Truly Historic hearing on Women and Security March 22, 2016

Wednesday, March 23, 2016 4:18 PM | Anonymous

House Holds “Truly Historic” Hearing on Women and Security (U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee)    James F. Smith   •    March 22, 2016 United States

The House Foreign Affairs Committee has held the first-ever hearing by a full congressional panel on the role of women in peace and security. Jacqueline O’Neill, Director of the Institute for Inclusive Security, one of three witnesses, testified that the hearing “put a crucial topic squarely on the agenda of one of the most prominent committees in Congress.”

Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) said in his opening remarks at today’s hearing that the “truly historic panel” was addressing an issue of critical importance. He noted that conflicts raging in Syria, Afghanistan, and Sudan are becoming increasing deadly and disruptive, and extremist violence makes negotiations more important than ever.

“And simply put, when women are at the negotiating table, success is more likely,” Royce said. “Research shows that a peace agreement is more likely to be reached—and is 35 percent more likely to last at least 15 years—when women are involved.”

Finding better ways to secure peace is an urgent need. Several speakers cited the current Syrian peace talks, where women and other civil society representatives are being included, as a promising example amid such terrible suffering.

The ranking Democrat on the committee, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), said women must not be seen only as victims of conflict, but as actors who can play a central role in ending it. He added: “Women are the first to resist violent fundamentalism.”

Joining O’Neill as witnesses were Monica McWilliams, a renowned negotiator and signatory to the Good Friday Agreement who is also a member of Inclusive Security’s Women Waging Peace Network, and Hassan Abbas, professor at National Defense University and a prominent analyst of security issues in South Asia. Betty Bigombe, a Ugandan mediator and peace campaigner famed for negotiating with the Lord’s Resistance Army, submitted written testimony.

Read statements from the hearing:

  Opening Statement of the Honorable Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman

  Testimony by Monica McWilliams

  Testimony by Hassan Abbas

  Testimony by Jacqueline O’Neill

  Link to article/video:



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