2015 was a challenging year for the world – continuing conflict across the globe has caused the displacement of millions of people, many of whom are women and children. The refugee crisis is an urgent challenge for the world’s governments to tackle this year and it is important to particularly focus on how so many women and children can be protected, but also empowered to ensure their future can be stable and secure.
I wrote earlier this year in my Huffington Post blog about the plight of the Yazidi women, following a meeting with three women who survived rape and exploitation at the hands of ISIL. It is integral that we continue to bring attention to these terrible atrocities and put more pressure on the authorities to protect this community.
Thank you to all that attended my annual Blog Breakfast in Washington D.C. on “Global Uncertainty: Women are Key to Change.” It was an important discussion to recognize all that has been achieved in women, peace and security to date - 2015 was a big year of anniversaries in the field; it was the 20th anniversary of UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, and the 15th anniversary of the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325. But we also discussed what more needed to be done and I spoke about the importance of continued participation of women at the peace table and how it is integral that the international community monitors the extent of women taking part in peace talks.
I am very pleased to announce that in 2016 I will be joining the board of Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security which examines and highlights the roles and experiences of women in peace and security worldwide through cutting edge research, global convenings and strategic partnerships. As the international community recognizes the importance of elevating women’s participation in peace and security efforts, Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security stands ready to provide essential analysis, expertise and leadership on this critical issue.
As we begin 2016 and face the ongoing conflicts taking place around the world, it is important that peace talks should always include women at the table. It is vital that local women who bear the brunt of war, participate in its resolution to ensure peace is maintained and its long-term outcomes are defined by those most effected most. When you have women leading peace and playing an active part in the process, peace can be much more long-term. The British government are committed to this and work hard to ensure women are included in all peace talks.