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Women In International Security Switzerland and the UN Institute for Disarmament Research join forces to launch UNIDIR-WIIS CoLab

PRESS RELEASE

GENEVA, 21 APRIL 2022 — Today Women In International Security (WIIS) Switzerland and the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) launched a new CoLab to foster collaborative community building for women working in international peace and security in Geneva and across Switzerland.

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The UNIDIR-WIIS CoLab aims to promote scholarship, dialogue and networking for women in the field of disarmament and international security. During the launch event, which marks the first of a series of high-level conversations, WIIS Switzerland President Julia-Silvana Hofstetter discussed the nexus of gender equality, human rights, and international security together with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, the Director of the Quaker UN Office in Geneva Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, and UNIDIR Deputy Director Cécile Aptel.

“Too often, women’s participation and the gender dimension of security remain on the sidelines of key debates in foreign and security policy – we need targeted action to change this and accelerate progress”, noted Hofstetter.

 

Aptel highlighted that on average, only one in five disarmament delegations are headed by women. “Put simply,” she said, “women don’t have an equal opportunity to shape international disarmament and security policies, when these very policies affect everyone.”  

 

Madlala-Routledge, formerly South Africa’s Minister of Defence, insisted that the participation of more women at all levels of international security policy was “not only as a right but also as a critical component in improving diversity and therefore also improving the chances for more effective and sustainable decisions”. But progress in achieving this right has been slow, she said. 

 

High Commissioner Bachelet called for increased consideration and representation of women in security sector reform and in arms control and disarmament processes. She also emphasized that “despite more visibility and attention to these concerns at the global level, we still need bolder action and more targeted funding on the ground. Barely 1 percent of funding in fragile or conflict-affected countries goes to women’s rights organizations. (Read her full keynote speech here.)

For more information about the CoLab an opportunities for collaboration, contact: switzerland@wiisglobal.org

ABOUT WIIS SWITZERLAND

WIIS Switzerland is an affiliate of Women In International Security (WIIS) Global, the premier organization in the world dedicated to advancing the leadership and professional development of women in the field of international peace and security. WIIS Switzerland aims to support, connect, and engage women working in international peace and security across Switzerland, to provide a platform for collaboration and exchange across sectors and to build bridges to the global community of WIIS.

Follow WIIS Switzerland on Twitter and LinkedIn.

ABOUT UNIDIR

UNIDIR is a voluntarily funded, autonomous institute within the United Nations. One of the few policy institutes worldwide focusing on disarmament, UNIDIR generates knowledge and promotes dialogue and action on disarmament and security. Based in Geneva, UNIDIR assists the international community to develop the practical, innovative ideas needed to find solutions to critical security problems. UNIDIR has been at the forefront of awareness raising and policy research on the links between gender and disarmament, including on the gendered impact of use of weapons and gender imbalance in multilateral disarmament forums. Since 2018, the Institute has a dedicated Gender and Disarmament programme that supports the diplomatic community in bridging gender and disarmament frameworks.

For more information about UNIDIR, visit: www.unidir.org.

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MEDIA CONTACT

Julia-Silvana Hofstetter, President, WIIS Switzerland
Julia-silvana.hofstetter@wiis.ch

Renata Hessmann Dalaqua, Programme Lead Gender and Disarmament, UNIDIR
Renata.hessmanndalaqua@un.org