U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security

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The U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security was adopted when President Barack Obama signed an executive order (Executive Order 13595) on December 19, 2011, 11 years after the United Nations Security Council adopted United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace, and security. It specifies initiatives and activities that will empower and enlist women and girls in efforts to achieve international peace and security.

It was developed by a broad inter-agency group led by White House National Security Council staff which also included representatives from civil society networks. The U.S. NAP contains five objectives outlining the U.S. government's commitments to promoting women's roles in global peace and security: National Integration and Institutionalization, Participation in Peace Processes and Decision-making, Protection from Violence, Conflict Prevention, and Access to Relief and Recovery. The plan also lists outcomes, actions, and responsible agencies for each objective.[1]

To enhance implementation and increase accountability, the plan called for the three main implementing agencies – the Department of State, Department of Defense, and the U.S. Agency for International Development – to submit their own fully funded, time-bound plans for implementation and evaluation. Annual progress reports documenting progress towards achieving the plan's objectives were released in 2013 and 2014.

The U.S. NAP was formally revised in June 2016. The Secretary's Office of Global Women's Issues at the U.S. Department of State leads the oversight and coordination of the NAP and the Department of State’s Implementation Plan.


The Center for Strategic and International Studies hailed it as "unprecedented" and "historic," calling for peace and security professionals to engage in the issue area.[2] The Council on Foreign Relations called it a "neglected issue"[3] and convened a March 2012 roundable to address the issue of women's participation in the foreign policy community. The DC-based nonprofit Inclusive Security tracks the US National Action Plan as part of its National Action Plan Resource Center.[4]

Challenges to implementation[edit]

An August 2012 Implementation Plan set priorities for implementation of the National Action Plan.[5] Full implementation of women, peace, and security objectives put forward by the U.S. National Action Plan has been limited by external challenges ranging from lack of political will among international partners to societal discrimination against women in countries around the world. Internally, several factors have limited the ability of the U.S. government to fully integrate women, peace, and security objectives across all relevant work streams: resource and staffing limitations, insufficient training on gender-sensitive policies and programming, and uneven monitoring and evaluation are challenges to the plan.[6]

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton led the integration of women's issues as a core component of US foreign assistance and foreign policy. When she stepped down in 2012, some questioned whether the gains would be preserved. An opinion piece in POLITICO[7] stated, "The challenges for women are still steep, but they are stepping up to take ownership of their futures like never before. It’s hard to imagine an effective U.S. engagement with the world that does not take this powerful global change into account."

In 2015, a Huffington Post piece[8] on foreign policy in Afghanistan referred to the US National Action Plan, observing, "In the political world, there is often a long distance between words on a page and realities on the ground."

Also in 2015, a New York Times article[9] took President Obama to task for excluding women from regions impacted by violent extremism from a White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, "instead of honoring the U.S. NAP’s commitment to include women leaders."


  1. ^ Hudson, Valerie (2015). The Hillary Doctrine: Sex and American Foreign Policy. Columbia University Press. pp. 191–192.
  2. ^ "The U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security | Center for Strategic and International Studies". www.csis.org. Retrieved 2016-09-06.
  3. ^ "Politics, Power, and Preventive Action » Ask the Experts: Where Are the Women in Foreign Policy?". Retrieved 2016-09-06.
  4. ^ "Inclusive Security | National Action Plan Resource Center". Inclusive Security National Action Plan Resource Center. Inclusive Security. Retrieved 2016-09-06.
  5. ^ "U.S. State Department Implementation Plan" (PDF).
  6. ^ "U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, U.S. Department of State".
  7. ^ "After Clinton, who'll fight for women?". POLITICO. Retrieved 2016-09-06.
  8. ^ Evans, Jodie; Ferris-Rotman, Amie (2015-10-07). "After Over a Decade of Occupation and $1.5 Billion in US Aid, the Reality Facing Women in Afghanistan Has Barely Changed". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-09-06.
  9. ^ Disney, Abigail; Reticker, Gini (2015-09-08). "When it comes to "networks of death," women don't need saving — they are our saviors". The New York Times | Women in the World. Retrieved 2016-09-06.

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