New and noteworthy

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

October, November, December 2017

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

January, February, March 2017

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

April, May, June 2016

January, February, March 2016

October, November, December 2015

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 info@athenaconsortium.org.
  • 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:

August, September and October 2014:

May, June and July 2014:

January, February and March 2014:

The 15 #UN Security Council ambassadors for 2014. Five female ambassadors on council for first time ever.
The 15 #UN Security Council ambassadors for 2014. Five female ambassadors on council for first time ever.