mlambongcuka2_ Nada HaribGetty Images_women protest Nada Harib/Getty Images

Investing in a Feminist Peace

For all the devastation it has caused, the COVID-19 crisis also represents a generational opportunity to build more inclusive economies and societies, free of the scourge of violent conflict. A concerted effort to demilitarize our world and build a feminist peace – beginning with a global ceasefire, and followed by a comprehensive reappraisal of how we allocate our resources – must be central to this vision.

NEW YORK – During the COVID-19 pandemic, public life in much of the world has largely ground to a halt. For the two billion people living in conflict-affected countries, however, there has been no lull in violence and upheaval. Some of the world’s conflicts have even escalated or been reignited during the crisis, dealing devastating new blows to infrastructure and health-care systems that were only beginning to be rebuilt. Globally, we continue to invest far more in the tools of war than in the foundations of peace.

Of course, some are working for peace. On March 23, at the outset of the pandemic, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called for a global ceasefire, in order to enable countries to focus on the COVID-19 crisis and allow humanitarian organizations to reach vulnerable populations. More than 100 women’s organizations from Iraq, Libya, Palestine, Syria, and Yemen quickly joined the appeal with a joint statement advocating a broad COVID-19 truce, which could form the basis for a lasting peace.

It should come as no surprise that women were among the first to support the call for a ceasefire. Last week, governments and civil society came together to mark 20 years since UN Security Council Resolution 1325 first recognized women’s pivotal roles on the frontlines of peace-building efforts.