The recent fight by U.S. officials to water down a UN resolution on conflict-related sexual violence was both an insult and an injury to survivors of rape in war.
Afghan women have been demanding to be included in peace negotiations with the U.S. since they began. We should have listened to them.
“No one has suffered more at the hands of the Taliban than the women of Afghanistan,” Melanne Verveer—executive director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and a former U.S. ambassador for Global Women’s Issues—explains in a new op-ed in USA Today.
Centering gender in the pursuit of justice for the Rohingya sends a strong message that the days of impunity for sexual violence are numbered.
“When the peace talks were declared after the ceasefires, we asked the question: Where are the women? Because we knew that, as activists, we had existed—and, had we not been around, the war would have been much worse.”
Despite signing the bipartisan Women, Peace, and Security Act to “increase women’s participation in negotiation and mediation processes”—by the looks of Trump’s Monday meeting with leaders from Pakistan, it seems he has completely ignored an act he himself signed into law.
“People say the U.S. Congress is dysfunctional,” Eleanor Smeal, Feminist Majority Foundation president and publisher of Ms., points out, “but not for a moment would we think of turning over the country to terrorists—and neither would the Afghans.”
“The government does not set out to discriminate. Rather, it overlooks its own bias because it does not take the trouble to assess how policies affect women. Government budgets are supposed to be ‘gender-neutral;’ in fact, they are gender-ignorant.”
In spite of the Taliban, Afghanistan is a picture of progress—though not perfection.
It’s long past time for more diverse voices in the field of national security and nuclear policy—and that’s exactly why the Ploughshare Fund, a global security grant-making foundation that supports initiatives seeking to eliminate nuclear weapons and the threats they pose, has awarded $50,000 to groups and individuals working to diversify the field.