Last Friday, Deputy Administrator Don Steinberg joined Dr. Katherine Hicks, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans, and Forces at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) for its “Women and War” symposium on peace and security in the second decade of UN Security Council Resolution 1325. Jointly hosted by USIP and the Peace Research Institute-Oslo (PRIO), the event also marked the release of the book Women & War: Power and Protection in the 21st Century.
The edited volume is a trans-Atlantic collaborative effort to highlight innovative approaches toward ensuring greater participation of women at the negotiating table, and the ways in which women will make a difference in the security arena over the next decade. In 2000, the United States supported the adoption of UNSCR 1325 as a call to action for governments around the world to increase women’s participation in matters of international security and strengthen their protection in times of conflict. As part of President Obama and Secretary Clinton’s commitment to develop a National Action Plan that outlines U.S. support for women as key enablers of peace and stability in countries affected by conflict, Deputy Administrator Donald Steinberg talked about his contribution to the book and highlighted a few aspects of the progress USAID is making in developing that plan.
As an Agency, USAID is combining initiatives and programs with actions that institutionalize a gender perspective into the way we do business. We’re incorporating programmatic as well as administrative goals that are Specific, Measurable, Additive, fully Resourced, Time-bound, Evidence-Based and Responsive (SMARTER). In addition to comprehensively addressing the key objective areas outlined by UNSCR 1325– including participation, prevention, protection, and relief and recovery, we’re implementing Agency policies, training, and personnel policies that allow us to respond more effectively to the needs of women and girls in conflict-affected countries. “It’s about monitoring and evaluation, accountability and measurement. It’s not just measuring the inputs and outputs, but the outcomes” stated Steinberg.
DA Steinberg further discussed how gender equality and women’s empowerment is critical to achieve our development and humanitarian assistance objectives. In conflict and crisis situations, it is a challenging but vital imperative to work toward protection and power for women and girls—protection from sexual violence and gender-based violence, that harms individuals, families, and entire communities, and empowerment, that promotes women’s participation at the negotiating table and in rebuilding conflict-affected communities. “It’s not just a question about bringing more women to the table, but how we make that process work more effectively.” He stressed a critical shift in how we evaluate our own staff to value inclusive leadership – “drawing in others agencies and government but also reaching out to all the communities out there – most prominently the 50% of the population who is normally excluded from the development dialogue.”
Read an excerpt of Deputy Administrator Donald Steinberg’s chapter of Women & War: Power and Protection in the 21st Century.