Women and War: An Agenda for Action

Authored by: Donald Steinberg

Categories: Violent Conflict
Sub-Categories: International Agreements, International Law, Peace Accords, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)
Country: Angola
Region: Sub-Saharan Africa
Year: 2011
Citation: Steinberg, Donald. "Women and War: An Agenda for Action." In Women and War: Power and Protection in the 21st Century, edited by Kathleen Kuehnast, Chantal de Jonge Oudraat, and Helga Hernes,115-30. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2011.

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Executive Summary

Donald Steinberg explains how the 1994 “gender-neutral” peace accords to end the civil war in Angola lacked provisions requiring the participation of women in the implementation bodies, and as a result “issues such as sexual violence, human trafficking, abuses by government and rebel security forces, reproductive health care, and girls’ education were given short shrift, if addressed at all.” Similarly, the amnesty provisions showed Angolan women that the peace process was intended for the ex-combatants and not for the women subject to sexual abuse during the war. He reminds us that gender-neutral peace accords not only neglect the voices of women, they also fail to recognize that such neglect ultimately undermines the peace. Steinberg issues a call to action in order to realize the promise of UNSCR 1325. Steinberg suggests that the success of these efforts will be measured not by the number of resolutions passed or the amount of money spent, but by the progress made in protecting the lives of women on the ground and the opportunities to play their rightful and vital role in peace processes and post-conflict governments and economies.