New mobile app to boost role of women in peace processes

A mobile app has been launched to help embed women’s rights in peace negotiations in the Arab world and beyond.

Researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh and Monash in Australia and InclusivePeace in Geneva, have developed the data and technology to provide vital information on gender issues for those mediating peace processes.

UN Women supported the team on the development of the app – the body within the United Nations that globally champions gender equality, and the idea that all parts of an affected society should be included in its peace process.

The PeaceFem app brings together data on women and peacemaking in one easy-to-use app in English and Arabic.

The project contributes to the United Nations Security Council’s call for greater awareness of gender issues in peace negotiations.

Experts say that including an explicit reference to women’s rights in peace agreements recognises the importance of women for social cohesion and ensures that the process of rebuilding a society is fully representative.

The app provides information on 30 peace processes where gender inclusion was a key feature of the peace settlement. Users can search by region, country and peace agreement.

It also contains a fully searchable library of case studies that showcase the strategies used to include women in peace provision, the enabling or limiting factors and the agreements that resulted.

“COVID-19 has served as a reminder to us of the importance of adapting and finding new ways of connecting, and of sharing and accessing information. This app is an important contribution to redefining how we work on peacemaking in the Arab region, and for taking down barriers that have restricted access to information in the Arab World and beyond.” 

– Rachel Dore-Weeks, Head of UN Women Lebanon

“When the Second World War ended, the soldier given the task of drafting the surrender agreement with Germany immediately turned to past peace documents to help him in his drafting. Our experience is that in ending conflict today, parties often find looking at similar documents helpful. This app aims to support women in mediation processes to have access to this information very quickly. We hope it will provide wider inspiration to those seeking imaginative solutions to the conflicts they face, to see the role that women have played. We are also very proud to have collaborated with researchers, practitioners, policy-makers, and tech-experts to develop the app.”

– Professor Christine Bell, Director of the University of Edinburgh’s Global Justice Academy

PeaceFem also includes 30 case studies developed by InclusivePeace and Monash University’s Gender, Peace and Security Centre.

“Gender provisions in peace agreements are major achievements for all parties but what happens to them after agreements are signed? The app provides a snapshot of the implementation challenges and progress for gender provisions in post-conflict settings across the globe. This will empower advocates to monitor commitments and hold states accountable, and gives policymakers the information they need to further target their support.”

– Professor Jacqui True, Director of Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre

“Gender provisions in peace agreements do not come from nowhere - women groups, mediators and their supporters have used different strategies to get them into agreements. PeaceFem provides its users with strategies that are key for getting gender and women provisions into agreements.”

– Thania Peffenholz, Director of Inclusive Peace

“Australia welcomes the launch of the PeaceFem App. We recognise the important role of the App in enabling women’s rights advocates, peace mediation and negotiation teams, and other practitioners to support the Women, Peace and Security agenda. We also note the innovative, adaptive and far-reaching nature of the tool. This is particularly important at a time when COVID-19 has impacted almost every aspect of our lives and limited our lines of communication.  We are pleased to have contributed to the research behind the App through our partnership with the Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre and its 'Towards Inclusive Peace' project, which mapped gender provisions in peace agreements.  The PeaceFem App will provide direct, practical support to those who need it.  Australia takes seriously our commitments to the WPS agenda, and continues to support initiatives that promote the participation of women in conflict prevention and conflict resolution.”

– Madeleine Oliver, Policy Officer, Australian Mission to the United Nations, New York, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

For further information, visit www.politicalsettlements.org/peacefem.

PeaceFem is available in the Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=app.trigyn.PeaceFem

It is also available on the App Store: https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/peacefem/id1520152849

The app was launched on Tuesday 30 June in a seminar at 13:00 BST.

Flyer for app launch