HomeLines of EffortStrengthen PartnershipsSOUTHCOM's Women Peace and Security (WPS) Program

SOUTHCOM Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Program

The U.S. Southern Command Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Program is part of a national effort to promote the meaningful contributions of women in the defense and security sectors around the world.


The COVID-19 crisis and response has profoundly amplified the importance of a gender perspective and gender diversity in military operations - namely the distinctly gendered vulnerabilities of the population and the significant leadership and front line roles females have played in the response effort. This educational video highlights the relevance of gender and gender perspectives in DoD operations, with a unique focus on USNORTHCOM and the COVID response. (U.S. Northern Command video)

TWENTY YEARS, TWENTY STORIES: WOMEN, PEACE, AND SECURITY IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE"Twenty Years, Twenty Stories: Women, Peace, and Security in the Western Hemisphere" - The William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, US Southern Command, essay contributors, and partner institutions throughout the region celebrated the publication of an edited collection of essays, "Twenty Years, Twenty Stories: Women, Peace, and Security in the Western Hemisphere."  The essays address the inclusion of women in WPS across mission areas, including cyber, peacekeeping, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. The publication commemorates the 20th anniversary of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325.


Group photo of military personnelWomen, Peace, and Security – Making the Invisible, Visible (State Dept's DipNote Blog, July 1, 2020) - Read a blog post by Amb. Jean Manes, SOUTHCOM's Civilian Deputy to the Commander, on how the command is implementing the U.S. Strategy on Women, Peace and Security in the region. (Links to U.S. State Dept.'s DipNote Blog)


Also Watch: Amb. Manes Discusses WPS during Florida International University's virtual Hemispheric Security Conference, May 19, 2020  - SOUTHCOM Civilian Deputy to the Commander, Amb. Jean Manes, discusses the command's Women, Peace and Security Program, the key role of women to security and peace efforts worldwide, and the importance of promoting WPS in Latin America and the Caribbean.  Blog in Spanish | Blog in Portuguese

“Governments that fail to treat women equally do not allow their societies to reach their full potential [while] societies that empower women to participate fully in civic and economic life are more prosperous” – US National Strategy on WPS 2019

The SOUTHCOM’s Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Program recognizes the diverse roles women play as agents of change in preventing and resolving conflict, countering terrorism and violent extremism as well as building post-conflict peace and stability in our Hemisphere.  

WPS is centered on four pillars: Participation, Prevention, Protection, and Relief and Recovery. This foundation provides unique engagement opportunities to strengthen bilateral relationships with regional partners through collective efforts that reinforce women’s empowerment, meaningful participation in decision-making, protection from violence, and access to resources. 

Inclusiveness increases mission effectiveness and drives positive outcomes.  With women making up over 50% of the population, they bring unique and necessary skills to security forces.  We know that when we invest in a woman, she changes not only her own life, but also that of her family and community.  Add that change in a key institution, such as the military, and she will change that institution and her country.

While structural changes to recruitment, training, and promotion systems are critical, we must also acknowledge the contributions of talented women across the security sector. We have made it our mission to empower women by highlighting those who are breaking barriers in our region. We want to make those that are invisible, visible. 

About Our Team

The WPS Program falls under the direct oversight of the SOUTHCOM Civilian Deputy to the Commander, Ambassador Jean Manes. The WPS Team’s main responsibilities include:

  • Advising the Commander and staff on the integration of gender perspectives in military operations, activities, and investments (OAIs) across the continuum of defense and security sectors in our region.

  • Ensuring we accurately represent the roles of women and men in our plans and exercises. 

  • Encouraging our partners to implement policies, plans, and structural changes that enhance the meaningful participation of women in decision-making processes related to peace and security.

  • Building relationships, networks, and mutual understanding to enable collaboration.

Important WPS Documents

UN Security Council Resolution 1325

Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017

The United States National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security

United States Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security

DoD Women, Peace, and Security Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan