Advancing Women, Peace at NATO 75th Summit

The White House

The status of women and girls and the stability and security of nations are inextricably linked. When women have equal opportunities to participate and lead, economies grow, education rates and health outcomes improve, and political instability and violence decline.

NATO Allies have recognized the importance of women to peace and security. The Transatlantic relationship is built on a foundation of shared democratic values-including respect for democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law, as enshrined in the Washington Treaty. Women's meaningful participation and leadership in security, peace, and decision-making processes is fundamental to the strength of democracies, and therefore critical to NATO's present and future effectiveness.

Since the start of the Biden-Harris Administration, the President and Vice President have taken historic steps to strengthen women's meaningful participation in national security, defense, and political leadership, pursuant to our National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality, and through implementation of the 2023 Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Strategy and National Action Plan, which aligns with NATO's new WPS policy reflecting critical shifts in our global landscape-including geopolitical changes, a rise in climate-related crises, and advancements in technology. The Administration's investments in WPS also bolster the implementation of the U.S. Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability, the U.S. Strategy to Anticipate, Prevent and Respond to Atrocities, and the U.S Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally.

This week, as Allies and partners gather for the NATO 75th Anniversary Summit, the Biden-Harris Administration is proud to announce new actions and reaffirm our enduring commitment to advancing the Women, Peace, and Security agenda as integral to NATO's core tasks.

NATO Summit Deliverables on Women, Peace, and Security

Together with Allies, the United States is announcing the following deliverables as key Summit outcomes that underscore NATO's ironclad support for Women, Peace, and Security (WPS):

  • Revised NATO WPS Policy. To further the WPS agenda across NATO's core tasks and missions, Allies undertook a revision of NATO's 2018 policy to address and build on NATO's long-standing commitment to WPS that will be formally endorsed at the Washington Summit. The updated policy addresses new security threats, including technology-facilitated gender-based violence and the misuse of new and emerging technologies, climate security, and conflict-related sexual violence, and also notes Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine and the threats it poses specifically to women on the frontlines of the conflict.
  • Equipping Ukrainian servicewomen. At the Washington Summit, Allies will also announce historic contributions through the Comprehensive Assistance Package (CAP) to provide women's body armor, boots, and uniforms to the Ukrainian armed services to further NATO's non-lethal support to Ukraine and commitment to supporting women's full and equal participation in defense and security. This will mark the first time Allies have directed resources through CAP to advance Women, Peace, and Security objectives.

Biden-Harris Administration Commitments to Advancing Women, Peace and Security

Launch of Women LEAD, an $850 million+ partnership to close the gap in women's leadership globally. To strengthen democracy and reaffirm the Biden-Harris Administration's commitment to advancing women's meaningful participation in peace and security processes at the Washington Summit, the United States government-in collaboration with many NATO Allies and partners-launched Women Leading Effective and Accountable Democracy in the digital age (Women LEAD), a public-private partnership that convenes governments, philanthropy, civil society and multilateral organizations to advance women's political and civic participation and leadership globally. This new initiative harnesses shared commitments and priorities, including the U.S. Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal, the Global Partnership for Action on Gender-Based Online Harassment and Abuse, and the Network for Gender Inclusive Democracy.

The U.S. is committing $150 million towards Women LEAD to advance women's political leadership, prevent and address gender-based violence against women leaders online and offline, and support women's meaningful participation in the criminal justice sector, peacebuilding and conflict resolution. Alongside the U.S. and 14 countries, more than 20 foundations, international organizations, and civil society partners will join for a total of more than $850 million in commitments. Together, partners are taking action to help close the gap in women's political leadership and tackle barriers to women in political and public life. Partners joining Women LEAD include:

  • Government and multilateral partners: Australia; Canada; Finland; European Union; Iceland; Japan; Kenya; Republic of Korea; Romania; Netherlands; Norway; Spain; Sweden; Ukraine; the United Kingdom; Inter-American Commission of Women of the Organization of American States; OECD; and UNFPA
  • Philanthropic partners: Daniel Sachs Foundation; Women's Political Leadership Fund; Mozilla Foundation; Open Society Foundations; Skoll; the Trawalla Foundation; and Wallace Global Fund
  • Civil society partners: Apolitical Foundation; Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Fundación Multitudes; Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security; Humane Intelligence; International Foundation for Electoral Systems; International Republican Institute's Women's Democracy Network; IREX; National Democratic Institute; #ShePersisted; Save the Children; and the Women Political Leaders Fund

In addition to launching Women LEAD, the Biden-Harris Administration is highlighting new and ongoing actions to implement the 2023 WPS Strategy, corresponding with the Strategy's five lines of effort:

  1. Advancing women's meaningful participation in peace and security decision-making, leadership and institutions.
  • Promoting the civic and political engagement of women and girls. Since announcing the Advancing Women's and Girls' Civic and Political Leadership Initiative at the first Summit for Democracy, USAID has allocated over $15 million in nine focus countries to build and sustain women's participation in political and civic engagement. USAID intends to provide up to $10 million in additional funding this year.
  • Strengthening women's meaningful participation in conflict prevention and resolution. Announced at the first Summit for Democracy in 2021, Supporting Her Empowerment: Women's Inclusion for New Security (SHE WINS) builds the capacity of women-led civil society organizations in preventing, resolving, and recovering from conflict, violent extremism, and gender-based violence through the development of peacebuilding initiatives and through localization of National Action Plans on WPS. SHE WINS includes a Rapid Response Fund to enable flexible resourcing of women peacebuilders. Current funding for SHE WINS is approximately $10 million, and, working with Congress, the State Department intends to provide an additional $4 million by September 2024.
  • Bolstering women leaders in Sudan's recovery. Working with Congress, USAID intends to provide $2.72 million in FY23 WPS Incentive Funds to strengthen monitoring, documentation, and accountability processes and amplify existing Sudanese women's initiatives, such as the Women Coordination Advocacy Agenda. Activities include the development of specialized training for GBV and CRSV case documentation, increasing access to care and psychosocial support for survivors, and incorporating the needs of women and girls in relief and recovery distribution systems and services.
  1. Promoting the protection of the human rights of women and girls, and preventing and responding to all forms of GBV, including in conflict and crisis.
  • Reducing sexual assault and sexual harassment in the military. Under President Biden's leadership, rates of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the active duty force have gone down for the first time in nearly a decade. This progress follows unprecedented actions from the President and Secretary of Defense Austin, including more than doubling the Department's annual investments in sexual assault and sexual harassment prevention and response, advancing and implementing historic military justice reform to establish independent Offices of Special Trial Counsel, and building an integrated violence prevention workforce.
  • Promoting justice and accountability for sexual violence in conflict. Preventing and responding to conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) is a top priority for President Biden and Vice President Harris. In 2022, President Biden signed a Memorandum on Promoting Accountability for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence (CRSV) and committed to fully exercising U.S. authorities-including sanctions, visa restrictions, and security assistance vetting-to promote accountability for perpetrators and enablers of CRSV. Since October 7, President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Administration leaders have consistentlycondemned Hamas' horrific sexual violence. To further implement this Presidential Memorandum, the Administration is also:
    • Holding Perpetrators Accountable Through Sanctions. Following the release of this new policy, the Biden-Harris Administration issued sanctions in June 2023, marking the first time United States imposed sanctions with a dedicated focus on CRSV. In December 2023, the Administration announced additional sanctions against thirteen targets from four countries for their connection to acts of CRSV-the largest set of financial sanctions and visa restrictions the United States has issued against individuals connected to this human rights abuse. Sanctions issued on the basis of CRSV since the release of the Presidential Memorandum include perpetrators from conflicts and crises in: Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Iraq, South Sudan, Sudan, and Syria.
    • Strengthening Sanctions Regimes. In June 2024, the United States negotiated the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2734, renewing measures under the sanctions regime on ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations originally established under Resolution 1267. For the first time, the resolution explicitly recognized that planning, directing, or committing of acts involving sexual- and gender-based violence are eligible for designation for sanctions under the regime's criteria, recognizing that gender-based violence (GBV) is used as a tactic by terrorist groups, and leading to improved reporting, coherence, and coordination.
    • Enhancing Documentation to Support Survivors. In June 2024, the Vice President launched the Dignity in Documentation Initiative, which intends to provide support for survivor- and civil society-led efforts to investigate and document CRSV in line with the Murad Code, named for Nobel Laureate and survivor Nadia Murad. This holistic program, supported under a $10 million investment from the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, will support justice for survivors by promoting accountability for crimes punishable under international law.
  • Assisting immigrant and refugee survivors of GBV. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provides access to services for survivors of GBV navigating the immigration process through the DHS Case Management Pilot Program (CMPP), allocating $40 million to this program between FY22 and FY24, with plans to invest an additional $15 million in FY 2025, pending available funds. CMPP supports a safe, orderly, and humane immigration process by ensuring that eligible noncitizens, including those enrolled in ICE's Alternatives to Detention (ATD) programs, have access to case management and critical services such as mental health services, human and sex trafficking screening, legal orientation programs, cultural orientation programs, and reintegration services for individuals returning to their countries of citizenship.
  • Mobilizing resources to address technology-facilitated gender-based violence against women leaders. In January 2024, the State Department announced plans to support a new Global Technology-Facilitated Gender-Based Violence (TFGBV) Rapid Response Fund that will invest $2 million to provide rapid/flexible response support to women politicians, political candidates, and civil society leaders who have experienced extreme forms and/or threats of TFGBV. Furthermore, this mechanism will aim to create safe spaces to foster connection and learning among survivors.
  • Advancing women's protection and meaningful participation in Haiti. The U.S. has integrated WPS throughout preparations for the Multinational Security Support (MSS) mission in Haiti, by encouraging women's representation at all levels of the MSS mission, and ensuring that pre-deployment training include a focus on women's protection and preventing and addressing GBV,. To advance these goals, the U.S. has supported the Government of Kenya leading the MSS mission to develop a first-ever oversight and accountability policy framework to ensure compliance with international human rights standards, establish a Gender Advisory position, and incorporate an action plan on women's participation and protection.
  • Strengthening access to justice for GBV survivors in Mexico. Working with Congress, USAID plans to dedicate $1.5 million in FY2023 funds to improve access to justice and accountability for survivors of GBV in Mexico by enhancing the capacity of state institutions to holistically address crimes, support victims, deliver quality services, and support civil society in its effort to improve services. The funds will work with state courts to expand mixed civil-criminal jurisdiction courts for domestic violence, and support Women Justice Centers and State Commissions for Victim Assistance to improve management practices to reduce re-victimization, expand victim service networks, and introduce restorative justice practices.
  • Empowering Sri Lankan women leaders to shift norms to address CRSV. In Sri Lanka, USAID intends to provide $1.5 million in FY2023 funds to facilitate women's advocacy on CRSV and peacebuilding and develop programs for women leaders to conduct dialogue and mobilize collective action. This program will also provide grants to women-led organizations to engage men and boys and mitigate cultural barriers that inhibit women's participation and fuel CRSV.
  • Supporting GBV survivors in Ukraine. To support survivors of CRSV and other forms of GBV in Ukraine, the U.S. Department of State is supporting a $4 million project offering survivors and local GBV service providers critical services to help individuals and communities recover and thrive, including psycho-social support and survivor-centered care. The Department of State also supports Ukraine's effort to hold accountable those responsible for atrocities, including CRSV, through the U.S.-UK-EU Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group, which provides coordinated strategic advice, capacity building, and operational assistance to Ukraine's Office of the Prosecutor General. USAID is also supporting the World Health Organization, the International Organization for Migration, the United Nations Children's Fund, the United Nations Population Fund, and eleven NGO partners to respond to CRSV and other forms of GBV across Ukraine.
  1. Prioritizing women and girls in relief, response and recovery.
  • Supporting women-led organizations in humanitarian response efforts. The U.S. is proud to be one of the largest donors to the UN Women Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF). In 2023, USAID contributed $10 million to WPHF to support women-led organizations on the frontlines of humanitarian and protection response efforts in Ukraine, Haiti, Ethiopia, and South Sudan. USAID is thrilled to continue expanding its contributions to the WPHF in 2024, including through new support in Afghanistan, where USAID recently provided $5 million to fund local women-led organizations.
  • Addressing GBV in emergencies and natural disasters. DHS is building the capacity of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) to assist survivors of GBV before, during, and after disasters through training specific to disaster responders and emergency managers. The training will provide emergency responders with tools and procedures to minimize additional trauma to survivors of GBV. These efforts will help to provide survivor-centered support to disaster survivors, including survivors of GBV, and prioritize the identification and protection of survivors while protecting their privacy.
  • Supporting survivors of GBV violence in emergencies. In FY23, USAID's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) allocated over $163 million to support survivors of GBV in emergencies, serving over 5 million people in more than 40 countries and at the global level. These interventions constituted stand-alone GBV response and prevention initiatives, including psychosocial support, case management, and community-based prevention measures, such as safe spaces for women and girls.
  1. Integrating WPS principles across U.S. policies and programs.
  • Training for USAID personnel on WPS principles. In order to strengthen implementation of WPS across the Agency, USAID's Women Peace and Security 101 training has been updated and piloted in accordance with the 2023 U.S. Strategy and National Action Plan on WPS to include an in-depth overview of the WPS Act of 2017 and the new Strategy's lines of effort. It provides an opportunity for USAID staff to work through exercises to practice how to integrate WPS objectives and lines of effort into their daily work, as well as hands-on experience in considering the opportunities and challenges of implementing WPS objectives - illustrating why gender equality and women's empowerment are crucial in conflict and crises contexts.
  • Training for State Department personnel on WPS. In 2023, the State Department revised and extended the Promoting Gender Equality to Advance Foreign Policy, expanding the scope and length of content covered in line with the WPS Act of 2017, enhancing training on international humanitarian law, protection against sexual exploitation and abuse, trafficking in persons, and the meaningful participation of women in political and security decision-making processes. The State Department also updated its gender analysis tools and launched a standalone training for personnel. Since the launch of these new courses, nearly 600 personnel have accessed these trainings.
  • Strengthening federal law enforcement's capacity to address gender-based violence. DHS, through the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, delivers Human Trafficking Awareness Training (HTAT) and Sexual Assault Investigator Training Program (SAITP) to federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement officers. HTAT helps to equip frontline law enforcement and those who support law enforcement with the knowledge they need to recognize and properly respond to potential human trafficking situations. SAITP prepares agents and investigators to conduct compassionate and effective survivor-centered investigations into adult sexual assaults through an extensive series of training exercises presenting trainees with relevant and realistic investigative scenarios that include case sufficiency reviews and over 20 distinct role player scenarios, immersing the students in multiple mock sexual assault investigations.
  • Training military and civilian personnel on WPS at the Department of Defense. The Department of Defense (DoD) has taken significant steps to further institutionalize WPS across the Department and within the military services by establishing a Mobile Training Team to train and certify its growing Gender Advisory Workforce. Since it was first launched in FY2023, the Mobile Training Team has delivered joint training to certify close to 1,000 military and civilian personnel to better understand the gendered dimensions of conflict and crisis and enhance their capacity to integrate a gender analysis within military operations, activities, and investments. This improves efforts to protect women and girls during conflict and better respond to the needs of an entire affected population during crisis.
  1. Promoting partnerships to build capacity and elevate the WPS agenda throughout our foreign policy and security cooperation and assistance.
  • Closing the gender gap in cybersecurity. DHS, through the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), will work to close the gender gap in cyberspace professions by leveraging partnerships with organizations, such as Girls Who Code, Girl Scouts of the USA, and Women in Cybersecurity in 2024. In particular, DHS will work with relevant partners to identify, host, and support engagement opportunities that promote women and girls in Cybersecurity fields. CISA will partner with organizations to coordinate events and identify opportunities to engage women and girls in cybersecurity.
  • Embedding WPS in defense engagements. DoD continues to integrate WPS in regional defense dialogues. In April 2024, DoD convened representatives from 24 defense and security ministries across the Western Hemisphere for the Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas (CDMA) Ad-Hoc Working Group on WPS ahead of the XVI CDMA that will be hosted by Argentina in October. Delegations exchanged knowledge on developing and implementing WPS National Action Plans, expanding the meaningful participation of women in the armed forces and defense sector, and implementing WPS in the mission areas of humanitarian assistance and disaster response, maritime operations, and peacekeeping operations.
  • Promoting WPS partnerships through security cooperation. DoD promotes partnerships between state National Guards and partner nations on WPS. For example, in May 2024, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command partnered with the Papua New Guinea Defense Force (PNGDF) to conduct a second comprehensive Gender Focal Point training with support from the Wisconsin Air National Guard and Marine Rotational Force-Darwin. The training was developed to facilitate gender focal point capacity development and equip PNGDF personnel with the tools necessary to integrate gender perspectives into their operational strategies, including a focus on reducing gender-based violence.
  • Improving data to anticipate, prevent and respond to crises. The U.S. is a founding member and steering committee participant in CRAF'd, a UN multi-partner trust fund which supports critical data needs to anticipate, prevent, and respond to crises. In June 2024, together with our partners in the European Union, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Nations, the U.S. launched a $3 million call for proposals to address the current paucity of gender-specific data in crisis and conflict settings, which leaves crisis responders ill-equipped to analyze and address the unique impacts on women, girls, and other vulnerable groups.
  • Advancing WPS in West Africa. USAID has partnered with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to support its Gender Directorate in Senegal to further expand the role of women in all sectors and to create more stability in peacebuilding processes. USAID's Regional Mission in West Africa is collaborating with several ECOWAS directorates to advance WPS and conflict early warning and early response efforts. At the bilateral level, USAID is supporting local civil society organizations in Togo, Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Niger, and Burkina Faso to elevate the role of women in peacebuilding by integrating them into existing local conflict prevention and resolution mechanisms, supporting their initiatives to maintain social cohesion, and promoting economic empowerment and leadership of vulnerable women and girls in their communities.
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