U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) joined with Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Scott Brown (R-MA) today to introduce the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2012. The legislation would ensure future implementation of the Obama Administration's " United States National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security," which is aimed at increasing the role of women in efforts to both prevent and resolve conflict.
Unfortunately, women and girls are disproportionately impacted by violence and armed conflict. But at the same time, they are underrepresented in peace negotiations. Since women are often critical to preventing violence before it occurs and to resolving crises once they begin, the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2012 would help ensure that they have a voice and play a meaningful and integral role in making decisions that will impact their lives and their futures.
"For too long, women have been left out of peace negotiations -- even though they are disproportionately affected by these conflicts," Senator Boxer said. "From Northern Ireland to Liberia, women have proven how valuable their contributions are to peace talks, conflict prevention and conflict mediation, so it is critical that we ensure that women are at the table."
"In every human endeavor, societies put themselves at a disadvantage when women are less than fully engaged," Senator Hutchison said. "Nothing could be more important to the security and safety of our nation, and to the resolution of conflicts worldwide, than to take steps to ensure women are involved in the process of conflict mediation and peace negotiations. This legislation gives women a seat at the table -- and that benefits us all."
The President released the National Action Plan in December 2011, joining 37 other nations that have released national action plans. The Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2012 would codify the National Action Plan and ensure the United States continues to lead in its commitment to women's participation in peace and security efforts for years to come.