2014:
- Congratulations to the two winners of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize: Malala Yousafzai, the teenage Pakistani education campaigner shot on a school bus in 2012 by a Taliban gunman, and Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian children’s rights activist. Whatever the criticism of this prize, Athena thinks it is good to see the link being clearly made between education for girls and peace. Peace is a transformation not an act.
- International IDEA makes another useful contribution with its first ever world atlas of gender quotas.
- Making history: for the first time ever there are 6 women amongst the 15-nation-member of the UN Security Council
- Athena sends congratulations and best wishes in her important new role to Marriët Schurmann, the new NATO Special Representative on UNSCR 1325
- Insights on women, gender and equality worth reading from the Guardian's outgoing Women's Editor Jane Martinson
- Athena wishes good luck to the second female HR/VP of the European Union External Action Service, Federica Mogherini
- Athena welcomes the publication by the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court of a historical policy paper on gender and sexual based crimes.
May, June and July 2014:
- Good summary from Alex Paul of the recent #betterpeace conference in Washington DC, June 2014 organised by ICAN, Conflict Management Initiative, Cordaid, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, WIIS and others. Athena had the pleasure and honour of providing facilitation during this meeting which included peace process advocates and specialists from Colombia, South Sudan, Myanmar, the Philippines, Guatemala, Syria, Afghanistan, Kenya and elsewhere.
- The Gender and Development Network released Unpaid care: A priority for the post-2015 development goals and beyond as a target on unpaid care work has now been included in the final outcome document of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. The linkage to gender equality is significant here. The GAD briefing note "provides evidence of the many benefits of tackling women’s disproportionate burden of unpaid care work, and suggests practical proposals for implementation and indicators for measuring progress."
- A key outcome of the UK Government led global summit to address sexual violence in armed conflict is the International Protocol on the documentation and investigation of sexual violence in conflict: Basic Standards of Best Practice on the Documentation of Sexual Violence as a Crime under International Law.
- Office of the Prosecutor of the Int Criminal Court released Policy Paper on Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes in June 2014.
- Congratulations to DCAF, OSCE/ODIHR and the OSCE Gender Section for producing a new, **highly concrete set of guidelines on integrating gender into internal oversight for police, armed forces and security sector by Ombuds and National Human Rights Institutions.
January, February and March 2014:
- A great initiative underway from our colleagues at The Institute for Inclusive Security, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and 'No Ceilings', a new campaign Hillary Clinton has established through the Clinton Foundation to focus on women's leadership to resolve violent conflict and further implementation of Security Council resolution 1325.
- 10 Ways Syrian Women Are Building Peace and Democracy from the Institute for Inclusive Security
- Saudia Arabia appoints its first female editor of a national newspaper. Wishing you all the best in your groundbreaking role, Somayya Jabarti
- Can the Central African Republic's first woman president (and the third in Africa), Catherine Samba Panza, lead the troubled Central African Republic out of disaster?, asks the New York Times
- Talking about Syria: tracking inclusion issues with the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
- Progress on peace and women's representation in the Philippines: another agreement signed, with an unusually number of high profile women playing key roles, says the New York Times
- Could Helen Clark be the UN's first female United Nations Secretary-General?
- The 15 #UN Security Council ambassadors for 2014. Five female ambassadors on council for first time ever.