Film: War on Women

UN Photo - Survivors of sexual violence in DRC - by Marie Frechon

Women in a shelter for survivors of sexual violence in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo credit: Marie Frechon/United Nations.

War on Women” is a powerful, 15-minute film by award-winning filmmaker Dearbhla Glynn. Featuring testimonies from sexual violence survivors and perpetrators, as well as insights from analysts and activists, the film explores the impact of sexual violence and the culture of impunity that allows this violence to continue in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It also offers insights into how this situation might change.

The film was produced by the Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN), a UN-supported news agency devoted to humanitarian news and analysis. Based in Kenya, IRIN produces content in 6 languages, serves 82 countries and has won several awards for its coverage of health issues and climate change.

Unfortunately, the UN will cease funding IRIN in December 2014 and its future is in doubt. For more information, please see IRIN’s website or the petition to maintain the agency’s funding.

WPSN-C Membership Drive

WPSNC LogoToday is the last day of our membership drive, so if you haven’t signed up yet, we’d be happy to hear from you!

The WPSN-C is committed to addressing issues of women, peace and security, and to providing a forum for exchange and organizing between members. As our “Member Spotlight” series has shown, WPSN-C members have a wide range of expertise and experience, and everyone brings something unique to the network.

Thank you to everyone who has shared our call for new members. We’ve had a great response so far and are looking forward to working with our new colleagues!

Member Spotlight: CFUW is a multi-issue advocacy organization that supports women’s rights

WPSN-C - CFUW at CSW 2014
CFUW and IFUW members at the 58th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in March 2014.

The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) is a non-partisan, voluntary, self-funded organization with over 100 CFUW Clubs located in every province across Canada. Since its founding in 1919, CFUW has been working to improve the status of women, and to promote human rights, public education, social justice, and peace.

CFUW is the largest affiliate of the International Federation of University Women (IFUW), the leading girls’ and women’s global organization run by and for women, advocating for women’s rights, equality and empowerment through access to quality education and training up to the highest levels.

CFUW advocates for policy changes at the federal level and encourages its member Clubs across the country to work with their local politicians and communities to advance the mission of the organization. CFUW determines its policy position on issues through a grassroots resolution process that engages members at the local level and by a vote at its Annual General Meeting.

The promotion of peace and security is a key aspect of CFUW’s advocacy, with members supporting policy resolutions related to women, peace and security, peace education, peacekeeping and banning landmines. The CFUW was a founding member of the Women, Peace and Security Network – Canada in 2012 and continues to be actively involved in the network.

The WPSN-C is a great way for CFUW to stay “plugged in” to women, peace and security issues globally, and to keep on top of how the Government of Canada is implementing and promoting women’s participation in peacebuilding. This enables CFUW to keep its membership informed and to decide when to encourage stronger action from the Canadian government.

For instance, due to its participation in the WPSN-C and knowledge gained through this network, CFUW has called for the Government of Canada to ensure that Afghan women have an integral role in creating lasting peace in their country, including meaningful participation in Afghanistan’s peace talks.

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If you would like to join the WPSN-C or have questions regarding membership, please email us at wpsncanada@gmail.com or visit the Become a Member page.

Member Spotlight: Kristine St-Pierre is consultant on gender, peace and security

WPSN-C Member - Kristine St-Pierre

WPSN-C Steering Committee member, Kristine St-Pierre, is a consultant who offers training on women, peace and security issues.

Kristine St-Pierre is a Gender, Peace and Security Consultant who has worked with international and national non-governmental organizations and governments around the world. Her focus is on facilitation and training, particularly for members of the military and police who are being deployed as peacekeepers.

From 2007 to 2013, Kristine worked with the Pearson Centre. This independent organization was mandated to support Canada’s contribution to international peace and security through education, training and research until its closure in November 2013.

Through the Pearson Centre, Kristine offered courses and seminars on gender, peace and security issues in Africa, Latin America and North America. Among her most notable projects were: pre-deployment training on sexual and gender-based violence for female police officers from Nigeria who were about to be deployed as peacekeepers; supporting the development of a gender policy for the police peacekeeping divisions in Benin and Burkina Faso; and working with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations on the development and delivery of standardized curriculum that integrated gender perspectives into the work of UN military personnel.

Currently, Kristine is finishing a Master’s degree in journalism at Carleton University. She published an op-ed, A Shaky Commitment to Women, in the Ottawa Citizen in 2013, and a background paper titled Implementing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Peace Operations: Overview of Recent Efforts and Lessons Learned through Peacebuild in 2011.

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If you would like to join the WPSN-C or have questions regarding membership, please email us at wpsncanada@gmail.com or visit the Become a Member page.

Member Spotlight: Nobel Women’s Initiative promotes peace, justice and equality around the world

NWI - The  six Nobel Laureates of the NWI in Belfast, Northern Ireland during the Beyond Militarism and War Women-drive Solutions for a Nonviolent World conference in May 2013

The six Nobel Laureates of the Nobel Women’s Initiative in Belfast, Northern Ireland, during the Nobel Women’s Initiative Moving Beyond Militarism and War: Women-driven Solutions for a Nonviolent World conference in May 2013.

Nobel Women’s Initiative (NWI) uses the prestige of the Nobel Peace Prize and six courageous women peace laureates to magnify the power and visibility of women working in countries around the world for peace, justice and equality. The Nobel Peace Laureates leading the Nobel Women’s Initiative are Jody Williams (US), Shirin Ebadi (Iran), Rigoberta Menchú Tum (Guatemala), Mairead Maguire (Northern Ireland), Leymah Gbowee (Liberia) and Tawakkol Karman (Yemen).

Based in Ottawa, NWI is a small organization that has a big impact. Its advocacy is based around three pillars: Women Forging Peace, Women Achieving Justice and Women Advancing Equality and Human Rights. To carry out this work, the organization brings together key decision-makers and women’s rights activists, shapes the conversation on women’s rights and sexual violence by producing analysis and reports, and raises awareness around these issues by highlighting the work of women’s rights activists and movements.

Recently, the NWI led a delegation to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to raise awareness about conflict in the country and its impact on women and girls. More information is available on the delegation’s blog or at the Twitter hashtag #CongoWomenSpeak.

NWI also leads The International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict and is planning several events in advance of the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in June 2014. Details will be posted soon on the Stop Rape website and on the WPSN-C’s Upcoming Events page.

In advance of the Summit, Canadian organizations are also being asked to sign on to a set of key messages asking the Government of Canada to step up and take real and immediate action to end sexual violence in conflict. To sign on and show your support, please contact Diana Sarosi at dsarosi@nobelwomensinitiative.org by April 30, 2014.

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If you would like to join the WPSN-C or have questions regarding membership, please email us at wpsncanada@gmail.com or visit the Become a Member page.