The Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017 (P.L. 115-68) (WPS Act) codified the United States Government’s decades-long, sustained commitment to the principles of the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda. This Agenda stemmed from the historic 2000 United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, which has since been further supported by a growing body of policies to affirm gender equity and equality in security, peace-making, and peacekeeping, here in the United States and globally.
Conflict has disastrous impacts on affected communities and devastating economic costs globally. Women, as half the world’s population, must be engaged as leaders and key participants in responding to the complex challenges of global peace and security. The world is more peaceful, safe, and prosperous when women can fully participate in all facets of economic, social, and political life—and their human rights are respected. For the Biden-Harris Administration, the WPS agenda is a cornerstone of U.S. government efforts geared to averting and preventing conflict, including bolstering the implementation of the U.S. Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability and the U.S. Strategy to Anticipate, Prevent and Respond to Atrocities. WPS is also a core theme throughout the National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality, which makes gender equity a strategic imperative across the domestic and foreign policy of the Biden-Harris Administration. This important lens is informing our work to avert and respond to crises, from the conflict-related sexual violence we are witnessing in Ukraine to the underrepresentation of women in civic participation in Guatemala.
The report issued today is the second report to Congress evaluating the USG’s progress towards advancing the goals of 2019 U.S. Women Peace and Security Strategy and includes overviews of efforts undertaken by the four departments and agencies involved in the Strategy: the Department of Defense (DoD), Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of State (State), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The reports summarize progress made in the WPS Strategy’s four Lines of Effort (LOEs): 1) Participation; 2) Protection; 3) Internal Capabilities; and 4) Partnerships.
To review the report, please visit: U.S. Women Peace and Security Congressional Report 2022. Below are highlights from each agency’s reports:
Department of State. The Department continued its focus on WPS implementation through monitoring, evaluation, and learning exercises and strengthened engagement with key partners, such as civil society leaders. During the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 reporting period, the Department continued engagement with civil society, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the private sector, and partner governments; increased its training of personnel on WPS; and increased use of gender analysis in projects and strategic frameworks by 25 percent compared to FY 2020. Additionally, Department programs, training, and funding for WPS increased from FY 2020 to FY 2021. During the reporting period, the Department invested approximately $110 million in assistance programming to advance WPS. The Department also integrated WPS principles into its internal processes, including 231 notice of funding requests (NOFOs) and requests for proposals (RFPs) requiring a gender analysis – up from only 12 reported in FY 2020. As part of the Department’s ongoing internal review of its WPS data call and to streamline the report, the Department revised or removed some indicators for this reporting period (FY 2021).
U.S. Agency for International Development. In accordance with the commitments of USAID’s WPS Implementation Plan, USAID increased its efforts to consult with local women leaders, civil society, including faith-based organizations, as well as academia in countries affected by crisis and conflict. In FY 2021, USAID supported the participation of over 77,000 women in leadership, conflict mediation, legal, political, and peacebuilding processes, and provided critical health care, psychosocial support, legal aid, and economic services to more than 5.3 million gender-based violence survivors. In FY 21, USAID invested over $243 million in programming designed to empower and protect women and girls in countries affected by crisis, conflict, violent extremism, and natural disasters.
Department of Homeland Security. In FY 2021, there were significant accomplishments across the four DHS LOEs. The Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) trained 8,458 women in both basic and advanced law enforcement training programs; Initiative 2023 was launched to increase the number of women in law enforcement by 30 percent no later than 2023; and the U.S. Secret Service celebrated its 50th anniversary of admitting female agents. DHS led the Unified Coordination Group, a whole-of-government, whole-of-society effort to resettle more than 76,000 vulnerable Afghans, including women leaders, human rights activists, humanitarian workers, journalists, and other at-risk individuals across the United States. Through this effort, and Operation Allies Welcome (OAW), the Department also promoted the protection of Afghan women and girls through such initiatives as listening sessions with stakeholders on civil and human rights considerations. In addition to Department-wide efforts, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted targeted trainings regarding the global treatment of women and highlighted key issues such as Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C).
Department of Defense. The Department of Defense (DoD) WPS Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan (SFIP) established three Defense Objectives to support the WPS Strategy’s Lines of Effort (LOEs): (1) modeling and employing women’s meaningful participation in the Joint Force; (2) promoting partner nation women’s participation in all occupations in the defense and security sectors; and (3) ensuring partner nations protect women and girls, especially during conflict and crisis. In FY 2021, DoD spent $5.5 million to establish policies and programs to advance implementation of the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017 (Public Law 115-68), hire and train qualified personnel, and integrate WPS into relevant training curriculum and professional military education for the Armed Forces. In modeling women’s meaningful participation, Air Force General Jacqueline Van Ovost took command of U.S. Transportation Command and Army General Laura Richardson took command of U.S. Southern Command. The Department initiated use of $3 million from the International Security Cooperation Programs (ISCP) Account to conduct security cooperation (SC) programs that incorporate gender analysis and advance women’s participation in defense institutions and national security forces. This work was complemented by the Department’s efforts to support an Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military, which prompted historic reforms to preventing and addressing sexual and gender-based violence across the force—reaffirming DoD’s commitment to advancing WPS goals within our military.