The Global Fund for Women commits to double its funding over the next 5-years infusing over million into women-led movements advancing human rights and gender equality. It's Special Initiative, 'Reclaiming Peace and Genuine Security: Women Dismantling Militarism,' will channel at least million to support strategic public education and advocacy activities and grants that:
Grants will reflect the Global Fund's strategic approach and expertise in:
- Seeding and strengthening emerging groups.
- Building women's rights movements by linking groups working across a spectrum of issue areas and at every level.
- Complementing investments of our allies by fully and strategically using our extensive grantee network of women-led groups based in 170 countries globally.
- Providing a platform for the formulation of effective collective strategies for progressively engendering peace by supporting convenings aimed to unite groups across geographic and other divides.
- Providing general support grants that strengthen civil society's inherent capacity for independence.
It is the Global Fund's belief that women are critical leaders in the effort to reshape and transform the current global reality of pervasive civil conflict and militarization. The escalation in global military expenditure, the increased role of non-state militias and armed groups, and the proliferation of small arms have escalated and exacerbated already staggering levels of violence against girls and women. The devastating economic, political, environmental, cultural, and personal costs of militarization affect everyone. However, due to girls' and women's varying roles during and post-conflict, the effects of militarism and violence on women are complex and unique. Consider that:
- Violence against women during or after armed conflict has been reported in every international or national war zone. Armed combatants increasingly use sexual violence as a deliberate strategic tactic, torturing and sexually assaulting girls and women to 'dishonor' men of the enemy group and destabilize communities. In addition, numerous studies, including recent ones of returning US Iraq veterans show direct corelation between highly militarized societieis and spikes in domestic violence that impact women and children.
- Girls and women at times assume the role of rebel or soldier, often because they lack other viable economic opportunities or are conscripted. Yet, disarmament, demobilization & reintegration (DDR) programs rarely acknowledge their agency or appropriately address their unique capacities. Rather, they reinforce traditional gender stereotypes and divisions of labor, failing to expand gender equality.
- Under military occupations, women's and girls' mobility is severely restricted for 'security' reasons. Protracted occupation undermines females' most basic rights.
- When men are fighting, are arrested, or are killed, older girls and women must provide for children and elders. Lacking the security or liberty to travel to work, they may be forced to engage in survival sex to feed themselves and their families.
- Female refugees or internally displaced persons face profound vulnerability to sexual violence and harassment, including acts perpetrated by so-called 'peace-keeping' forces.
- Places harboring standing troops are hot spots in the realm of human trafficking. Sex industries proliferate around military bases and camps, fueling the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. They perpetuate a patriarchal, imperialistic culture that violates girls and women's rights to bodily integrity and, ironically, security.
Additionally, militarism and armed conflict distort nations' political and fiscal priorities. As a result, the women's human rights agenda and investments in girls' and women's advancement are often relegated to a far back seat and, in some countries, are obscured altogether. For instance, from 1998 to 2001, the U.S., the U.K. and France each earned more from arms sales to low-income countries than they gave in international development assistance.(SIPRI) Many nations have exponentially more soldiers than teachers or doctors. This disproportionate investment yields tragic consequences in the lives of girls and women that persist across generations, including lack of educational opportunities and insufficient healthcare infrastructure, which perpetuate poverty and contribute to high rates of maternal and child mortality.
For all of these reasons, our times demand concerted efforts to resist the prevailing ideology of domination and violence, reclaim genuine security, and restore human dignity and human rights to communities everywhere. Through the years, women's groups have been at the forefront of anti-war and anti-militarism movements all over the world. Mothers of soldiers have united across enemy lines to call for peace. Women have consistently protested government-sanctioned sex industries surrounding military bases and advocated for national budgets that favor healthcare, education, and jobs over military spending. Women's groups are working to halt the proliferation of small arms in their countries to ban nuclear weapons from the planet. Additionally, women have been at the forefront in advocating for laws and policies that end impunity for war crimes and that ensure clean up of environmental contamination caused by military operations and war.
SEEKING: financial assistance, media and marketing opportunities. The Global Fund for Women is seeking a broad base of financial support from partners who believe in this commitment. It also seeks media partners to secure greater discussion on the impact of conflict on women and girls and the role that women-led initiatives for peace and security can play in ending conflict.
OFFERING: implementing partnership, best practice information. The Global Fund for Women has awarded over $75 million in grants to more than 4,000 community-based, women-led initiatives for health, education, economic empowerment, peace, women's rights and well-being in 170 countries around the world. The Global Fund for Women welcomes opportunities to share what it has learned over the past two decades as a leading funder in efforts to build strong women's movements globally.