Women’s Voices in Foreign Affairs and International Security
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Women’s Voices in Foreign Affairs and International Security
13 May @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
On March 29, the United Nations adopted Security Council Resolution 2367 on sexual violence in conflict. Questions have been raised, however, over the omission of language regarding sexual and reproductive health following opposition from the United States on grounds that such language implies support for abortions. It has become increasingly important to shed light on the role of women in foreign affairs and international security. How are women’s voices able to aid in the prevention of conflict, the gathering of intelligence, and the strengthening of peace keeping efforts and sustainable development? As institutional attention to sexual violence in armed conflict grows and develops, what role do women have to play in understanding and preventing violence on a global scale?
By kind invitation of Baroness Goudie, the Henry Jackson Society is delighted to invite you to join a timely discussion on women’s voices in foreign affairs and international security.
H. E. Ms. Saida Muna Tasneem arrived to London in November 2018 to take up her appointment as High Commissioner for Bangladesh to the Court of St. James’s. she has taken up responsibility as Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK, Ireland and Liberia on 30th November 2018. She has also been appointed as Bangladesh’s Permanent Representative to the IMO. Prior to this, Ms. Tasneem was the Bangladesh Ambassador to Thailand and Cambodia and Bangladesh’s Permanent Representative to the UNESCAP from 2014-2018. Back home, she headed the United Nations Wing as well as the a Director General at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2010-2014. She also served as DG (External Publicity) of the Ministry in 2009. Earlier Ms. Tasneem served as Minister (Political and Press) at the Bangladesh High Commission in London and as Deputy Head of Mission and Counsellor at the Bangladesh Permanent Mission to the United Nation in New York.
Lucy Fisher is defence correspondent at The Times and before that was chief political correspondent at the paper. She has previously worked for The Sunday Times and written for the Observer, New Statesman and Times Literary Supplement. A past winner of the Anthony Howard Award, she has also published her first book “Emily Wilding Davison: The Martyr Suffragette”. She is a regular broadcaster on the BBC and Sky News.
Nikita Malik is the Director of the Centre on Radicalisation and Terrorism (CRT) at the Henry Jackson Society. She is an internationally recognised expert on countering violent extremism, terrorism, and hate-based violence, with a focus on youth deradicalisation. In her role, she has worked with key policy makers and government departments in the UK and globally. A key component of Nikita’s work focuses on the propagation of extremist material online, including on social media platforms and the Darknet. Her research has put forward a number of solutions to foster engagement between UK government policymakers and technology companies.
Baroness Goudie is a Labour member of House of Lords of the United Kingdom. In 1998, she was made a life peer as Baroness Goudie, of Roundwood in the London Borough of Brent. She is on the board of Vital Voices and is involved in promoting gender equity with both the G8 and G20. Goudie is a senior member of the House of Lords and also serves on the All-Party Identity Fraud Committee and since 2010 she has been a member of the Committee of Selection. In addition to that, Goudie is Chair of the Women Leaders’ Council to Fight Human Trafficking at UN Gift.
On 13 May, the Henry Jackson Society hosted an event on “Women’s Voices in Foreign Affairs and International Security”. Baroness Goudie chaired the event during which H. E. Ms. Saida Muna Tasneem and Nikita Malik, Director of the Centre on Radicalisation and Terrorism at the Henry Jackson Society, were invited to share their opinion.
Her Excellency Saida Muna Tasneem started by citing some examples of female role-models such as Jacinda Ardern or Margaret Wallaström. She highlighted the fact that, currently, there are twenty-six foreign ministers in this world who are women and that, if one compares to the situation six years ago, it is a very bright picture. There is a considerable increase in the number of women in the positions of parliament staff, defence ministers, home affairs ministers, etc.
Her Excellency then focused on the case of Bangladesh, where the Prime Minister Sheik Hasina has really made “a difference in trying to resolve conflicts and enhance peace-building later on”. The latter has resolved boundaries issues by peaceful means, has received a UNESCO peace award, and supported girls’ education. Her Excellency Saida Muna Tasneem also noted that Bangladesh now represents the second largest troop contributing country to the UN peace-keeping operations and has contributed to the UN with the first all-women formed police. Eventually, she also insisted on the help offered to Rohingya refugees, many of whom are women who have faced gender-based violence.
Nikita Malik, speaking about the United Nations, highlighted the evolutions of its resolutions over time with a systematic effort concerning the use of terms such as sexual violence in conflict, victims of trafficking, protecting women, and protecting children. She underlined the importance of offering women special care in areas of conflicts. She, however, noted that, even though there has been a systematic approach to changing the way we are thinking about these ideas, one can question how successful this has really been.
Ms Malik also raised the question of who was studying what is happening to the victims in the long-term, the level of care that they have been given and the efficiency of the help. She cited the example of Nadia Murad who, as a Yazidi woman, was subject to a horrifying ordeal by the Islamic State. Nikita Malik reminded that listening to these women’s stories is of the utmost importance in order to prevent history from repeating itself.
Nikita Malik then highlighted a suggestion she had made in the past about the ability for the UK and the US to ensure that any evidence that is collected after a massive genocide – like the one that happened to the Yazidi people under the Islamic State – were actually used to give the victims the justice they deserve. Ms Malik also advocated in favour of including men in the conversation and then reminded the audience that it is necessary to have women as frontline workers as well.
The panellists then answered the questions raised by the audience.
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