White House Boosts Support for Women in Peace Politics

President Obama announced on Monday that he plans to sign an executive order rendering the country’s “first-ever national action plan on women, peace, and security.” The order serves to act as a way to include the perspectives of women in world and diplomatic strategies, he said in a statement.

The order is a blueprint for steps to be taken in order to include the female population in international peace efforts and to ensure that the women who do step up in peace efforts have more international support, particularly from the U.S.

“Deadly conflicts can be more effectively avoided, and peace can be best forged and sustained when women become equal partners in all aspects of peace-building and conflict prevention,” the White House said in a released document outlining the order.

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“Achieving this goal is critical to our national and global security,” the White House continued, adding that it is also the “right thing to do.”

The order will affect the Department of Defense, Department of State, and the U.S. Agency for International Development, among others. The institutions will be told to “accelerate, institutionalize, and better coordinate our efforts to advance women’s inclusion in peace negotiations, peace-building activities, and conflict prevention.” They must report to the government all efforts made in achieving this goal. The first reports will be due in 2015.

"Some women wield weapons of war, that's true, and many more are victims of it but too few are empowered to be instruments of peace and security," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said concerning Obama’s order, according to Reuters.

According a survey done by the United Nations last year, less than 10 percent of peace negotiators in the world’s major conflicts were women.

"That is an unacceptable waste of talent and of opportunity,” said Clinton.

"Women are bellwethers of society and, in fact, sometimes they do play the role of canary in the coal mine. They know when communities are fraying and when citizens fear for their safety," she told a Georgetown University event, according to Reuters.

As of now, peace accords are primarily between the warring party of armed combatants, making it difficult for peaceful negotiations. According to the White House policy, by including more women in the process as “meaningful participants,” women can “enlarge the scope of agreements to include the broader set of critical societal priorities and needs for lasting and just peace.”

According to Reuters, the order is not designed to require any immediate additional funding.

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