The Elders


Building a lasting peace: where are the women?

On 5 November, The Elders and four women change-makers, activists and experts debated how to empower women in conflict and in peace-making, in a live-streamed public event.

Fourteen years ago, the UN Security Council officially recognised the importance of fully-involving women in all peace and security efforts in Resolution 1325. But when we look at peace talks, past and present, where are the women? Their voices are still not being heard.

Women make up half the world’s population, yet, of the 31 major peace processes since 1992, only 4 percent of participants were women. And only 2.5 percent of peace agreements were signed by women.

How can that be changed? How can we empower women to be represented at the decision-making table? How can they contribute to tackling the root causes of conflict?

To answer these questions, four Elders, together with The Carter Center, held a public live-streamed event with four women thought-leaders – peace-building experts and activists championing the inclusion of women.

Watch the video of the full discussion


The Elders debate with change-makers

To start off the debate, Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson joined Asha Haji Elmi, peace activist in Somalia and founder of Save Somali Women and Children (SSWC) and Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, co-founder of the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN).

In the second half, Kofi Annan and Hina Jilani held a discussion with Manal Omar, Acting Vice-President of the Center for Middle East and Africa at the US Institute of Peace and Jessica Neuwirth, Honorary President and founder of Donor Direct Action


Continue the debate online with the hashtag #WhereAreTheWomen.

On the Web
Ireland is currently preparing a new 1325 NAP. What actions in such plans can support increased participation by women? #WhereAreTheWomen
Do female peacemakers represent their gender, or do they espouse factional interests at the table?Women aren't homogenous #WhereAreTheWomen
Information,education,opportunity and presence, essential in getting women round the peacemaking tables globally #wherearethewomen
What are the most pivotal roles for women in being truly engaged in the peace process: negotiators, witnesses, mediators? #WhereAreTheWomen
Tomorrow, @TheElders will discuss an important issues in peace building work: #WhereAreTheWomen? Livestream info:…
TOMORROW: Tune into @TheElders #WhereAreTheWomen talk with Jimmy Carter & others…
What role can/should the humanitarian community place in supporting women's involvement in the peace process? #WhereAreTheWomen
What role does non-conflict related Violence against women play in limiting women's involvement in the peace process? #WhereAreTheWomen
Res 1325 passed in 2000, female lead mediator a UN DPA 2014 target... Does continued failure mean UN impotent/irrelevant? #WhereAreTheWomen
We'll be watching @sanambna of @ICAN in 'Building a lasting #peace: #WhereAreTheWomen?' Join @TheElders' debate…
How are we localizing the peace building process? How can women's role in localizing 1325 transfer to higher levels? #WhereAreTheWomen
How might #women be able to break cycles of #violence? Which #conflict could have been prevented sooner? Tweet your Q with #WhereAreTheWomen
What’s keeping #women from the peace-table? #Poverty? #Patriarchy? Tweet Qs to Elders & women peace experts with #WhereAreTheWomen
Video from Jimmy Carter: Join me on 5 Nov for a panel debate about #WhereAreTheWomen peacebuilders @CarterCenter:…
In 31 major peace processes 1992-2011, just 4% of signatories were women… #WhereAreTheWomen…
Why are so few women's voices heard at the peace table? Join @ManalOmar for an online debate tmrw… #WhereAreTheWomen


Please read our moderation policy before commenting

  • All comments posted on will be moderated before publication.
  • In making comments, please be constructive and treat others with respect.
  • Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, inflammatory statements or accusations, personal attacks, discriminatory or abusive language will not be posted.
  • Links: Please do link to other relevant sites and articles to enrich the debate. Please do not link to inappropriate or offensive websites or use signature links in your post.
The Elders are independent global leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela, who offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity.

Sign up to receive monthly newsletters from The Elders.

We will occasionally send you other special updates and news, but we'll never share your email address with third parties.

Visit the archive to see our past newsletters.

The Elders website uses cookies. Click here to accept the Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy when visiting this site.