Women, Peace and Security

Modern conflict no longer respects the line between the military and the civilian. Within conflict-affected communities, men and women, girls and boys, experience war differently. Gender describes the socially and culturally determined roles which govern relations between men and women; and in turn, influence the impact of armed conflict on each. Though women and children are often the majority of victims of today’s conflicts, women are also combatants, participants, leaders, negotiators, peacemakers, and activists.

Women at Security Council

With the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on women (PDF Version, 35.6 KB) * peace and security, as its reference points, Canada, with other member states of the United Nations, including at the General Assembly, Commission on Human Rights, Security Council, Commission on the Status of Women, the G8, and other regional and international organizations, such as the OAS and the OSCE, has actively worked to integrate a gender-sensitive approach to peacebuilding and human security efforts within these organizations.

Canada is one of the countries leading the way towards an international agenda on women and conflict. Canada was on the Security Council when it unanimously adopted Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security on October 31, 2000. The Resolution marks the culmination of years of intensive work on behalf of NGOs, governments and UN Agencies and is described as a landmark. The first Security Council resolution to deal exclusively with women in situations of armed conflict, it establishes a comprehensive agenda on women, peace, and security by addressing, inter alia, the need for full and equal participation of women in peace processes and peacebuilding activities, and gender-sensitive training for personnel involved in peace-support operations.

In particular, Security Council Resolution 1325 calls for:

  • participation of women in peace processes;
  • gender training in peacekeeping operations;
  • protection of and respect for the rights of women and girls;
  • gender mainstreaming in reporting and implementation systems of the UN relating to conflict, peace and security.

The Government of Canada submitted its response to the UN Secretary General’s request for information on the full implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security. This response fed into the Secretary General’s 2004 report to the Security Council on this issue.

Canada has also been a longtime advocate for the integration of a gender perspective (gender mainstreaming) in humanitarian, armed conflict and peacebuilding areas, including through our work in the context of the International Criminal Court (prosecution of gender-based crimes), Canada’s tenure on the Security Council (protection of civilians) and Canada’s more recent role in follow-up to the United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.

Recognizing the importance of integrating a gender perspective in Peace Support Operations (PSOs), Canada and the United Kingdom developed The Gender Training Initiative (GTI) for military and civilian personnel involved in PSOs. The GTI provides material for a three-day course on gender sensitive approaches to peace support operations which includes overviews of various thematic issues, such as violence against women and international humanitarian law, and geographic case studies. The GTI was piloted for a Canadian mixed military and civilian audience in Spring 2002 and has since been used by the UN in the development of their own standard training modules for peacekeepers.

Domestically, Canada created the Canadian Committee on Women, Peace and Security, which is comprised of parliamentarians, civil society representatives and government officials, and has to date focussed its work on advocacy, capacity-building, protection of rights of women and girls, and gender training. The Committee’s Third Annual Symposium was held in October, 2005, to discuss the Government of Canada’s recent initiative to develop a National Action Plan on the Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325, and to help plan the future role, structure and activities of the Committee.

Canada also initiated and chairs the New York-based "Friends of Women, Peace and Security" group: a coalition of like-minded states, representatives of UN agencies and NGOs who discuss priorities for implementation of and build momentum for Security Council Resolution 1325.

For more information:

Related Statements:

  • Statement to the United Nations Security Council for the Open Debate on Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict, by Ambassador John McNee - New York - December 16, 2010

  • Statement to the United Nations Security Council for the Open Debate on Women,
    Peace and Security
    by Minister Beverley Oda - New York - October 26, 2010

  • Statement to “A 1325 Call to Action”, ministerial meeting in preparation for the 10th anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325 by Minister Lawrence Cannon - New York - September 25, 2010 (PDF Version, 600 KB)*

* If you require a plug-in or a third-party software to view this file, please visit the alternative formats section of our help page.