News Desk: The Yemen Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) team is inviting bids for projects enabling women’s meaningful political participation and inclusion.
The Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) is a cross-government fund that supports and delivers activity to tackle instability and to prevent conflicts that threaten UK interests. It has been a catalyst for a more integrated UK government response to fragility and conflict, including delivering the UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace & Security (WPS) 2018-2022.
In line with the Yemen Gender Strategy and the MENA Gender Strategy, Yemen CSSF funds projects, which aim to increase women’s meaningful and representative participation in peacebuilding and peace processes. It supports the implementation of the UK National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security and the UK’s goals as set out in the Integrated Review: to be a force for good, support open societies, protect human rights, and prevent and tackle conflict and instability.
Yemen remains one of the worst places in the world to be a woman and was placed at third from the bottom of the recent global WPS index(1). Entrenched and patriarchal gender roles mean that women and girls are particularly affected by negative gender stereotypes, limited political participation in peace and decision-making processes, restricted access to services, a discriminatory legal system, economic vulnerability and higher likelihood of gender-based violence (GBV).
The conflict has exacerbated gender inequalities and has contributed to worsening conditions for women and girls. These inequalities are now further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Women, men, girls and boys have hugely varied lived experiences which depend not only on their gender, but also on other aspects such as class, disability, ethnicity, migrant status, geographic location and other factors. This requires continual context and gender analysis and consultation with diverse Yemeni voices to understand complex and nuanced needs and capacities, so that the needs of different groups of women are met.
This is highly relevant to women’s participation and influence in political processes across Yemen. While women’s political participation remains low around the world(2), the figures for Yemen are particularly shocking, where women constitute less than 1% of members of parliament and local councils. There are still very few women in public decision-making roles, despite this being one of the objectives of the National Dialogue Conference of 2014.
In the 2018 Peace Talks in Stockholm the percentage of women negotiators was 4%(3) showing that women’s participation in peace processes remains low with little improvement.
Therefore, it is evident that while women peacebuilders are active at the informal levels in Yemen, they are often side-lined in the more formal elements of peace processes at multiple levels.
Peace processes are intrinsically political, and women’s exclusion from peace processes is likely to be linked to their wider exclusion from political, social, economic and public life.
Similarly, women’s exclusion from peace processes can have a wider impact on their future political participation, as peace processes are often responsible for establishing a political settlement, constitution building and defining the structures which will determine who holds power through the transition and into the future. Women’s political participation and their inclusion in all levels of a peace process are therefore intertwined.
Women’s participation in peace processes has also been linked to better peace outcomes(4).
Increasing women’s political participation as a first step to their wider inclusion in peace processes is therefore likely to be key in seeking a lasting resolution to the crisis in Yemen.
Yemen Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) aims to directly support the meaningful inclusion of women in the political process at all levels; including increasing women’s representative participation in peace processes.