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The Conditions of Women in War and Conflict – Time for the Nordic Countries to Act

Women tend to suffer greatly in war and conflict, and men usually set the agenda when rebuilding communities. It is time for the Nordic countries to stand up in the work for a just peace process, says the Swedish organisation Operation 1325.

NIKK spade symbol

If the aims of the UN resolution on women, peace and security are ever to be achieved, it is time to get to work. There is no hesitation in the voice of Jenny Molin, project coordinator of Operation 1325, and a new report from George Washington University supports her point. In the report, researchers have ranked different countries’ action plans for the resolution, and Sweden can be found in the bottom half of the list.
‘There are no clear aims, no time plan and no earmarked budget, and the follow-up is also poor,’ says Molin.

Operation 1325 will host a couple of events at the Nordic Forum in Malmö. Can you tell us about them?
‘Together with partners that work with resolution 1325 in Norway, Finland and Denmark, we’re giving a seminar and a workshop on how different organisations work with women, peace and security. We’re gathering people who work with these issues in the Nordic countries.’

Why should the Nordic countries focus on issues related to conflict and security?
‘We work closely with NATO and are present in conflict areas. We participate in peace processes and we like to lead the way within gender equality. If we’re going to promote ourselves as good examples, we also have to live up to it.’

Resolution 1325 aims to strengthen the protection of women in conflict situations, as well as increase women’s participation in peace and security work. The Resolution was adopted by the UN Security Council in 2000 with an intention for individual countries to put it into practice through national action plans.
‘The Nordic countries were quick to develop action plans, but now it seems like we may not be as successful as we would like to think we are,’ says Molin.
Since the report from George Washington University has not yet been published, she cannot say anything about the results for the other Nordic countries.
‘They may have placed higher than Sweden,’ she says.

 Jenny Molin. Photo: Operation 1325

What happens if the action plans are not good enough?
‘There’s a risk that the work gets neglected. Just looking at an action plan is of course not enough, however. An action plan doesn’t give a full picture of what a country does, but it does point out who’s responsible for different parts of the work.’

Why do more women need to participate in peace processes?
‘It’s really a matter of democracy. Peace processes affect entire populations, and it’s wrong to leave women out of it. Besides, research shows that the chances of sustainable and long-term peace go up when women’s rights organisations get involved. When these organisations get to influence the agenda, the legitimacy of the peace process increases.’


This is an article about one of the projects granted funding through the Nordic Gender Equality Fund.

Updated 11 February 2021