Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality, IANWGE
Women's Empowerment
in the Context of Human Security
( 7-8 December, 1999, ESCAP, Bangkok, Thailand )   


In the ten months since the joint Inter-Agency Committee on Women and Gender Equality-OECD/DAC Working Party on Women and Gender Equality Workshop on "Women's Empowerment in the Context of Human Security" was convened, there have been several crucial developments which have expanded our understanding of the concept of human security.

On 8 March 2000, International Women's Day, the United Nations Security Council issued a Statement recognizing that peace is inextricably linked with equality between women and men. The Statement also affirmed that the equal access and full participation of women in power structures and their full involvement in all efforts for the prevention and resolution of conflicts are essential for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security. The Security Council emphasized that if women are to play an equal part in security and maintaining peace they must be represented politically and economically at all levels of decision-making, both at the pre-conflict stage, during hostilities and at the point of peace-keeping, peace-building, reconciliation and reconstruction. The importance of an active and visible policy of mainstreaming a gender perspective into all policies and programmes while addressing armed and other conflicts was also underscored.

Practical strategies to ensure women's security and empowerment in post-conflict situations were agreed in the Namibia Plan of Action on 'Mainstreaming a Gender Perspective in Multidimensional Peace Support Operations' adopted at Windhoek on 31 May 2000. Subjects addressed during the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly entitled "Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century" also related to human security. Obstacles to the achievement for women of freedom from fear and freedom from want were identified, and specific actions for Government, regional and international organizations, non governmental organizations and other parts of civil society agreed. Several of these actions are directed at ensuring the equal participation of women in peace-keeping and peace-building. On 24 and 25 October 2000, the Security Council held an open discussion on women, peace and security. It adopted a far-reaching resolution (S/2000/1325) on the topic.

I am pleased to present the report of the workshop of women's empowerment in the context of human security. In so doing, I am conscious that the report has been delayed, both as a result of the extraordinary pressures associated with the special session on Beijing+5, and the delay in submission of several of the report's components.

Angela E.V. King
Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women

UN ACC Inter-Agency Committee
on Women and Gender Equality
OECD/DAC Working Party
on Gender Equality

Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women
Department of Economic and Social Affairs

E-Mail IANWGE Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Issues, 2 UN Plaza, 12th floor, New York, NY, 10017, USA Copyright (c) United Nations