Women Are the Key to World Peace

People light candles during a vigil in Kathmandu November 15, 2015, following the deadly attacks in Paris. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar - RTS75NHIt’s been a rough few days, and just like everyone else, our thoughts and hearts are with the people of Paris.With that in mind, we thought you’d like to know about a report published by the U.N. last month: “Preventing Conflict, Transforming Justice, Securing the Peace.” It’s a 418-page study on the progress since the adoption of Security Council resolution 1325 in 2000, which called for increased participation from women in conflict resolution and peacebuilding processes. That resolution also recognized the heightened impact that armed conflict often has on women and girls and urged nations to take steps to mitigate that impact.According to the report, in the 15 years since the resolution was passed, progress has indeed been made. The number of signed peace agreements that reference women has increased, as has the number of senior women at the U.N. and the amount of aid dedicated to advancing gender equality.Moreover, one of the report’s unequivocal conclusions is that “the participation of women at all levels is key to the operational effectiveness, success and sustainability of peace processes and peacebuilding efforts.” The authors also suggest that women peacebuilders may be critical for countering and dismantling violent extremist ideologies.(Our Take The Leader Lauren C. Anderson made a similar argument back in July, but having your point validated by the U.N. is always nice.)As we all continue to mourn, and to figure out where to go from here, it’s worth remembering that the things we talk about at Take The Lead—feminism, advancing women’s leadership—aren’t side conversations or issues of secondary importance. They’re essential elements of how we go about making our world a bit better.