Today President Obama issued an executive order to establish the United States’ first-ever National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security to formalize the nation’s commitment to promoting women’s role in conflict prevention and resolution. The executive order states, “The goal is as simple as it is profound: to empower half of the world’s population as equal partners in preventing conflict and building peace in countries threatened and affected by war, violence, and insecurity. Achieving this goal is critical to our national and global security.”

According to the executive order, the United States will “institutionalize a gender-responsive approach to its diplomatic, development, and defense-related work in conflict affected environments,” and will work to increase women’s rights and ‚Äúsubstantive participation in peace processes, conflict prevention, peacebuilding, transitional processes, and decision making institutions in conflict-affected environments.” Moreover, the United States will aim to safeguard women and children from exploitation and sexual, as well as gender-based violence.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated, “It is time for all of us to take charge of the future, to change how the world thinks about conflict and how we stop it and prevent it; about security and how we provide it; about peace and how we realize it. And as we do so, it is past time for women to take their rightful place, side-by-side with men, in the rooms where the fates of peoples, where their children’s and grandchildren’s fates, are decided, in the negotiations to make peace and in the institutions to keep it.”

The National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security includes commitments by the Departments of State, Justice, Defense, Treasury, and Homeland Security, as well as by the US Mission to the United Nations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

Statement of the White House 12/19/11; National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security  12/19/11; Chicago Sun-Times 12/19/11; Amnesty International Statement 12/19/11

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