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ICM Discussion Paper: Women, Peace, and Security

Independent Commission on Multilateralism 

This paper outlines key debates in the field of women, peace, and security, examines institutional challenges and opportunities, and makes recommendations for advancing the agenda in practice. Resulting from expert-level discussions that took place at an International Commission on Multilateralism (ICM) retreat in June 2015, this discussion paper is part of an overall consultative process as the ICM analyzes the multilateral system through the lens of sixteen issue areas.

Over the past two decades, an abundance of legal and policy frameworks in the multilateral system have focused on women’s security and empowerment. However, women continue to be poorly represented in formal peacemaking activities, and they suffer disproportionately from the indirect effects of conflict. The women, peace, and security agenda raises significant questions about the way that the multilateral system conceives of peace and security, and whose interests the system is prioritizing. Progress in this area is something on which the credibility of the multilateral system itself depends. There is ample evidence that women’s physical security and gender equality in society are associated with broader peace and stability in states. And there is growing recognition that inclusive societies are more likely to be peaceful and stable.

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