Feminist scholars and advocates of gender equality and women's empowerment have been looking forward to 2020 as a significant year. Not only does 2020 mark the 20th anniversary of the ground-breaking UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (2000), it is also the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. In addition, year 2020 marks a five-year milestone towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), among which SDG 5 specifically addresses the ambitious goal of achieving gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls by 2030.
Numerous events have been planned across the globe to take stock of achievements made and address the numerous challenges that still prevail for international women's rights and gender equality. One pressing challenge in recent years has been the growing anti-gender movement in many countries and regions of the world. Activists and policy makers alike have found that instead of focusing their time and energy on moving the gender equality agenda forward, they have to struggle to maintain and protect already agreed international language and commitments.
Adding to this challenge, the international community now also has to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, which has already set an effective stopper to this year's Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 64). Numerous other events have been cancelled or postponed for an indefinite time. Women's activists and civil society organisations now fear that important opportunities will be lost and even more severe setbacks will be experienced, with detrimental effects for women – particularly in developing countries, in conflict zones and in refugee camps. Already scarce resources are growing scarcer, and lack of resources tends to impact women and girls the most.
In this situation, it is more important than ever that scholars continue to provide research and analysis to shed light on the gendered impact of the pandemic. For the PRIO GPS Centre, it will be particularly relevant to address these issues in relation to the WPS agenda under #1325Beyond2020. Our activities will include a series of webinars organised in collaboration with our sister centres/institutes at the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (Georgetown University), the Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre (Monash University), the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security (London School of Economics), and the Women, Peace and Security Institute ((Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Training Centre). So, stay tuned for the most recent analysis, research dissemination and policy exchange.
Torunn L. Tryggestad
Director of the PRIO Centre on Gender, Peace and Security
Written and published on 1 April 2020.