Women’s participation in world politics has come a long way since the post-war, civil and human rights movements in the 1960s.

Speaking candidly, anyone with the literacy and desire to read a newspaper can blatantly see that statement is false.

The nature of today’s conflict has created a world in which trained soldiers on battlefields no longer make up the most casualties — it’s women and children dying on the streets. Beyond the fatality of armed conflict, in her paper, “The Role of Women in Mediation and Conflict Resolution,” author Roohia S. Klein describes how “rape, sexual slavery, and other forms of sexual violence are used as weapons of war in international conflicts.”

In 2000, the United Nations passed Resolution 1325, which aims to better incorporate the perspectives of women in seeking resolution and prevention of conflict to combat sexual violence. The language of this document suggests that its text is more of a legal recommendation rather than an urgent call for women’s justice. Resolution 1325 “urges Member States to ensure increased representation of women at all decision-making levels in national, regional and international institutions.” What does this piece of paper actually accomplish in its practice, though?

Women’s rights activist Jody Williams is looking to address the effectiveness of the resolution on world conflict. During a guest lecture given at the University, she discussed the reality of 1325’s implementation in the UN. Though the document is a good step, women are not represented nearly as equally with respect to men in peace committees and conventions. The argument goes beyond political representation to include women in the military body of UN peacekeepers. If armed peacekeeping operations had a proportionate population of females, there would be more emphasis placed on the treatment and importance of sexual violence in conflict zones.

Along with Jody Williams’ critique of 1325, Klein gives accurate downfalls of the resolution in the section of her paper, “SCR 1325 Ten Years On.” She directs attention to the lack of structural changes within UN bodies to accommodate for female representatives. The author also points out the absence of time constraints or quotas and incentives to implement 1325. These together add up to a failure to measure any real-world effects the resolution has truly found.

The UN was founded on the ideas of common peace and human rights across all member states, but its actions to achieve those ideas are slightly ironic. It’s a loss of the integrity within a system that is promising so much to populations that have already been stripped of human rights. While the fact of representation is much debated, women make up half of the world and there are plenty of them significantly more capable than many male officials elected or hired to serve the UN in finding peaceful and lasting resolution to conflict.

Nick Bryant of the BBC defends the efforts of 1325 with the Security Council; female representatives occupy a third of the seats. In addition, the UN boasts 31 permanent female representatives. Even Bryant can’t argue with statistics showing the shortcomings of 1325, though, as “84 percent of the ambassadors at the UN are men. There may be more women at the table, but they are still heavily outnumbered.”

The United Nations has made positive strides with their resolve to include women in policy making. However, it’s not enough to bridge the gender participation gap in the UN’s infrastructure — thereby falling short of including the female voice in world conflicts.

Kirk Acharya is an LSA junior.

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