Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

On June 11, 2019, the Trump administration put forth his strategy for Women, Peace, and Security that promotes women in security positions and acknowledges the issues that affect women are often left out of peace agreements.

On June 11, 2019, President Donald Trump released the United States Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security which implements methods of increasing women’s participation in the security of the nation and the world. According to Senior Whitehouse Officials, this is the first bipartisan legislation of its kind and the United States is the first country in the world with a comprehensive law addressing this issue.

Back in October 2017, the Women, Peace, and Security Act was signed into law to increase the participation of women in all aspects of conflict prevention around the world, what Donald Trump released yesterday was a comprehensive strategy. This legislation is important in enhancing women’s’ role in United States security leadership across the globe. Donald Trump said about the strategy that “by investing in women around the world, we’re investing in families, we’re investing in prosperity, and we’re investing in peace.”

History of Women, Peace, and Security

According to the Council on Foreign Relations and the UN, “between 1990 and 2017, women constituted only 2 percent of mediators, 8 percent of negotiators, and 5 percent of witnesses and signatories in all major peace processes” around the world. Since 2012, the UN tried and still tries to tackle this issue on an international level. Only two women in history, Miriam Coronel Ferrer of the Philippines and Tzipi Livni of Israel, ever served as chief negotiators or signed a final peace accord despite the current fifteen female world leaders. Meanwhile, fourteen of the seventeen lowest-scoring countries on the Index for Gender experienced armed conflict within the last two decades. The UN seeks to increase the number of women participating in peace and security processes around the world because the data suggests that women are an effective resource in the work towards peace and the lack of representation of women’s issues in peace agreements. Trump’s strategy seeks to increase women’s representation in all of these areas.

The White House also acknowledges that women’s engagement in international issues often results in longer-lasting and comprehensive peace agreements. The strategy is to support the preparation and participation of women around the world in decision-making processes related to conflict and crisis;  promote protection of women’s human rights, access to humanitarian assistance, safety from violence, abuse, and exploitation around the world; adjust the United States’ international programs to promote equality and empowerment of women; and encourage partner government to adopt similar policies. This strategy also strives to economically empower fifty million women across the world by 2025.

Donald Trump and Women’s Rights

The strategy is monumental in its efforts to promote women’s participation in peace processes around the world through economics and empowerment. Forward momentum in women’s rights will benefit the entire world for generations to come, regardless of the snail-like pace at which this progress may move. The Equal Rights act is still up in the air with only a thirty-seven out of thirty-eight states’ ratifications needed. Donald Trump’s signing of the law and release of a strategy is not shocking, but it may seem hypocritical.

On the completion of his presidential term, Trump is wanted by at least ten women on counts of sexual harassment and assault, which he actively denied partaking in. Trump’s comments about women are also concerning, especially the “grab ’em by the pussy,” comment. He is also against the Equality Act, an act that would secure LGBTQIA rights and protections under the law, on the basis that it fundamentally restricts and disturbs the rights of the family and the individual. He refers to religious and personal freedoms that allow people to offend LGBTQIA people. He also put into place a ban on transgender military members.

The evidence is clear that women who take a participatory role in peace and security caused an increase in effective peace and security deals. However, the strategy also specifies that women’s issues are left out of peace agreements and seeks to increase the mentions of these issues in peace agreements to resolve conflict. These issues include sexual assault and harassment as issues that effect the security of women around the world. Ultimately, the goal of these laws acts, and strategies is to increase the number of voices on a national and international level in conversations. Diversity is important to increasing the number of ideas and fixing the lack of representation in discussions that define national and international security. Many wonder why diversity is important in national and international discussions, but the more ideas put forth, the more education happens, and the more reflective a government is of its people. Something that this strategy puts into question is whether or not the Trump administration acknowledges the struggles of underrepresented communities within the female identity and will work to acknowledge those specific struggles. Also, if the Trump administration is against the Equality Act as it stands, it means that the female LGBTQIA community is not protected in the Women, Peace, and Security strategy.

Margaret Valenti

Margaret Valenti is the Editor of Generation Z Voice at The Pavlovic Today.