May 30, 2024

UN Ambassador Calls for Men’s Participation in Women, Peace, and Security Efforts

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations, reads a statement ahead on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea ahead of Security Council consultations on Non-proliferation/the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. With her are the Permanent Representatives of Albania, Brazil, France, Ireland, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

In a powerful address during a side event titled “Engaging Men as Allies in Women, Peace and Security” at the United Nations, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. Representative to the UN, emphasized the crucial role of men as allies in promoting gender equality and peace.

Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield began by acknowledging the rarity of seeing a room where women outnumbered men, highlighting the importance of addressing gender imbalances in discussions on women, peace, and security. She urged participants to confront this issue head-on, emphasizing that discomfort can lead to growth and positive change.

Calling for men to step up and speak out, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield stressed the significance of their support in advancing gender equality and addressing issues related to women, peace, and security. She underscored that women should not bear the sole responsibility of advocating for gender balance; men must also actively participate.

While discussing Resolution 1325 and Women, Peace, and Security, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield emphasized the need to focus on the role of men as allies and leaders. She argued that men who hold leadership positions must be pressured to support women, peace, and security efforts.

Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield recounted her experience in Liberia, where she saw women leaders in action, including the President, U.S. Ambassador (herself), and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General. These women, dubbed the “female truckers,” brought about significant positive change in the country and worked together to challenge male leaders who resisted their efforts.

The Ambassador also highlighted the historical omission of gendered consequences of violence from conflict narratives, emphasizing the importance of increasing women’s engagement and participation in formal peace and security processes. She stressed that this is not just beneficial for women but for entire communities and countries.

Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield acknowledged that many men, too, are victims of conflict and are coerced into acts of violence. She shared a poignant memory from Liberia where she encountered young boys who had been child soldiers, emphasizing the need to recognize them as victims and provide them with support to prevent future victimization.

Additionally, the Ambassador recounted her experience in Afghanistan, where she was reminded of the importance of educating both girls and boys to ensure a holistic approach to gender equality.

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