No country in the world has achieved gender equality. The global Covid-19 pandemic has been a stark reminder of the enormous work that remains to build a gender-equal world.

Since its outbreak, women have been on the front lines of pandemic response and recovery. They have also faced its dire impacts: alarming levels of domestic and intimate partner violence, increased and unacknowledged care responsibilities, and economic insecurity.

Yet, from challenges comes the opportunity to bring meaningful change, and Canada is committed to work with partners around the world to make this change a reality. Resolution 1325 – the foundation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda, adopted by the United Nations Security Council just over 20 years ago – calls on us to recognize that women are powerful agents of change and to ensure they are included in key decisions that impact their lives. This is their right. We also need their participation. There is growing evidence showing that peace is more likely, and more likely to be sustainable when women’s voices and experiences are taken seriously and their rights are respected. When women are involved in peacebuilding, for example, the probability that violence will end increases by 24%.

In times of crises and conflict, women and youth play vital roles in building peaceful communities, despite the enormous risks they often face in doing this work. Time after time, women and youth are the ones leading demonstrations, building movements and campaigns, and calling for inclusive peace negotiations and representative governments. Despite their important contributions to prevent, end and rebuild after crisis and conflict, women are still largely excluded from peace processes, their work remains underfunded, their expertise remains under-recognised, and they are targets of violence.

This is why the Government of Canada is launching a year-long campaign, #PeaceByHer, to increase the recognition, access, support, and protection of women peacebuilders worldwide. The #PeaceByHer campaign is relevant to us all. In Canada, in Kuwait and elsewhere.

Over the past years we have noted with interest the efforts of groups like the Intisar Foundation, led by Sheikha Intisar Salem Al Ali Al Sabah, who work on fostering peace in the Arab world by accelerating the transformation of Arab women traumatised by the brutality of war and violence into the world’s most impactful Peacemakers. The Foundation provides psychological support programming through drama therapy. The sessions aim at sustaining and strengthening women’s psychological healing and personal growth and helping them become peacemakers in their communities.

The Embassy of Canada in Kuwait is committed to providing support and advice to Kuwaiti groups and organizations working towards empowering women in peace and security processes and will, over the next 12 months and beyond, provide updates via our social media channels on these endeavours.

Times of crisis often present profound turning points. Do we want to carry on with the status quo or is it time for change? This International Women’s Day, Canada affirms that it’s time to get behind the peacebuilding potential that women peacebuilders possess. It’s time for change.

Peace by her – it’s time.

Jacqueline O’Neill
Canada’s Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security

Louis-Pierre Emond
Ambassador of Canada to the State of Kuwait

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