I call on you to demand that women are properly represented in peace processes. There are no real excuses for anything less. That we are going backwards is surely a simple failure of will.” This was the strong voice of Executive Director of UN Women Sima Bahous closing her statement at the UN Annual Security Council Open Debate, on October 20th, 2022.
At the debate, delegates called for women’s inclusion in all peace processes. United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed stated that, ‘Many of the challenges the world faces today, from proliferating conflicts to worsening assaults on human rights, are connected to the trampling of women’s rights and to deeply ingrained misogyny around the world’. Ms. Mohammed highlighted that we are moving in the opposite direction, and that progress is ‘far too slow’. Moreover, she called on the need to challenge such misogyny, as well as the social, political, and economic structures and norms that sustain it. “Women and girls are often the primary targets of violence and abuse in conflict settings,” she said, stressing: “They must be in the vanguard of our response.” Sima Bahous further stated that the International Community and member states must provide material and political support to women human rights defenders and their organizations. She drew attention to quotas and measures that ensure bridging the gender parity gap in decision-making. While so far there has been no specific outcome of the open debate, it was reported that the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda has been driven back in the last years. Delegates urged that this be taken seriously, especially amidst the global resurgence of conflict, war and misogyny.