Ambassador Erica Barks-Ruggles
Senior Bureau Official
Bureau of International Organization Affairs
U.S. Department of State
March 18, 2021
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Women’s full participation is critical to addressing international insecurity, the COVID-19 pandemic, gender-based violence, climate change, and racial and economic inequality.
Women peacebuilders contribute to preventing and ending conflict, countering terrorism and violent extremism, and rebuilding societies. But to everyone’s detriment, women are excluded from conflict and reconstruction processes. To help correct this, in 2017 the United States adopted a comprehensive law on women, peace, and security to guide our global efforts to prevent, mitigate, and resolve conflict by increasing women’s inclusion in negotiation and mediation processes. To that end, we have funded initiatives supporting the participation of nearly 70,000 women in political and peacebuilding processes.
We also partner with women-led civil society organizations and women human rights defenders. Active civil society engagement is essential to promoting and protecting human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. Women civil society representatives advocate for not just for themselves, but for their families and communities. Because they experience the disproportionate impacts of conflicts and crises firsthand, integrating women’s perspectives into decision-making is critical for sustainable, inclusive solutions that lead to better outcomes for everyone.
The United States works with member states, UN entities, and other stakeholders to create an environment for civil society that is free from discrimination and violence, an environment that encourages diverse viewpoints and open discussion. However, far too often, women in prominent leadership positions are routinely subject to threats, harassment, intimidation, and gender-based violence – and it is even more severe for women of color, women with disabilities, LGBTQI+ women, and women who belong to other marginalized groups. Member states have a role to play to encourage all women’s full participation in public life.
Thank you for inviting me to today’s discussion.