Under the theme "Women, Peace and Security: Women Managing Conflict", the 2001 International Women’s Day observance focused on the international community’s commitment to addressing the devastating impact of armed conflict on women, their critical role in peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace-building, and the need to ensure full and equitable participation of women in peace processes.
This commitment was significantly strengthened by the adoption on 31 October 2000 of Security Council resolution 1325 (S/RES/1325), which urged an enhanced role for women in preventing conflict, promoting peace, and assisting in post-conflict reconstruction and the incorporation of a gender perspective into United Nations operations. For the first time in the history of the United Nations, the Security Council devoted an entire session to a debate on women’s experiences in conflict and post-conflict situations and their contributions to peace.
The adoption of Security Council resolution 1325 marked another milestone in the process of elevating women’s role in peace and security to a high political agenda. That process began with the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in 1995 and continued with the adoption of the Windhoek Declaration and the Namibia Plan of Action on Mainstreaming a Gender Perspective in Multidimensional Peace Support Operations in May 2000, and the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly entitled "Women 2000: Gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century" (Beijing + 5) in June 2000.
Discussions at the observance of International Women’s Day on 8 March 2001 were crucial as they brought greater attention to the identification of areas of concern and ways of overcoming obstacles to the participation of women in peace processes. The Day also provided an opportunity to further discuss the implementation of international commitments at the local, national and international levels.