Bringing More Women to the Fight for Peace through Security Cooperation
- There is no lasting peace and security without continuous and meaningful participation of women in every facet of society: from political and economic leadership, to providing for its defense. For this reason, a key element of my work as the U.S. Department of State’s Civilian Deputy to the Commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) is promoting Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) initiatives as a cornerstone to our mission of furthering robust security partnerships across the Americas. (Links to U.S. State Dept.'s DipNote Blog)
"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.
“The implementation of the WPS agenda is both a moral and a strategic imperative for U.S. foreign policy and national security. Research shows that the status of women and the stability of nations are inextricably linked: higher levels of equality make countries more prosperous, secure, and democratic; conversely, lower levels of gender equality result in greater instability, corruption, and conflict.” – US National Strategy on WPS 2023
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.
The 2023 U.S. National Strategy on WPS includes five Lines of Effort: Participation; Protection; Relief, Response, and Recovery; Integration and Institutionalization; and Partnerships. This approach 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 (UN.org)
Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017 (Congress.gov)
The 2023 United States Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security (Whitehouse.gov)
DoD Women, Peace, and Security Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan (Defense.gov)