Reconciling Two Key Frameworks: Feminist Foreign Policy and Women, Peace & Security

Joan Johnson-Freese, Susan Markham 


There are currently two main frameworks regarding gender equality and women’s participation in international policy and conflict resolution: the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) framework, codified in the landmark United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 in 2000, and the feminist foreign policy framework (FFP) that became prominent in 2014 when Sweden became the first government to formally adopt a feminist foreign policy. Over the past decade, a tension has existed between the civil society advocates who were/are involved in the development, passage, and implementation of UNSCR 1325 and those academics and practitioners who favor the newer, feminist framework. Surprisingly (or not), an unpublished mapping exercise in 2019 between the two groups found very few people who worked on both frameworks or who were using the WPS framework as a foundation for the newer FFP. What we argue here is that the goals of both frameworks—gender equality and peace—are the same, and that the tension largely rests on differences in approach. In this piece, we provide background on both frameworks, what they have in common, some critiques, how they might approach current events, and recommendations on a way forward. What we suggest is that while these differences in approach are not insignificant, both frameworks would benefit from greater acknowledgement of and closer coordination with the other, so that more progress can be made within the gender equality movement.


Women, Peace and Security

The opening for ratification of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Political Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), both in 1966, in many ways represented the heyday of human rights activity at the United Nations. Unfortunately, however, it was quickly realized that many of the countries that had voted in support of those treaties had not assumed and did not recognize that the treaty provisions would also apply to women. Human rights were not inherently considered women’s rights. The United Nations subsequently followed up with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1979. Though as of 2015, 189 countries have signed and ratified CEDAW (the United States signed but never ratified), many have done so with qualifications that render their commitments toothless. Hence when First Lady Hillary Clinton declared “women’s rights are human rights, and human rights are woman’s rights” at the 1995 Beijing Conference on Women, she was stating what many had thought obvious decades before but had since come to understand as a continuing battle. 

Civil society groups continued to carry on the battle for gender equality through the United Nations, doing so not “just” as a matter of social justice, but as a security issue as well. An increasing amount of case study and empirically-based research demonstrated the multiple roles of women in security-related affairs, the gendered differentiated effects of conflict on men, women, boys and girls, and the linkage between gender equality, stability, and good governance. Regrettably, social justice issues are too often considered “desirable” though expendable issues on governmental agendas, or “just too hard.” Security issues, however, tend to resonate more strongly with decisionmakers. Ultimately, through the efforts of civil society groups, UNSCR 1325 was unanimously passed in 2000.

Implementation of UNSCR 1325 was left to states, through National Action Plans (NAPs). As of 2021, 98 countries have adopted NAPs. Many of the early countries to adopt NAPs were Scandinavian countries already strong in gender equality. It took the United States 11 years to do so, finally accomplished while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. Of those countries with NAPs, only 36 percent have budgets attached, evidencing that the Women, Peace and Security framework has seen much more rhetorical than actual support in many countries.

The first iteration of the Women, Peace and Security Act in the United States was introduced in 2012.  It was again initiated by a coalition of civil society organizations that championed the cause to bi-partisan congressional members and staffers. The Act was revised and reintroduced in both the 2013-2014 and 2015-2016 sessions of Congress, eventually gaining bi-partisan sponsorship in both the House and the Senate. In 2017, the U.S. Congress passed the Women, Peace and Security Act. It was signed by President Donald Trump, making it the law of the land. Passage of the Act in 2017 was symbolically important as it provided support for those in government seeking to take action regarding gender equality. It gave them a “hook” on which to hang actions. The Act also required the president to submit a government-wide implementation strategy to Congress.  Initially, however, the Act was passed without funding attached. For a President who was confronted at the White House in 2017 by a crowd of protesting women estimated at three times the number who attended his inauguration, signing the Women, Peace and Security Act was a no-cost act of support for women.

After an implementation strategy for the Women, Peace and Security Act was delivered to Congress in 2019, the federal agencies charged with its execution (the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Department of Homeland Security) began working on their individual implementation strategies. The Defense Department, for example, outlined three objectives: 1) to exemplify a diverse organization that allows for women’s meaningful participation across the development, management, and employment of the Joint Force; 2) that women in partner nations meaningfully participate and serve at all ranks and in all occupations in defense and security sectors; and 3) that partner nation defense and security sectors ensure women and girls are safe and secure and that their human rights are protected, especially during conflict and crisis.[1] Regrettably, in many instances support has been slow and often more rhetorical and performative than actual, as indicated by budgets, policies, and women’s representation in decision-making roles. In performative allyship, those with privilege and position profess solidarity with a cause or policy, often to distance themselves from potential scrutiny or to position themselves for praise. This vocalized support is disingenuous and potentially harmful to marginalized groups by signaling to subordinates that real action is neither needed nor sought and that no one will be held accountable for inaction. That makes active oversight by Congress imperative.

Feminist Foreign Policy

Feminist foreign policy theory was born of the academic ideas of ethical foreign policy and feminist international relations and became prominent in 2014 when the Swedish coalition government, led by Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, adopted a feminist foreign policy.[2] In this first practical application, feminist foreign policy is posited on the conviction that sustainable peace, security, and development cannot be achieved if women, who comprise half the world’s population, are excluded. As the Swedish Foreign Ministry’s website states, “The policy is a response to the discrimination and systematic subordination that still characterises everyday life for countless women and girls all over the world. Feminist foreign policy is an agenda for change to strengthen the rights, representation and resources of all women and girls.”[3] Regarding rights, the Swedish Foreign Service promotes all women’s and girls’ full enjoyment of human rights, which includes combating all forms of violence and discrimination that restrict freedom of action. Regarding representation, the Swedish Foreign Service promotes women’s participation and influence in decision-making processes at all levels and in all areas, and seeks dialogue with women representatives at all levels, including in civil society. With respect to resources, the Swedish Foreign Service works to ensure that government resources are allocated to promote gender equality and equal opportunities for all.[4] In the first three years of implementation, Sweden worked to raise the visibility of and combat destructive masculine norms and to strengthen countries’ capacities to prosecute perpetrators, assist crime victims, and reintegrate soldiers. Sweden also contributed to a growing body of knowledge about the link between the uncontrolled spread of weapons and sexual violence against women.[5]

Since 2014, several countries have announced different versions of a feminist foreign policy. Norway has developed both an Action Plan for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in Foreign and Development Policy 2016-2020 and a National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.[6]Canada’s feminist International Assistance Policy, announced in 2017, targets gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls at its core: “This is a matter of basic justice and also basic economics. We know that empowering women, overseas and here at home, makes families and countries more prosperous.”[7] The French government’s feminist foreign policy, adopted in 2019, says that gender equality should be considered in all issues, from poverty reduction to sustainable development, peace and security, defense and promotion of fundamental rights, and climate and economic issues.[8] Other countries have followed suit (Mexico in 2020, Luxembourg in 2021, Spain in 2021, and Germany in 2022).

In addition, there are discussions about incorporating a feminist approach to foreign policy taking place in the European Union, Chile, Denmark, Malaysia, Norway, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.[9]Governments, however, are many-armed creatures, sometimes with activities of one arm having no relation to another. Interest in or adoption of a feminist foreign policy does not inherently mean a gender-equal society, or even full government support of women. Mexico, for example, has expressed interest in a feminist foreign policy, though it has one of the highest global rates of violence against women.

The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), a non-profit center headquartered in Washington, D.C., hosts both the Coalition for a Feminist Foreign Policy in the United States and the Global Partner Network, which consists of more than 30 governments and leading civil

society groups who are working to advance the field of feminist foreign policy. The working definition the Coalition for a Feminist Foreign Policy in the United States uses for feminist foreign policy: “Feminist foreign policy is the policy of a state that defines its interactions with other states, as well as movements and other non-state actors, in a manner that prioritizes peace, gender equality and environmental integrity; enshrines, promotes, and protects the human rights of all; seeks to disrupt colonial, racist, patriarchal and male-dominated power structures; and allocates significant resources, including research, to achieve that vision. Feminist foreign policy is coherent in its approach across all  its levers of influence, anchored by the exercise of those values at home and co-created with feminist activists, groups, and movements, at home and abroad.”[10]

In 2020, ICRW separately released a global framework for feminist foreign policy that was developed following more than a year of research and global consultations with over 100 organizations in more than 40 countries. In order to inform the fledgling field of feminist foreign policy, this framework attempts to provide an outline, including five key ingredients necessary for countries considering a feminist foreign policy: the purpose of the policy within the government’s specific context; the definition of feminist foreign policy for the government; the scope or reach of the policy (what parts of the government will be impacted?); the  intended outcomes of the policy and benchmarks to achieve over time; and a government plan to operationalize it.[11]


While there are differences in the WPS and FFP frameworks, both seek to expand global peace and security, increase women’s participation and leadership, integrate gender into humanitarian responses, and change the political and governance structures that reinforce gender inequality.

Peace and Security

One major commonality between the WPS and FFP frameworks is a redefinition of the concepts of peace and security. Norwegian peace activist Johan Galtung first differentiated negative peace and positive peace in the 1960’s. Negative peace is defined as the absence of violence but without a society’s tendencies toward harmony and stability, whereas positive peace is more lasting and built on sustainable investments in economic development and institutions and characterized by societal attitudes that foster peace.[12] WPS exemplifies positive peace through inclusiveness and consideration of gendered perspectives of policies and programs that lead to increased stability of all political orders.  Yet a critique of the WPS framework is its focus on the protection of women and girls. The argument is that the WPS framework not only solidifies the militarized state but, in some cases, provides justification for conflict. The U.S.-led War on Terror, for example, was at least in part framed as a “fight for the rights and dignity of women.”[13]  University of Sydney Professor Laura Shepherd argues that multiple logics behind the “prevention” pillar—a logic of peace, a logic of militarism, and a logic of security—creates a paradox that “collapses back into a logic of security”[14] contrary to the ultimate goal of peace. That is, in order to have peace, security must be obtained and retained through a heavy military presence and potentially military action, thus justifying such.

In a similar vein, feminist foreign policy seeks to change the very definition of “security” to go beyond the absence of armed conflict to include economic and political security, freedom from a fear of a global pandemic and climate change, and the feeling of safety within one’s own community and home. The “security” issues discussed in FPP would be broadened to include access to drinkable water, the ability to walk home at night safely, the number of weapons in a country outside of the military, and many others. Likewise, the solutions considered would be more diverse. Data used to make those decisions would include information about human rights abuses, rates of child marriage, levels of gender-based violence, and other issues that Texas A&M Professor Valerie Hudson and other scholars have pointed to in several publications that show the connection between gender equality and state stability.[15] Decisions made to protect the interests of a country would cover not only military personnel but civilians on all sides. The voices of those impacted by military activities, sanctions, or other actions would be included. In response, WPS advocates argue that working first on the protection of women, girls, and other vulnerable groups is a necessary precondition to inclusive gender equality and diversity. Women’s safety—the goal of protection—is necessary to ensure that women and girls have the ability to work toward other goals of economic and political power and can use their agency to shape their lives.

Women’s Representation

To reach the goals of gender equality and peace, both the WPS and FFP frameworks aim to increase the representation of women in country and global policy-making processes and activities. One of the four core pillars of the Women, Peace and Security framework focuses on the increased participation of women at all levels of decision-making in conflict prevention, management, and resolution, and in post-conflict relief and recovery efforts. But the WPS framework works within conventional peacemaking and post-conflict governance structures that accept conflict as inevitable. Subsequently, this framework has been criticized by Melbourne Law School Professor Dianne Otto, who argues that “the WPS agenda has served to refocus feminist attention from … making armed conflict impossible, to making armed conflict safer for women … as an end in itself.”[16]Thereby, WPS can be perceived as a more incremental approach to positive peace, whereas FFP is more transformational.

Like WPS, the goal of FFP is to increase the number of women serving in elected and non-elected political and government positions, in peace processes, in military and peacekeeping missions, and in development and humanitarian activities. FFP seeks to increase the number of feminist voices that will advocate for gender equality in all sectors, beyond peace and security, such as in the economy and climate adaptation, including a country’s own government as well as its government partners. A critique of this approach is that feminist foreign policy is too broad; it can’t just add more women and change everything all at one time – change requires incrementalism. The real-world implications of executing a feminist foreign policy are complicated. For instance, in Sweden, even with female leadership and a feminist foreign policy, the government has struggled to find a balance between human rights and its own arms industry.[17]

Post-conflict and Humanitarian Settings

UNSCR 1325 urges local actors, Member States, and UN agencies to adopt gendered perspectives in peace operations, negotiations, and agreements, in acknowledgement that policies and programs affect men, women, boys and girls differently, and to include women in the resolution and recovery phase of conflict. It identifies women as active agents rather than passive recipients. This is important because it identifies women’s participation as a right, not something that men are giving women out of goodwill, and as a post-conflict benefit to all parties. Research has shown that including women in peace negotiations increases the potential of peace agreement lasting two or more years by 20 percent, and increases by 35 percent the probability of peace agreements lasting 15 years or longer.[18] Additionally, including women starts to erode the idea of women as weak, meaning that the feminine will no longer be synonymous with weakness and fragility. The resolution empowers women and allows them to demand that they are heard and incorporated into processes at all levels.[19] The critique here is that the considerations of women and girls are rarely included in peace negotiations and simply haven’t been taken into account, and that there is no mechanism for holding countries or other implementing organizations accountable for including women and gendered perspectives in peace negotiations.

Similarly, the FFP framework calls for a feminist approach to humanitarian response that at its core centers the experience of women and people subjected to multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. This focus highlights a wider array of concerns than considered in traditional paradigms, including the threat of gender-based violence, access to sexual and reproductive health, access to education, and the burden of unpaid care responsibilities in times of crisis. It urges the U.S. government to take steps to change its own humanitarian approach as well as pushing for change throughout the global humanitarian system.

Institutional Change

Both frameworks agree that reframing the discussion of peace and security involves shaking the very foundations of the patriarchy, a system that until recently was the exclusive purview of men and that deploys decision-making power through warlords, political elites, government security communities, and the intricately linked military-industrial machine. Within the WPS framework, protection does not inherently or exclusively refer to women being physically (or any other way) being protected by men. It does, however, recognize that there are individuals made vulnerable through cultural, political, legal, economic, gender-related and sexual-orientation structures. It creates agency because it is only through agency that women will have the opportunity to participate in the kind of preventive actions that can lead to positive peace. 

In response, FFP would argue that this approach is too focused on the individual rather than the system. The FFP framework seeks to change the institutions and processes themselves. It wants to diversify more than just the voices in the room; it wants to expand the information collected, analysis conducted, and solutions considered to go beyond the traditional decision-making process. This strategy covers defense, development, and diplomacy programs conducted in other countries and how governments operate internally. Resources, both in terms of budget allocations and human investments, would be redistributed to reflect governments’ different priorities. Less would be spent on weapons and more would be spent on human infrastructure; more would go to multilateral organizations and those focused on global goals. WPS critics would say that even with provisions for structural agency, the entrenched nature of those in power through cultural norms and expectations forces a process of slower, more incremental change.



In 2021, the annual Democracy Index found that less than ten percent of countries worldwide were considered “full democracies” and rated the United States a “flawed democracy” for the fifth year in a row. Though countries leaning toward populism and authoritarianism vary in many aspects, what they share are leaders who identify as rebels, bullies, and tough guys who flaunt authority, disregard civility, and encourage others to do so as well, such as Presidents Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, and Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines. Further, as American journalist Peter Beinart pointed out, authoritarian leaders “use gender to discredit one political order and validate another.”[20] Many have targeted women, individually or as a group, as their evil-elite punching bags.

To address this issue, the WPS framework would return to concepts within UNSCR 1325 that have been fleshed out through nine additional security council resolutions: participation of women in all levels of decision-making, protection from sexual and gender-based violence, prevention of violence, and advancement of relief and recovery measures. Within this context, FFP would go beyond a focus on increasing individual women’s political participation to disrupt the colonial, racist, patriarchal, and male-dominated power structures. It would support human rights activists and civil society organizations engaged in women’s rights movements globally, alter patriarchal political institutions, including parties and parliaments, and address issues such as violence against women in politics that serve as barriers to women serving in public life. 

Reproductive Rights

The United States was considered a global leader in women’s reproductive rights five years ago, considered a critical aspect of women’s individual agency, but it became a global outliner with deep regression in that area during the Trump administration.[21] The Biden-Harris administration took several key actions to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights in its first year, trying to reverse the Trump Administration rollback. In his second week in office, President Biden issued an executive memorandum on women’s health at home and abroad which stated that it is the policy of the U.S. government to support sexual and reproductive health and rights. It rescinded the global gag rule, withdrew the United States from the so-called Geneva Consensus Declaration, and directed the U.S. Secretary of State to restore funding for United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).[22] But, based on the leaked Alito-authored draft court decision, Trump-appointed conservative Supreme Court justices appear ready to take American women’s reproductive rights back to the 1970’s by overturning Roe v Wade (1973).  The implications are staggering, not just regarding reproductive rights, but as a further indication of the U.S. moving away from democratic rule to populist authoritarianism.[23]

The WPS framework does not address reproductive rights or abortion in UNSCR 1325 or in any of the subsequent resolutions, or in the U.S. Women, Peace and Security Act. Feminist Foreign Policy, on the other hand, includes bodily autonomy and freedom from discrimination, violence, coercion, exploitation, and abuse as a key tenet. And while the current U.S. administration has taken steps to stop or reverse U.S. government backsliding on the issue, including potentially after the judicial demise of Roe v Wade, FFP advocates continue to push for more, such as a permanent repeal of the global gag rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy.[24]


The U.S. government’s withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021 was an utter failure by most accounts. While 124,000 people were airlifted out of Afghanistan before the last troops flew out on August 30, 90 percent of the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders were left behind with their families. The number of Afghans who remain in danger because of their association with the 20-year American presence in their country must be counted in the hundreds of thousands.[25]Afghanistan is now facing one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. The Afghan economy has no cash to pay salaries or buy food. Western aid has been suspended because the Taliban government includes designated terrorists, and as a result, millions of Afghans face acute malnutrition and starvation in the coming months.[26]

In this case, within the WPS framework, the U.S. government would have included a push for women to be involved in the negotiations with the Taliban in 2019-2020. Many Afghan, global, and U.S. activists did make the case before and during the negotiation process, during which the Trump administration ignored implementing its own (bi-partisan, Trump-signed) WPS Act.[27] A Feminist Foreign Policy would have gone further. The scope of the issue would have been expanded from ending the war to ensuring strong Afghan institutions that serve its citizens and turning the country back over to its people. The balance of power and those engaged in the negotiation process would have been modified to include both the American and Afghan people rather than the U.S. military and the Taliban. 


Five years after the passage of the WPS Act in the United States, with the subsequent government-wide 2019 strategy and departmental strategies now in place, incremental progress in implementing the WPS framework is evident. Funding is being approved and allocated, for example, to offer meetings, workshops, and courses on Women, Peace and Security to members of security communities from many other countries, both in the U.S. and abroad. Those who participate in these events (men and women) say that attendance, and the gender push for gender empowerment from U.S. organizations, including the military, is making a slow but positive difference in their militaries and countries. A Women, Peace and Security Congressional Caucus was formed in 2020. Its focus is “to ensure that progress towards women’s empowerment and inclusion is a strong priority of U.S. foreign policy.”[28] Efforts of the Caucus have included receiving briefs from various departments on their efforts to implement the Women, Peace and Security framework and expressing support for women in Afghanistan during the evacuation operations in 2021. Ensuring progress of the WPS Act, at home and abroad, requires proactive measures and holding those responsible for implementation accountable.

As this work continues, those pressing the U.S. government to adopt a feminist foreign policy need to acknowledge the work of those who developed and implemented the WPS Act. That legislation took more than a decade to be created and passed in a bi-partisan fashion. Newer actors in this space might benefit by engaging with the activists who started their work around the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing and then focused on the UN Security Council before turning to country-specific NAPs and legislation. There must be lessons learned about Hill staff and member relationships, allies in non-traditional departments and offices, messages that were effective, and budget strategies that have worked.

Moreover, the combined community can work together to increase women’s representation in U.S. foreign policy through the Leadership Council for Women in National Security (LCWINS), the Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, or the Coalition for a Feminist Foreign Policy in the United States. Research and advocacy must continue to make the link between both frameworks and the promotion of democracy. And both WPS and FFP advocates can continue to push for the integration of the needs of women and girls in humanitarian and post-conflict settings and programs.

So far, however, Women, Peace and Security framework implementation seems to have remained focused on work done or to be done “over there,” wherever outside of the United States that happens to be, neglecting the important point that there are internal as well as external components to WPS. Similarly, one of the core principles of FFP is that there is coherence across all aspects of foreign policy that extends across domestic and foreign policy, with both realms embracing the same feminist values. That means structural and cultural constraints to gender empowerment within U.S. institutions must be addressed as well. For example, while women in the military are no longer denied access to combat positions, they still do not receive the same encouragement and support necessary for success to join those previously prohibited positions as men do.

While differences in approach for WPS and FFP are not insignificant, both frameworks would benefit from closer coordination with the other. There are many opportunities to support the work of the other, as much progress is still needed in the United States and globally to reach gender equality, women’s empowerment, and a safer world.

This publication was prepared by the authors in their personal capacity. The opinions expressed here are the authors’ own and do not necessarily reflect the official views or policy of Women In International Security.

About the Authors

Joan Johnson-Freese is a Senior Fellow with Women in International Security, a University Professor at the Naval War College in Newport, RI and teaches Women, Peace & Security at Harvard University. She is the author of multiple articles on the topic, as well as Women, Peace & Security: An Introduction (2018) and Women vs Women: The Case for Cooperation (April 2022). The views expressed are the author’s alone and do not represent those of the U.S. government, Department of Defense or the Naval War College.

Susan Markham is a partner at Smash Strategies, a strategic advisory firm helping businesses, non-profit organizations, and philanthropists who want to leverage their commitment to empowering women and girls. She is the author of multiple articles on feminist foreign policy, gender equality, women’s political participation, and economic empowerment.

[1] Department of Defense, “Women, Peace & Security Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan,” June 2020, p. 7,


[2] Karin Aggestam, Rosamond A. Bergman, Annica Kronsell, “Theorising Feminist Foreign Policy,” International Relations. 2019;33(1):23-39. doi: 10.1177/0047117818811892.

[3] Government of Sweden:

[4] “Handbook for Sweden’s Feminist Foreign Policy,”—swedensfeminist-foreign-policy—english.pdf.

[5] Government of Sweden:–examples-from-three-years-of-implementation/.

[6] Norway, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Women’s Rights and Gender Equality,”

[7] Government of Canada, “Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy,”

[8] France, Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, “Feminist Diplomacy,”

[9] Soto, Daniela Sepulveda. “The Pandemic Underscores the Need for Feminist Foreign Policy,” The Gender Policy Report, University of Minnesota, July 27, 2021,

[10] Rachel Clement and Lyric Thompson. “Toward a Feminist Foreign Policy in the United States,” ICRW,

[11] “Feminist Foreign Policy: A Framework,”

[12] “Our understanding of the term ‘peace’ has evolved significantly over the last 2,500 years,”

[13] “War on Terror as a “fight for the rights and dignity of women”: a discourse analysis of the U.S. ‘liberation’ campaign for Afghan women,”

[14] Laura J. Shepherd, “The paradox of prevention in the Women, Peace and Security agenda,” European Journal of International Security, September 30, 2020,

[15] Books by Valerie Hudson and others include Sex & World Peace (2012) and The First Political Order: How Sex Shapes Governance and National Security Worldwide (2020).

[16] Dianne Otto, “Women, Peace & Security: A Critical Analysis of the Security Council’s Vision,” LSE blog, January 9, 2017,

[17] “Major arms exporter Sweden to put human rights before weapon sales,” Reuters, June 26, 2015,

[18] UN Women, “Women’s Engagement in Peace, Security and Recovery,” %20Brief-Peace-security-recovery.pdf.


[20] Peter Beinart, The Atlantic, 2019,

[21] Martha F. Davis and Fiona de Londras, “Most democracies are expanding abortion access. The U.S. is retracting it,” WBUR, October 21, 2021,

[22] “Memorandum on Protecting Women’s Health at Home and Abroad,”

[23] Hanna Kozlowska, “Where Democracy Falters So Too Do Reproductive Rights,” Foreign Policy, March 16, 2022,

[24] “46 Senators Wage Campaign to End “Global Gag Rule” Restricting Abortion Access,”

[25] “The Betrayal,”

[26] United States institute of Peace, “Afghanistan,”,starvation%2 0in%20the%20coming%20months.

[27] Melissa Deehring, “Lessons Learned from Afghanistan: The First Political Order,” The Washington Quarterly, 44, 4, 2022, 7-28.

[28] Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, “Goals of the New Women, Peace and Security Congressional Caucus,” April 29, 2020,

By Gabrielle Bardall, Ph.D. and Emily Myers

Although the American policy community views the Women, Peace, and Security Act and the  International Violence against Women Act of 2017 as addressing all the myriad problems women face in conflict, these laws do not adequately deal with the particular and pervasive problem of violence against women in politics, nor has the legislation been interpreted as covering it.


hose who commit violence against women in politics (VAWP) seek to control and restrict women’s participation in political processes and institutions on the basis of their gender through emotional,

social, or economic force; coercion; pressure; or physical and sexual harm.1 This violence exists worldwide and is a significant barrier to women’s political participation.

During the 2017 Kenyan elections, Human Rights Watch found that dozens of women were raped by police officers and men in uniform, and still others experienced sexual violence at the hands of civilians.2 Female protesters have been raped or subjected to sexual aggression in Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, and other places.3 Zimbabwean women have reported being forced into genital mutilation in response to their political involvement.4

In 2015, women in some provinces of Pakistan were barred from voting by traditional councils and “baton-wielding men” at polling stations.5 In Afghanistan in 2004, a busload of female poll workers was blown up.6 From Kosovo to Canada to Rwanda and the United Kingdom, women report receiving direct threats of physical harm via social media.7 Social media is used to attack women around the world, causing fear and deep shame. In Haiti, Tunisia, Canada, and elsewhere, female parliamentarians and staffers report that other elected MPs and their staff have sexually assaulted them.

Violence against women in politics is integrally connected to the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agenda because it inhibits women from participating in democratic transitions and consolidation, and lack of women’s participation undermines electoral integrity, sustainable democracy, and peace. Women’s leadership in conflict prevention, management, and resolution and in postconflict relief and recovery efforts does not end with the signing of a peace treaty. Democratization processes are equally vital for achieving WPS objectives.

While international actors, including the United States, increasingly recognize VAWP as a serious impediment to women’s political participation, US lawmakers have yet to formally recognize the issue or respond with policy commensurate with the scope of the issue. Preventing and responding to VAWP will require resources, policies, legislation, and training that address the factors that underpin this violence and prioritize it as a threat to human rights, peace, and security.

Barriers to Women’s Participation

Systematic, persistent gender-based violence in politics precludes peace. VAWP impedes women’s full participation in civic life, undercuts the credibility of political systems, and cements and aggravates existing gender inequities. As such, it threatens the security of the state by contributing to a less democratic, less equal, less peaceful society.

VAWP does not occur in a vacuum; it reflects existing gender inequalities and power dynamics in a society. Where women fear or experience violent retribution for exercising their political agency, there is no equal access to rights and opportunities. Disparity between the treatment of men and women is a marker of a political climate ripe for further conflict. Conversely, inter- and intrastate conflict is likely to fall as gender equality rises.8 Furthermore, the likelihood of civil war decreases when a greater proportion of a country’s politicians are female, as does use of violence in the face of an international crisis and state-perpetrated human rights abuses. Inclusive political institutions are foundational to peace and security.

In the aftermath of conflict, elections can play a critical role in building such institutions.9 Elections often mark the transition from war to peace and a step toward demilitarizing politics and fostering participatory governance.10  Yet they also can aggravate divides and trigger political violence in fragile postconflict societies.

In fundamentally patriarchal political systems threatened with change, women become targets of violence because of their commitment to vote, their position as electoral officials, or their ambitions for political office. Women running for office, or otherwise exercising their political rights, question established power norms and claim influence men believe to be theirs.

Such violence poses an immense barrier to women’s involvement: Over 60 percent of women in India, Nepal, and Pakistan reported that fear of violence precludes them from participating in politics.11 Across 29 countries, women indicated “cultural beliefs/social attitudes/patriarchal mentality” as the chief impediment to their political participation.12

In their legislative and policy responses to gender-based violence in conflict, international bodies and national governments have so far focused on women’s participation in peace negotiations and political processes during conflict and in the immediate aftermath of conflict. Ignoring the reality of ongoing violence in the political sphere is a dangerous oversight. As the memory and international scrutiny of conflict fades, men often reassert control over democratic institutions, reinstituting the policies and practices that triggered conflict and frequently achieving and maintaining dominance through VAWP.

Long-term peace encompassing postconflict transformation necessitates an inclusive, participatory political space. Such a space cannot exist without women’s ability to enter, contribute to, and help shape it.

Violence against women in political and public life (including electoral violence) exists around the world, although it varies significantly in severity and form across and within regions. It may take place in the public sphere or in private, including within the family and the general community, it may occur online or through the media, and it government actors may perpetrate or condone it.13

Women are often singled out for political violence and systematic harassment when they seek to vote independent of male influence. 14 Likewise, data show that elected female civic leaders and other women in public life face severe and varied forms of violent repression that may be ignored or viewed as “politics as usual” instead of as gender-specific violence.15 Such violence impedes the ability of women to exercise their rights as voters, candidates, and citizens.

Victims and Forms of Violence

The victims of gender-based violence in elections and politics include the following:16

  • political actors such as candidates, elected officials, political aspirants (i.e., those seeking nomination), party members, supporters, and staffers;
  • electoral management body staff and poll workers, police and security forces, state administrators, and civil servants;
  • professionals such as journalists, civic educators, civil and labor activists, and community leaders; and
  • private citizens and voters, including minors.

This violence takes many forms, including physical, sexual, social-psychological, and economic. Physical attacks and rape against politically and civically engaged women are recorded on all continents. Yet the vast majority of documented incidents are nonphysical threats such as intimidation and sexual harassment that can sometimes leading to physical assault and death. Repeated online expression targeted at a woman because of her political or public role that causes her substantial emotional distress or fear of bodily harm is also a form of VAWP, and it can include mobilizing social media to terrorize, disseminate defamatory or pornographic images or videos, impersonate, invade privacy, or engage in distributeddenial-of-service attacks.17

Locations and Prevalence

VAWP occurs in the street, at political party headquarters, and churches, as well as in homes and offices. It occurs in between intimate partners and family members as well as in public virtual spaces such as television, blogs, internet media, chatrooms, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.18 It may appear in private virtual spaces such as personal email, messaging, texting, WhatsApp, Viber, and in cellular and landline connections. Violence occurring online includes aggressive, abusive and harassing psychological violence as well as incitation to commit physical or sexual violence. A 2016 survey of 55 women parliamentarians from 39 countries found that 81.8 percent of respondents had been subjected to one or more acts of psychological violence, 21.8 percent had been subjected to one or more acts of sexual violence, 25.5 percent had experienced one or more acts of physical violence, and 32.7 percent had experienced one or more acts of economic violence (e.g., being denied funds that an individual is entitled to during their term of office or political campaign; being denied other resources an individual is entitled to in connection with their political office or campaign (offices, computers, staff, salary); harm or threats to harm a business, termination, or threat of termination of employment; or other threats or theft related to one’s livelihood).19

Perpetrators and Motivations

Perpetrators of this violence include both men and women from various groups:20

  • institutional actors (state security, police, armed forces), government institutions (executive, judicial and legislative actors), electoral agents (poll workers, electoral management staff, electoral security agents), and state proxies (militia, gangs, insurgents, mercenaries, private security) who may employ gendered forms of violence (rape, virginity tests, sexual assault) in cases where they engage in repressive tactics in the course of an electoral process or in a political scope;
  • nonstate political actors (candidates, party leaders, interparty and intraparty members, paramilitary, party militia, nonstate armed actors) who frequently target politically active women in order to gain electoral advantage, reduce competition, or simply punish women for venturing into a male-dominated space; and
  • societal actors (journalists/media, voters, community members or groups, religious leaders, traditional leaders, employers, criminal actors, intimate partners or spouses, family members, electoral observers, youth groups) who commit both physical attacks and severe psychological censure, humiliation, and affronts against all classes of women who seek to exert independent, free will in the exercise of their civic and political rights.

International Efforts to Protect Women in Politics

Many international donors, nongovernmental organizations, and international organizations have worked specifically on VAWP in recent years: UN Women, UNDP, International

IDEA, ParlAmericas, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, the Organization of American States, the InterParliamentary Union, and the Commonwealth.

At the international level, the rights of women to participate in political and public office, as well as live a life free from violence, are established in comprehensive normative frameworks established by UN Security Council, General Assembly, and Human Rights Council resolutions. The adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda in 2015 (A/RES/70/1) provides further impetus for states to address and combat gender discrimination and violence against women and to ensure women can fully realize their political rights. In 2018, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Its Causes and Consequences, will prepare and submit a thematic report to the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly in September 2018 on VAWP.

Women’s activism has spurred global awareness of the problem. Civil society women’s groups have proposed and helped implement four key actions: targeted legislation, policy responses such as training for electoral security providers, service provision, and awareness raising.

  1. Legislation. Some countries have passed or drafted legislation to address violence against women in political and public life, including Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru. With the backing of the Union of Parliamentary Women of Bolivia (UMPABOL) and women’s nongovernmental advocacy groups, Bolivia’s Legislative Assembly approved the groundbreaking Law against

Harassment and Political Violence against Women on 14 May 2012 to protect women and their political participation. The law seeks to “defend and guarantee the enjoyment of political rights by female candidates—incumbent and elected—and to guarantee a legal framework and set penalties for individual and collective harassment and political violence.”21 The Bolivian law establishes penalties for perpetrators of acts of political harassment and violence against women candidates and elected and acting officials, including administrative, civil, and criminal measures, and may temporarily or permanently bar offenders from public office.

  • Policy Responses. Civic activism and awareness has, for example, contributed to specific training for electoral security providers on VAWP in Sri Lanka and the creation of women’s situation rooms in multiple African countries.

These situation rooms bring together women, youths, media, political and governmental stakeholders, professionals, and religious and traditional personalities to ensure transparent, peaceful electoral processes through peace advocacy, intervention, coordination, political analysis, observation, and documentation.

  • Service Provision. Shelters and emergency hospital support have been offered in some extreme cases, as in Kenya.22 However, the needs of female targets of political violence typically differ from those that are common to survivors of domestic violence. Programs to support access to justice, including overcoming the challenges of documenting evidence and bringing perpetrators to justice, are under way in Zimbabwe.23 Other forms of service include direct assistance and bystander intervention for cases of VAWP (including online threats).
  • Awareness Raising. Women have made long strides toward awareness of the issue worldwide, including through national and global campaigns driven by domestic civil society groups on every continent and international nonprofits and organizations. The issue has been raised through decentralized, organic movements as well, most notably the #MeToo movement, which stimulated discussion in national and subnational legislatures in the US, France, and Canada. Some awareness-raising activities focus on men and boys.24

US Engagement

The United States has highlighted VAWP in policy spaces and dialogues and has supported programs to provide services and technical support, but it has failed to implement policy or legislative responses that recognize, mitigate, and prevent this violence.

Members of Congress have addressed the issue explicitly in a bipartisan briefing by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in 2017 and in remarks at international fora. 25

The State Department’s Bureau for Conflict and Stabilization Operations’ Election Violence Assessment Framework situates gendered analysis of electoral violence into their actor analysis of potential perpetrators and victims. The State Department’s Future Leaders Exchange Program hosted a dialogue with the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Global Women’s Leadership Initiative on the topic. 26

The Carter Center’s USAID-funded international observation mission to Kenya in 2017 collected relevant data. USAID has also funded  research by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) to produce “Violence against Women in Elections: A Framework for Assessment, Monitoring, and Response” and research on the effects of electoral violence on women, including a case study of Bangladesh.27 USAID’s Best Practices in Electoral Security recognizes the special vulnerabilities to violence faced by women in elections, acknowledges women’s protection and equality legislation as a best practice for preventing electoral conflict, and encourages gendered monitoring of elections.28 The National Democratic Institute has received funding from the National Endowment for Democracy to work on VAWP.

Since 2011, USAID has funded research and activities to prevent and mitigate violence against women in politics and specifically in elections through country-level democracy and governance programs. Such projects included work in Haiti, Kenya, Nepal, Sri  Lanka and Zimbabwe as well as global research.29 In 2017, USAID allocated a global technical leadership award to explore violence against women in elections online in social media.

Despite this US government engagement, violence against women in political and public life has not been formally recognized or defined in US policy. To ensure US foreign policy is best equipped to promote peace and security, the government must implement VAWP-specific policy and interpret existing legislation to cover women’s engagement in politics.

Links to Existing US Legislation

The United States has long championed the notion that peace requires the full engagement, participation, and equality of women. In 2017, Congress affirmed US leadership on this issue by passing the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017, a piece of bipartisan legislation requiring the US government to increase and strengthen women’s participation in peace negotiations and conflict prevention. The act builds on the principles of the US National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security (US NAP), put forth in 2011 and revised in 2016.

Prevention of and response to VAWP is integral to continued US leadership on women, peace, and security, to the resolutions made under the NAP, and to the current administration’s legal obligations under the 2017 legislation.

The NAP enshrines the US government’s firm commitment to undertake the following actions:

  • promote and strengthen women’s rights, leadership, and meaningful participation in all aspects of conflict prevention and peacebuilding, including transitional processes and decision-making institutions;
  • protect women from all forms of violence, in recognition that gender-based violence not only violates the rights of its victims, but also jeopardizes the security and prosperity of nations by subverting women’s participation in civic

and political life; and

  • promote women’s roles in preventing conflict, mass atrocities, and violent extremism.

The WPS Act reaffirms, deepens, and legally requires action on the principles expressed in the NAP. It states that “the political participation and leadership of women in fragile environments, particularly during democratic transitions, is critical to sustaining lasting democratic institutions.” Furthermore, the act sets out concrete policy objectives for the realization of the WPS agenda, obligating the US government to do the following:

  • encourage partner governments to adopt strategies for ensuring the meaningful participation of women in conflict prevention, peacebuilding, and decision-making institutions;
  • promote the physical safety, economic security, and dignity of women and girls;
  • adapt policies and programs to achieve better outcomes in gender equality and women’s empowerment; and
  • undertake gendered data collection and analysis to improve early warning systems of conflict and violence.


The WPS Act calls for a national strategy on WPS and legally obligates the current administration to satisfy the policy objectives outlined within it. The United States should establish itself as a global leader in promoting the meaningful participation of women in all aspects of democratic participation, including by seeking the elimination of VAWP. In view of WPS Act obligations and to ensure that VAWP is fully addressed, we recommend five key actions:

  1. Prioritize the prevention of and response to VAWP in US foreign policy by integrating it into key policies:
    1. recognize and develop a strategy to mitigate the distinct impact of postconflict/peacetime political violence on women and the harmful consequences of such violence for democracy and development in key documents informing US foreign policy, including the National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy;
    1. outline specific provisions on prevention and response to VAWP in the national strategy on WPS required by the WPS Act of 2017;
    1. integrate VAWP into any existing, relevant strategic plans of the Department of State or USAID;
    1. institute a policy to support monitoring all aspects of women’s participation in public and political life, including rates of VAWP;
    1. encourage all US-funded programs in the areas of democracy and governance, peace and security, and women’s empowerment to establish guidelines for addressing VAWP, identify country-specific risks, and adopt effective measures to prevent and mitigate it; and
    1. ensure that appropriate personnel of the Department of State and USAID receive training and awareness of VAWP that encompasses the nature and impact of VAWP and policy responses to it.
  2. Introduce targeted legislation that would do the following:
    1. guarantee the ability of women to participate on equal terms in public functions and at all levels of government and public decision-making processes in order to ensure the full realization of women’s political rights;
    1. recognize and define VAWP as a violation of human rights, and establish as a policy of the United States the promotion of women’s meaningful participation in all aspects of democratic life by taking effective action to prevent and mitigate VAWP, including through diplomatic efforts and programs;
    1. ensure that Department of State and USAID adopt coordinated global and mission-level plans of action to prevent and mitigate VAWP, and establish guidelines and reporting requirements for relevant contractors and aid recipients;
    1. implement a government action plan through technical assistance, training, or data support for relevant actors;
    1. report to Congress on progress against program-specific objectives of the national strategy in electoral management, political party support, good governance, associative life, and the media.
  3. Dedicate adequate resources to preventing VAWP and protecting women against it:
    1. Fully fund actions to prevent and mitigate VAWP across US government activity areas and under targeted legislation, as described above;
    1. allocate additional funding to monitor and collect data on women’s participation in public and political life, including data on VAWP;
    1. adopt the UN target of committing 15 percent of peacekeeping and security assistance to promoting women’s participation and protection. Protect existing funds for gender-focused foreign assistance and seek opportunities to fund programs that address the causes underpinning VAWP, including legal provisions that limit women’s political participation and access to justice, societal norms that create hostility toward women’s voices, structural barriers that make it more difficult for women to exercise their political rights, and the lack of women’s inclusion in designing and negotiating postconflict transformation processes, including elections.
  4. Systematically integrate and coordinate VAWP prevention and mitigation efforts into foreign assistance programs, including diplomatic efforts and development programs that do the following:
    1. recognize the distinct impact of postconflict/peacetime political violence on women and the harmful consequences of such violence for democracy and development;
    1. address the causes underpinning VAWP through multisectoral, country-specific, culturally adapted approaches, including legal provisions that limit women’s political participation and access to justice, societal norms that create hostility to women, structural barriers that hinder women from exercising their political rights, and the lack of women’s inclusion in designing and negotiating postconflict transformation processes, including elections;
    1. promote the safety of women in political and public life and end impunity for criminal forms of VAWP, including systematic harassment, discrimination, and online abuse;
    1. encourage governments to enhance gender equality through measures to prevent and mitigate VAWP, including national legislation with clear designations of responsibility for implementation and compliance;
    1. consult and collaborate with a wide variety of local nongovernmental partners with experience in promoting inclusive democracy and in preventing or mitigating violence against women, including women-led organizations and faith-based organizations;
    1. engage with men and boys as partners in the effort to reduce VAWP on a sustainable basis; and
    1. exert sustained international leadership to prevent or mitigate VAWP, including in bilateral and multilateral fora.
  5. Ensure gendered monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of US foreign policy and legislation:
    1. outline and define gender-disaggregated M&E indicators on prevention and response to VAWP in the national strategy on WPS, in targeted legislation, and in foreign assistance programs;
    1. collect and analyze gender-disaggregated data on the prevalence and impacts of VAWP for the purpose of developing and enhancing responses to prevent or mitigate it;
    1. provide and advocate for adequate resources for monitoring all aspects of women’s electoral and political participation, including VAWP, in US-funded international and domestic election observation missions;
    1. monitor, analyze, and evaluate social institutions that will actualize these programs—governments, social sectors, education, labor—for gender bias;

About the Authors

Dr. Gabrielle Bardall is the Senior Gender Specialist at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and a Research Fellow with the Centre for International Policy Studies (CIPS). She holds degrees from McGill University (B.A), the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (M.A.) and the Université de Montréal (Ph.D.).

Emily Myers is a Research Associate and former Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellow at the Alliance for Peacebuilding. She holds a BA in Political Science from Union College.


  1. Gabrielle Bardall, “Violence, Politics, and Gender,” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018).
  2. “ ‘They Were Men in Uniform’: Sexual Violence against Women and Girls in Kenya’s 2017 Elections,” (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2017).
  3. Guinea: September 28 Massacre Was Premeditated,” (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2009); “Côte d’Ivoire: Crimes against Humanity by Gbagbo Forces” (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2011); Zimbabwe Research and Advocacy Unit, “Politically Motivated Violence against Women in Zimbabwe,” blog, May 18, 2017; Amnesty International, “ ‘Virginity Tests’ for Egyptian Women Protesters,” webpage,
  4. Research and Advocacy Unit. Zimbabwe.
  5. Jon Boone, “Women Barred from Voting in Parts of Pakistan,” The Guardian (May 29, 2015).
  6. Carlotta Gall, “Blast Kills 2 Afghan Women on Election Workers’ Bus,” New York Times (June 27, 2004).
  7. Gabrielle Bardall, “The Role of Information and Communication Technologies in Facilitating and Resisting Gendered Forms of Political Violence,” in Marie Segrave and Laura Vitis, eds., Gender, Technology and Violence 31 (Milton Park, UK: Taylor & Francis, 2017); Gabrielle Bardall, “Gender Specific Election Violence: The Role of Information and Communication Technologies,” Stability: International Journal of Security and Development 2, no. 3 (2013): 1–11.
  8. Marie O’Reilly, “Why Women? Inclusive Security and Peaceful Societies” (Washington, DC: Institute for Inclusive Security, 2015).
  9. Kristine Hoglund, “Electoral Violence in Conflict-Ridden Societies: Concepts, Causes, and Consequences,” Uppsala University, 2010.
  10. Annette M. Fath-Lihic and Dawn Brancati, “Elections & Peacebuilding,” Electoral Integrity Initiative (Geneva: Kofi Annan Foundation, 2017).
  11. “Violence against Women in Politics: A Study Conducted in India, Nepal, and Pakistan” (New York: UN Women, 2014).
  1. “Global Survey of Women’s Organizations” (Arlington, VA: International Foundation for Electoral Systems, 2012).
  2. Ibid., and Gabrielle Bardall, “Breaking the Mold: Understanding Gender and Electoral Violence,” IFES White Paper (Arlington, VA: International Foundation for Electoral Systems, 2011).
  3. Bardall, “Breaking the Mold”; Bardall, “Violence, Politics, and

Gender”; Mona Lena Krook, “Violence against Women in Politics,” Journal of Democracy 28, no. 1 (2017): 74–88; “Sexism, Harassment, and Violence against Women Parliamentarians,” IPU Issues Brief (Geneva: Inter-Parliamentary Union, 2016); “#NottheCost: Stopping

Violence against Women in Politics,” webpage (Washington, DC: Na-

  1. IPU, “Sexism, Harassment, and Violence.” Bardall 2011.
  2. Ibid IPU.
  3. Elizabeth Salguero Carrillo, “Political Violence Against Women.” The World of Parliaments.
  4. “Kenyans Say ‘We Are #BetterThanThis’: Aiming to Support Women’s Participation in Elections” (Arlington, VA : International Foundation for Electoral Systems, July 19, 2017).
  5. Contact the authors for further information on these programs.
tional Democratic Institute, 2016); Violence against Women in Election
  • Tazreen Hussain, “Male Allies for Leadership Equality: Learning from Nigeria’s Experience,” (Arlington, VA: IFES , March 15, 2016).

Framework (Arlington, VA: International Foundation for Electoral Systems, 2017); “Preventing Violence against Women in Elections: A Programming Guide” (New York: UN Women, UNDP,  2017).

  1. IPU, “Sexism, Harassment, and Violence”; NDI, “#NottheCost; UN Women, “Violence against Women in Politics.”
  2. Bardall, “Breaking the Mold”; Bardall, “Violence, Politics, and Gender”; Krook, “Violence against Women in Politics,”; NDI, “#NottheCost; IFES, “Framework.”
  3. Bardall, “Information and Communication Technologies”; Bardall, “Gender-Specific Election Violence.” 18. Bardall, “Gender-Specific Election Violence.”
  4. Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, Ending Violence against Women in Politics, March 21, 2017, in Washington, DC.
  5. Woodrow Wilson Center, “The Role of Women in Political Leadership and the Violence That Hinders Progress,” YouTube video, May 30, 2014.
  6. IFES, “Framework.”
  7. Creative Associates and USAID, “Best Practices in Electoral Security: A Guide for Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance Programming” (Washington, DC: 2013).
  8. Bardall, “Breaking the Mold.” 2011.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this policy brief are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the U.S. CSWG as a whole or its individual members.