Measuring Progress on Women's Inclusion, Justice, and Security

Thursday, November 2, 2017
The female Special Task Force (STF) members looks up as they watching the sky divers at a demonstration during the 151st Sri Lanka's Police anniversary in Colombo, Sri Lanka September 7, 2017. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte
Kåre R. Aas

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Royal Norwegian Embassy

Jeni Klugman

Managing Director, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security


Douglas Dillon Senior Fellow and Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program, Council on Foreign Relations

In the aftermath of the passage of the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017, Ambassador Aas and Dr. Klugman join us for a discussion about the first ever global index bridging both women’s inclusion and access to justice, as well as security. Dr. Klugman shares important findings, drawing on the Women, Peace, and Security Index, developed by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security and the Peace Research Institute of Oslo, which ranks 153 countries covering over 98 percent of the world’s population. The discussion explores how this new index and results provide opportunities for stakeholders to make progress on women’s inclusion, justice, and security. This meeting is part of our New Strategies for Security roundtable series and is generously supported by the Compton Foundation. 


VOGELSTEIN: Welcome to the Council on Foreign Relations. My name is Rachel Vogelstein. I lead the Women in Foreign Policy Program here at CFR, which analyzes how elevating the status of women and girls advances U.S. foreign policy objectives, including prosperity and stability. I’d like to begin by thanking Ellen Friedman and Hanni Hanson of the Compton Foundation for their leadership and their support for the Council’s work, including our session today.

This morning we meet to discuss women and security. Our conversation follows the recent enactment of the landmark Women Peace and Security Act of 2017, a new U.S. law recognizing a critical strategy to advance peace and stability that is too often overlooked, the inclusion of women. This law reflects a recognition that countries are more peaceful and prosperous when women are accorded full and equal rights and opportunity. The law also builds on a growing policy framework, chiseled over the past two decades to improve security by advancing women’s participation from the passage of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325 in 2000, to commitments to women’s participation and inclusive security in the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals.

As we begin implementation of this new U.S. law and continue international efforts to fulfill the promise of 1325, how can we measure progress against this security agenda? Which countries have made strides in improving women’s inclusion, justice and security? Which countries have not? And where are the opportunities to accelerate the pace of change? Last week the Peace Research Institute of Oslo, or PRIO, and the Georgetown Institute on Women, Peace, and Security released a new Women Peace and Security Index that helps to answer these questions. For the first time, this index bridges insights from gender and development indices with those from peace and security frameworks. And it creates a comprehensive measure of women’s inclusion, justice, and security by which we can evaluate progress.

Today we are very privileged to host two distinguished experts to talk about this new tool. First, we welcome the ambassador of Norway, who has served in his current role since 2013. Previously, from 2008 to 2010, he served as Norway’s ambassador to Afghanistan. He was the director general in the foreign ministry’s department for security policy in the high north, where his portfolio included the bilateral relationships between Norway and the United States, as well as Russia and Central Asia. Throughout his career, he has chaired several international groups to advance nuclear disarmament and international peacekeeping operations. Ambassador, it’s a privilege to host you. Welcome.

We are also very pleased to welcome Dr. Jeni Klugman, the principal author of the Women, Peace, and Security Index we’ll discuss this morning. Jeni is the managing director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security. She is a fellow in the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of government. She previously served as the director for gender and development at the World Bank. And she is the lead author of three human development reports published by UNDP. Jeni, thank you for being here.

I’ll start with a few questions for both of our speakers, and then open the floor to your comments.

Jeni, let’s begin by talking about what brings us here today, the index. Why did PRIO and Georgetown create this new tool? Tell us what precisely it evaluates. And how is what you’ve produced here different from other measures of women’s participation or other measures of security?

KLUGMAN: Thank you, Rachel. And thank you for hosting us here today, and for the ambassador for joining us. And I’d also like to thank Norway and the Bank of America Charitable Foundation for supporting the work.

The index is a new tool which is designed to accelerate progress on the agenda of women, peace, and security. And we’re very happy that it’s now ready for primetime. And we’re very much hoping that the index will be useful in your work and that you’ll all leave the room as excited as we are, and as ambassadors as well for the new index.

So let me just start with the motivation. Why was the new index needed? Many of you would know that there’s a growing number of gender indices. For example, many of you would be familiar with the World Economic Forum’s annual ranking. The United Nations Development Program publishes gender indices in its human development report.

But we reviewed all the existing indices very carefully. And there are—there are probably about a dozen or so. And we realized that there’s a major gap. Gender indices are typically limited to aspects related to, for example, whether or not girls finish schools, whether or not women are working. These aspects of inclusion are very important, but they’re surely incomplete in an absence of an understanding about security. For example, focusing on girls’ schooling if they’re not safe at home and in their community.

Likewise, if we look at traditional measures of security, there’s a whole array of conflict indicators included there. Dozens, sometimes scores, of indicators that they invariably miss the gender dimensions. So no index before has brought together the aspects of women’s inclusion and justice and security into a single number. And in that sense, it really is a major innovation.

So what do we measure? Broadly speaking, three dimensions of women’s wellbeing: inclusion, justice, and security. Inclusion has multiple aspects. And I’ll go shortly into the criteria that we use to select the indicators that were ultimately chosen. But what we wanted to do was to recognize the multidimensionality of inclusion. So it has economic, political, as well as social aspects. So the indicators that you can see here—and I’m happy to talk about these in more detail—extend from, if you like, conventional ones, like education and employment, through more innovative aspects like financial inclusion, having access to a cellphone, as well as parliamentary representation.

On the justice side, we were concerned about capturing not only formal justice—and that’s measured in terms of legal discrimination. And here, we drew on the World Bank’s Women, Business, and the Law. But also, informal justice, adverse norms which affect and constrain the ways that women and girls are able to exercise even their formal rights in the society. And here, we drew on two measures. One, a measure of discriminatory norms, which we drew from the Gallup. And the specific question is: Do you think it’s acceptable for women to work outside the home? And you’d be surprised, or possibly not surprised, that the share of men disagreeing with that proposition ranges as high as, I think, 73 percent, for example, in Pakistan.

The other measure that we included here was son bias, which is not—clearly not an issue in all countries, but a major challenge in some important countries around the world. And then finally, on the security dimension, here we decided to focus not only at the level of kind of generalized insecurity or organized violence—although that is included—but also insecurity in the home and insecurity in the community. For insecurity in the home we chose intimate partner violence, which is by far the most common form of violence suffered by women around the world. And we use measures of lifetime intimate partner violence, again which range as high as almost 80 percent in Angola.

For safety in the community, the specific indicator here is whether or not you feel safe walking your neighborhood at night. And then finally, on organized violence, we drew on the Uppsala measure that many of you would be familiar with. That’s regarded at the gold standard among conflict experts. We acknowledge that it has shortcomings from a gender perspective. The numbers are not gender disaggregated. It doesn’t capture the other repercussions of conflict—for example, heightened levels of maternal mortality associated with conflict. But for the time being, it was the best measure that we had for this.

So finding and choosing indicators in this conflict, clearly the exact measures we’re going to use, is still a challenge, even once we’ve conceptually decided what we would like to measure. So we had several criteria. And those are described in chapter one of the report, as well as in the appendix. But just let me mention a couple of things. One is that we wanted to ground this in the sustainable development agenda. So all of the indicators that we use, you can trace back to the goals and targets and indicators that are included in the SDGs, which are agreed upon by 193 member states. So it has that advantage of having, if you like, the official recognition. We weren’t inventing our own measures of well-being.

And then we had criteria like, for example, actionability, as well as data availability. In the end, with these types of exercises, you need to be a big pragmatic. You need to find indicators that are available for a sufficiently large number of countries. We didn’t want to rely on imputing data, which is often done with these types of indices. So we only did that in very few cases. So in sum, we were able to cover 153 countries around the world, representing over 98 percent of the world’s population. And we’re really hoping that this becomes the go-to global measure for women’s well-being.

VOGELSTEIN: So now we have a picture of what you measured. Talk us through what you found through your analysis. Which are the countries which were the strongest performers on women’s inclusion, on justice, on security, on the three metrics that you had. Which were the countries that lagged behind? Where are the opportunities?

KLUGMAN: So Rachel wants us to cut to the chase. (Laughter.) And when we launched last week at the U.N. we had—you know, you had all of the governments there, you know, flicking through the rankings. (Laughter.) And so this is kind of the snapshot for the top dozen and the bottom dozen. And you can see, obviously, the full ranking in the report. Actually, on the inside cover, we’ve conveniently put it in alphabetical order, so you can find countries without searching through all 153, if you’re not quite sure where the country of interest will fall. And then it’s obviously in rank order at the back as well, including all of the underlying scores as well.

So Iceland heads the index overall in this first edition. The differences, admittedly, among the top dozen are not very large. But Iceland does do well, actually, across all 11 indicators which were included, actually, except intimate partner violence, it doesn’t do particularly well. And one notable aspect, and I think interesting dimension or finding that emerges, is that no countries do universally well across all of the indicators. And on the flipside, no countries do universally badly. So there are bright spots among the poorly performing countries, as well as areas for improvement among those which do relatively well. And then at the bottom end, Syria and Afghanistan are tied for last place.

So this unevenness in results is really quite interesting. So let’s look at the case of the United States, for example. They rank 22nd overall. And actually, the U.S. does quite well across most of the dimensions, but particularly badly on intimate partner violence. And it’s 10 points behind, or worse, than the developed country average for intimate partner violence. And that pulls down its overall ranking. And then when we look at patterns across countries, you can see that there are regional patterns in performance. So on the left-hand side here, these are developed countries. So we’ve grouped those together for convenience. And then on the right-hand side we have the group of fragile states, using the World Bank’s definition of fragile states. And all the rest are kind of conventional geographical regions. So if you’re a fragile state, you’ll appear both in the fragile states group as well as in the regional group. They’re not mutually exclusive.

But there are a couple of points that come out here, which I think is very interesting. And then the line here is the global average, which is 0.662. So there are countries in all regions and all country groups above the global average. So that’s good news. And we use that as a basis to argue that maybe it’s not feasible to reach the levels of Iceland and Norway, but it may well be feasible to reach the levels of your neighbors. So, for example, Namibia in sub-Saharan Africa, Nepal is doing relatively well in South Asia. So it’s interesting to see—and, actually, there are a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa which are above the global average, and a number in Latin America as well.

And then just one other point here I’d highlight in terms of the findings, and there are others but I just want to give you a bit of a taste, is that whilst there is an overall correlation between a country’s ranking and achievements and income per capita—so money matters, but it’s not the whole story. And so here, what this table shows—or, this graph shows, is the comparison of a country’s rank in terms of income per capita and their rank on our index. And so you can see here the red ones—Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq, among others—are ones that are dropping, in the case of Saudi Arabia, 89 places in their ranking relative to their per capita income ranking. So it’s interesting to see that income’s part of the story, but not the whole story. And, on the other hand, countries that do relatively well against the income per capita.

So, of course, what we have here is just a snapshot. It’s limited to what we’re able to quantify in this report. So what we do in the analysis in country spotlights at the end of chapter one and chapter two is have a little bit of a deeper dive into the countries to give more of a sense of the context, what’s driving, what’s happening over time. I think in many ways, we’ve only scratched the surface of the potential analysis. So we’re really excited to be able to deepen that over the months to come, and then to update the index again in two years’ time. Thanks.

VOGELSTEIN: Very interesting results. And I know we’ll have a lot of questions during our discussion on particular regions and countries.

But, Ambassador, I’d like to turn to you to tell us why this is such an important issue. You’ve been a leading proponent of advancing women’s role in security. You’ve said that inclusion is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. Why is women’s participation in this arena so important? And why will measuring progress on women’s inclusion help us advance women’s roles in preventing and responding to conflict, and to implement 1325?

AAS: Thank you, Rachel. And it’s good to be here, among many familiar faces, and friends, and colleagues. And I would also like to congratulate the Council on Foreign Relations for hosting us here today. And also to congratulate Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security for their index and offer cooperation, not just on the index. But today, it’s the index which matters. But I would also like to say that we have been working very, very strongly and efficiently, I would say, with—(inaudible)—and your team and your institute. But also, I would like to recognize also that we are also working very closely with other organizations being represented here this morning. So it’s good to—it’s good to be here.

On your question, Rachel, I would like to say that peace and reconciliation has really been an important priority for Norway for many, many years. And I would also say that in a way it started out by the Oslo peace accord between the Palestinians and the Israelis back in the early 1990s. And since then, we have tried to be helpful. We have tried to be supportive in situations where we have a crisis, where there are conflicts going on, in order to sort of strive to achieve a political settlement. And these days, we are focusing on six countries. One of them is Afghanistan. There’s also Colombia, South Sudan, let’s see, and Myanmar, the Palestinians, and Nigeria.

And what we have learned—and you heard from Rachel that I was posted to Afghanistan between 2008 and 2010. I want to say that Norway really reached out to Taliban, tried to engage them in a political process, long before it was recognized that the conflict in Afghanistan could just be solved politically, and that you couldn’t win the battlefield—on the battlefield. And we were happy to see that recognition. It was also being supported by many, many more countries from, I would say, 2008, 2009, 2010. And that’s good.

I’d also like to say that—and to tell you that when Norway is engaged in peace processes, we are in for a long haul. We are not day traders. We don’t do this for week or two or for a year or two. (Laughter.) We do it for many, many years. And we are still, for example, involved in trying to be helpful to Sri Lanka. And we have been involved for 15 years. We are still involved in the Palestine-Israeli conflict, the Middle East peace process. And, as I said, working also on Colombia and Afghanistan.

What we understood also very early on is that you can’t just have a political dialogue among men. Come on, I mean, that’s not the nature of Norway, I would say, eh? By the way, women are in the three top positions in Norway. They are—the prime minister, she’s a woman. Finance minister is a woman. My new foreign minister, she’s a woman. And I hope to see all three of them here in D.C. very soon. (Laughter.) So next year, yeah? (Laughter.)

VOGELSTEIN: At the Council.

AAS: At the Council. (Laughter.) But my point is that the inclusion of women in peace process, it’s—for a Norwegian, I would say it’s obvious. But what we have also experienced, of course, is that it has been difficult to sort of raise that issue, to raise that topic, and to have a sort of an understanding of why women must be included in sort of solving the crisis. We have been very—I would say, very lucky—not lucky, but successful in Colombia, where the women were integrated, or took part from early on. That’s been more challenging with Afghans. I would say both the government and Taliban, but we are moving forward.

I would also like to say that we also have—are experiencing that—the idea of having an inclusive peace process is being understood by more countries now, and that there is sort of more of an international recognition of why this is important. And so that’s the good—that’s the good story, I would say. And as I said, we are trying to focus on some countries. We are also, in the way we are working now, really making, I would say, efforts in order to increase the knowledge among Norwegian diplomats, but also the civil society with whom they are working, and also, as I said, with insurgents and governments, in order for them to understand that their—why inclusion of women is so important.

So we are also equipping our embassies, but also our partners, in making—in having better tools in order for these to be—these processes to be successful. There’s another element which I think is very, very important also, that’s the that we have to share our lessons, that, for example, when—and now we are engaging directly with Afghan women, and that we are bringing, for example, Afghan women together, discussing their experiences with women from Sri Lanka, and coming around the same table and exchanging views. I think that’s very, very important.

And I will also say that engaging in these sort of political dialogues and reconciliation work is often very hard. It’s hard work and it’s—because sometimes I would say that both—being a Norwegian, sometimes I would perhaps say that we lack the sort of historical and cultural knowledge in having a sort of a fruitful dialogue from the beginning. So we have to learn. And we have to sort of adapt to the situation. It’s often also very—and I remember the first time I raised women’s issues with Taliban in Doha, yeah? It was sort of what is he talking about, eh? (Laughter.) But I mean, by sort of engaging sort of regularly, we have been able, I would say, to push the agenda forward.

And I think along your second question, Rachel, is that the index—I think it’s important in order, also, for my colleagues and myself and others actually working on this on a daily basis to have a better understanding about the countries where we are working, and to really understand what are the structures and how are the sort of—the sort of—the dynamism in each country. And that is why it’s very, very helpful, and also, I think, in sort of concentrating or reinforcing what we are doing.

VOGELSTEIN: You spoke about sharing the lessons and the work that Norway’s doing there. I wonder if you can share some lessons here. You know, there are many experts on this issue around the table and in the room. There is a growing recognition of the importance of having women as part of peace processes. And yet, many of us have experienced a lack of recognition about why this is so important. Can you give us an example of where you see women’s participation in security processes really help advance peace and stability in the work that you’ve done? You know, Norway recently helped mediate the conflict in Colombia, for example, which you just mentioned. Women played a really significant role there. How did women’s inclusion at the table make a difference there, or in some of the other experiences that you’ve led?

AAS: I think, as you said, Rachel, that the Colombia is a very good—the Colombia peace process is a very, very good example. And early on, already back in 2013, Norway facilitated sort of a platform for the Colombian women to get together, but also to identify the sort of—their needs and their priorities. And we also saw that when—sort of when we were in—I mean, when the negotiators, when they were sort of reaching a broader understanding or a compromise, that sort of the women issues or the gender issues was sort of recognized by the top leadership also in negotiating that peace agreement.

And I think that’s—and also, as you know, many of the Colombians participating in the process—or, participating in the fight, and the fight when on for—I mean, the civil war went on for 50 years. And many of the fighters, they were women. And they also had their interest in sort of land questions, land issues. And I think that Norwegians, we are very sort of a practical people, eh? And I think that we understood very early on that in order for the Colombian peace process to be successful, you needed to sort of have a national process. And in that national process, civil society and gender—or, women issues had to be addressed.

We also like to say that—I think that much has been said about—I think it was good that this discussion in the Security Council on Friday. I think that was good. That was a—and, also, a bit back to your question, I also think that, I mean, U.N., as I see it, they really have to allocate more resources to sort of when sort of be engaged in political processes and raising the sort of—the gender issue. I also think it’s important for governments in conflicts also to take a stronger position, and being much stronger advocates for women issues. I think that is lacking.

And I think it’s—and so, in a way, what I’m trying to say, I think, is that we are off to a good start but much more has to be done. And I also think really that you can’t be successful in any, I would say, peace processes if it’s not anchored sort of locally on the ground. And there, I also think that we have some sort of—that more sort of progress needs to be done.

VOGELSTEIN: You mentioned government. And here, in this country, our government recently enacted the Women, Peace, and Security Act, as I mentioned, last month, which for the first time requires a national strategy to advance women’s participation and security efforts. I wonder if you both could just reflect on what the United States should prioritize as it begins to implement this law. There are, you know, congressional champions who will be exerting oversight over this agenda in the United States. What should they be looking for? What would you like to see?

KLUGMAN: Well, clearly the passage of that act is very welcome, together with the imposition of specific legal obligations in terms of reporting and the congressional oversight and so on. And our colleague, Sophie, at the institute has done a very nice kind of legal analysis of the strengths and weaknesses. Clearly the resource question is important—you know, whether or not there are adequate resources, certainly in the context of slashes in funding to the—to the State Department. There’s some uncertainty, I think, about some of—the nature of some of the obligations that may have been watered down.

But I think one of the important insights from the index is the lack of attention to the prevention pillar as part of the WPS agenda. And that’s something that Ambassador Verveer emphasizes very much, that it’s kind of the first but also often the forgotten part. So there’s, you know, the focus on participation. Participation is very important. There’s a focus on sexual violence. Sexual violence is clearly a tragedy and a scourge which needs to be addressed. But thinking about the prevention agenda and the root causes for conflict I think is something which dovetails very closely to the sustainable development agenda, and the sorts of insights, I think, that you can draw from the index, both where things might be going relatively well, but also kind of warning signals where aspects are going badly.

But clearly, where, you know, there’s widespread denial of women’s rights and extreme social and economic marginalization, you know, then progress is not being made on the prevention pillar of the WPS agenda. So that would be something that I would—that I would emphasize, as part of, you know, the overall strategy.

VOGELSTEIN: So a focus on prevention and, importantly, resources. A common theme. Ambassador, your thoughts.

AAS: I think that I sort of associate myself with what Jeni has said. But I also would say that—I mean, documents and strategies are often very important in order to sort of clarify the way forward. I mean, without sort of allocating the sort of necessary resources in order for that strategy to implement, it’s—it need to be more than words, to speak generally. And I also think that sort of the whole agenda related to the Sustainable Development Goals, in order for us to reach those goals, we will have to allocate those resources, in order to fulfil those sort of ambitions.

And then I would say that there—and I think it’s fair to say that there have been some questions related to how committed are my host nations to that agenda. And I think that without sort of the United States being sort of—allocating the necessary resources for this to happen, I mean, it won’t—as I see it, it won’t be possible for the international community to fill that gap.

VOGELSTEIN: So a clear agenda for the administration and also for Congress.

I’d like to open the discussion now to your questions. Please raise your placards, state your name and affiliation, and we’ll get to as many as we can.


Q: My name is Aisha Chowdhry. I’m a senior director at RiceHadleyGates, a consulting firm here in Washington, formerly in government with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and USAID.

I have two questions, if that’s OK. I’ll make them quick. On the best and worst performers index, Pakistan is number four on the bottom dozen. And the first three I can have some understanding as to why they’re there, because these countries are in active conflict. But my understanding is that Pakistan has made some significant inroads in the past few years regarding women’s laws and women’s issues. So I just wanted to ask if there was any more research done on Pakistan.

The second question was on Saudi. They were at the bottom of the second chart that you were—that you were showing, on the money matters chart. And just your thoughts if you’re optimistic about the crown prince’s, Mohammad bin Salman’s sort of overtures to really help bring women into society, starting with their right to drive, and how you see that really impacting their move up this chart. Thank you.

VOGELSTEIN: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

KLUGMAN: So should I answer them?

VOGELSTEIN: That’d be great.

AAS: Sure.

KLUGMAN: So what we have here is a snapshot for a point in time. So it won’t show progress since, say, 1990 or 2000 in any particular country. And Pakistan still does, you know, quite badly across a number of indicators. The one that comes—you know, one of the ones where they perform worst is discriminatory norms. So three quarters of Pakistani men don’t think that women should be working outside the home. And we chose that indicator, A, because it’s important in itself as a measure of women’s access to economic opportunities. But also, it’s probably a proxy for a lot of other discriminatory norms which affect, you know, women’s choice and opportunities. So they do do badly overall. It would be interesting to see how they—how they fare over time.

Q: Can I ask a quick question? What about access to education? Where there any questions regarding that?

KLUGMAN: Well, you can see—yeah, yeah. So it’s all—

Q: Or, what do men in Pakistan think about women being educated?

KLUGMAN: Being educated? I don’t think that question, you know, was asked. Sorry, I can take some of these bilaterally.

Q: No worries. It’s a specific question.

KLUGMAN: But you can—and years of schooling is obviously one there. I think it’s below five years in Pakistan, but I can double check.

On Saudi Arabia, they do particularly poorly relative to their per capita income. They’re a very, very wealthy country. And they have a whole range of discriminatory laws in place. And women have recently been allowed to drive, but they still have scores of discriminatory laws, you know, quite basic measures which constrain women’s choice and opportunities. You know, it’s very much entrenched. And so, you know, clearly we should welcome the recent reforms, but I think there’s still a long way to go.


Q: Hi. I’m Lucia Hanmer from the World Bank.

So I’d like to thank Jeni and the team for presenting this report. I think it’s really valuable. And I think when I look at the countries on the right-hand side, they’re all the countries that the World Bank are engaging with very heavily. And my colleagues here, who are working on gender and fragility aspects of these countries, will find this index very useful, I think. It provides a lot of insight.

So when I was looking at the report, one of the things that struck me was that you have a chart which links the—whether women feel safe in their communities to the prevalence of intimate partner violence at home. I thought that was really important, because it shows the link between, as the ambassador said, between security in the community and security for women’s security and personal security, and lack of agency through gender-based violence.

So I wondered if you wanted to comment on that a big more, and say what more work you think needs to be done in this area so that we can use these findings more generally in our dialogue with clients. And also, were there any other of these sorts of findings, that link community-level aspects of any of the dimensions of your index to women’s disadvantage or discrimination in such a clear way?

KLUGMAN: No, thanks. Thank you, Lucia.

So the figure to which Lucia is referring is on page 44. And that’s a very depressing, but quite clear, correlation between the fact that women who are more likely to suffer abuse at home are also less likely to be safe—feel safe in their communities. So it’s, if you like, a double bind for women in those countries. And I think that there are some important insights that can be gained from further analysis. I’d like to do—we are doing some more work using current rates of intimate partner violence, as opposed to lifetime rates of intimate partner violence. Current rates of intimate partner violence, that’s violence experienced in the last 12 months, is only available for about 70 or so countries. So that’s why we didn’t use it in the index. We didn’t want to have to impute it for the other countries.

But there’s interesting analysis—and we report some preliminary results in the report—about high rates of intimate partner violence in conflict settings. So the overall rates of intimate partner violence are about one-third higher, it seems, or at least one-third higher in conflict-affected countries. And so it’s interesting to see, you know, the other correlates associated with that, whether it’s kind of the normalization of violence and the kind of breakdown of networks and governance in those countries and, you know, what is going on more broadly.

I think there’s a lot that could be done looking at some other measures of, if you like, discrimination and unbundling some of the aspects that we have here, and investigating that both kind of globally and regionally, but also at the country level. So I think there are possibilities as well in larger countries to see kind of what’s going on, because clearly in many places there’ll be differences across communities and so on. Thanks.


Q: Good morning and thank you so much for these extremely interesting presentations. And thank the Council on Foreign Relations, Ambassador Aas and Dr. Klugman. I think this is a—I’m also with the World Banks Group on Fragility Conflict, and Violence. And I previous served with the Swedish government.

I think this is a commendable initiative. And this is an important milestone in the work on the women, peace, and security agenda. And it’s clear that you have picked the most robust available indicators. And the universal approach is also, I think, very good as well. I was part in the 2013 negotiation. And we were talking a lot about sort of measurements and you measure what you treasure, and the availability of data. And we shouldn’t let data stop us, basically.

So I would like to ask you two questions. And the first one is, you know, what kind of indicators would you actually like to have that you don’t have available data on right now? On inclusion? Maybe more refined organized violence indicators? We know that there is a male bias when you look only at battle-related deaths, because these are essentially deaths resulting from clashes between armed factions, mostly consisting of male participants.

So that is the first question, what sort of dream indicators would you like to see the international community invest in? And the second one has to do with politics. And the proportion of women parliamentarians is, of course, a very—one very good indicator. But I’m wondering, for these—for countries in conflict, maybe political or peace processes or transition processes would be sort of the major political context to look at. And whether you are considering doing maybe sub-data set on ongoing peace processes and the level of women inclusion there.

Thank you.

VOGELSTEIN: So data gaps. What is our research agenda, Jeni?

KLUGMAN: So, how long do you have? (Laughter.) No, I mean, I think we’re all aware that—well, I think there’s been a lot of progress in the area. Certainly, much greater recognition than in the past. But still, enormous gaps. So let me just highlight what I think are the main ones.

I think the political one is serious. So we use the IPU, Interparliamentary Union Conventional Indicator, women in national parliament. It’s very inadequate. We—you know, there’s been discussion for some time of a least having the indicator of women in local government, which I think would be interesting in many ways. That was supposed to come about when I was at the human development report which is, you know, now almost a decade ago. It still doesn’t exist. But that would be something that would be very interesting. I think that your point about looking at women in peace processes is very interesting. And we actually—my contact—my colleague, Anjali Dayal, who’s doing some very interesting work on that now.

So there may be some ways in which we can use some of the insights from that work, and also the very good work that—can I advertise—that the Council is doing—(laughter)—on kind of tracking the participation of women in peace process, which I think will also be a fabulous resource. So I think that there’s ways that we can be—and we had an emphasis here on the universality of the indicators. But I think that doesn’t—that doesn’t preclude doing more interesting work looking at these aspects in greater detail.

Just let me mention a couple more issues on—in terms of the data. For economic inclusion we have several indicators. But one of the basic ones is women’s employment. That doesn’t take into account the quality of employment, earnings gaps, and so on. But we don’t have good data on earnings gaps. So we couldn’t—we were unable to use that, again, in a—in a universal index. And I mentioned in particular about intimate partner violence, that we’re relying on lifetime rates, because that’s available for many more countries. But clearly that doesn’t change very fast.

So I think there’s a lot that we can do. We’re in discussions as well with—we’re hoping to coordinate with, you know, folks who are really pushing this agenda forward, like Data2x and Equal Measures and so on. And, clearly, we’re open to improvement over time. So we’re not wedded to these. I mean, there’s an advantage to having some continuity, but certainly if new data becomes available that’s much better, including new indicators, you know, then we’d be prepared to adapt.


AAS: I just have one comment on the data, on peace processes. And I think that’s—it’s very—it’s very good if that could be achieved. At the same time, I think that it’s important also to know that—or, to recognize that many of these peace processes, they are very confidential, at least the one’s Norway’s doing. And so we sort of—there is a—I mean, in order for the processes to be successful, you don’t—you can’t sort of have knowledge about the—anyway, at least initially, what’s going on. And I think now Norway is probably engaged in 15 different peace processes. And we are transparent about two or three of them, right? (Laughter.) So, but I mean, and you could call back some of those data in engaging with those sort of organizing or facilitating, yeah, those dialogues. Thank you.

VOGELSTEIN: That’s an important limitation and one that we’ve grappled with in the work we’ve done here at the Council. And as Jeni alluded to, later this afternoon the Council will release the first-ever digital visual representation of women’s participation in peace processes, covering every major peace negotiation from 1990 until the present. So it’s the most comprehensive data set available. It also helps visualize the participation of women in every single one of these major peace processes. So you can literally see the underrepresentation of women. And we have it sorted by region, by country, by timeframe. So there’s really a lot of ways to look at the data that we’ve worked on, which I think will be highly complementary to the data we’re talking about here today. And of course, we will follow up with all of you with that additional resource after our session today.

Question over here, please.

Q: My name is—my name is Mohammad (sp), from Egypt. I’m a prosecutor. And we have been working to include more women in Egypt’s judiciary. As of right now we are at, like, 1 or 2 percent.

And my question is for you, Mr. Ambassador. You talked about Taliban, when you approached Taliban to ask to talk about women empowerment and women rights, and they were surprised somehow. And it seems in most Muslim communities at the moment there are many rules and many obstacles against more improvement of the rights and protection when it comes to domestic violence and sexual abuse. Do you think that Islamists and conservative in most Muslim countries are willing to open more—to more friendly policies towards women? Like, for instance, in my country, we have one rule in the penal law that mentions that a man can beat his wife based on to discipline her, and that stems from the Sharia. Do you think at one point those Muslim countries will be able to adopt more open policies and more, like, protective policies towards women? Thank you.

VOGELSTEIN: Ambassador?

AAS: That’s a tough question. And I’m not a specialist on Muslim countries. I’ve just lived in one. And I’m not sure whether my—sort of my experience from sort of engaging with Taliban is sort of adaptable to other countries.

But I think that the way Norway is approaching this issue is really through education. And my prime minister, she has made it her sort of priority issues, is to sort of to be a spokeswoman or more of sort of an international player in order for more girls to have education. And I think that the more girls who gets—goes through the educational system, being that in Western countries or Muslim countries or in others—I think that the possibilities for—to sort of raise awareness about women and gender issues will increase, to the better. And that is also one of the reasons why she had that focus.

When I was in Afghanistan, during the two years I was there, we build a hundred schools, primary schools, for girls to get their education. And so I think that’s the way forward. But to your questions, or sort of where I stand is really that I hope I could answer yes to your question, that that’s what’s going to happen. But at the same time, we see that—and also this index shows that, I mean, there are many hurdles and many challenges in order to have a better sort of society in general. Thank you.

VOGELSTEIN: I want to come over to this side of the table.

Q: Thank you. Thanks, Jeni.

I just—so, on the one hand, I think the idea of having a report card and the ranking of countries is great, because countries like to see where they are, you know, that kind of creates competition. And I think the linking to the SDGs is also useful. But I would also note a word of caution, that this agenda is about fragile—I mean, it was about what happens to women in fragile states and in conflict settings. And so we mustn’t lose that focus. And the focus on—when we talk about participation, when you don’t have a state or when the state is absent, that organizing that happens below the surface that is very hard to quantify. So you need a qualitative approach to women’s organizing. And then work at the community level.

So I think that’s one area that we need to be looking at. And correlating that with the OECD data that shows, on the one hand, that women’s organizations or women’s movements are a primary engine of change. On the other hand, 0.1 percent of gender equality funding goes to women’s organizations. And in conflict settings, it’s 0.012 percent of funds. So it’s nothing. It’s nothing, right, to the people that are doing the work. And those are the folks that I work with in our alliance.

But I wanted to come to the point about the data—sort of where the data comes from, because it’s sort of—and I was struck by the fact that Iran, my home country, was actually now placed in South Asia. I didn’t know we were in South Asia, but that’s fine.

KLUGMAN: We used the U.N. Women grouping.

Q: I know. We get moved around between West Asia and the Middle East and so forth. But to find that Nepal is doing better than Iran on any of these indicators is quite surprising, because if you go on—I mean, if you go there, you would find that it’s just—you know, I’ve been to both countries, and I’ve traveled to both countries, and I’ve worked on issued. And what I found in Nepal specifically was, when I was working with UNFPA, was that they discovered that a lot of the data that was coming to the government—for example, on reproductive health care, on access—was basically false data.

So it was—there was a guy sitting and making up numbers about how many—how much reproductive health care services had been—had been distributed. But they actually hadn’t been distributed effectively. There was no tracking. And people were finding—UNFPA volunteers were finding that condoms were being used to keep the rain out of people’s houses. So it’s distribution, but for a different purpose.

So the question of the data going in and then coming out—and I remember, at the World Bank meeting somebody said, oh, they have 98 percent coverage of reproductive health care. But coverage of what sort? So this issue of in fragile states, what they—what are we looking at? And how do you, you know, how do you dig down below to really look at the quality and sort of the factors that change because—because, as I say, some of this stuff just may not be true. And when you go to these countries, you see the propriety.

And I would think with Pakistan it’s probably the same thing in terms of the diversity of regions and issues that are going on.

KLUGMAN: No, thanks, Danam (ph). And I think it’s important to think about the complementary qualitative work that is needed. And so it’s interesting to be thinking about the richness of the research agenda and the action agenda moving ahead.

But just on the data sources, if you look at page 55, you can see the sources. So we’ve used U.N., World Bank sources, as well as Gallup data on the attitudinal aspects, and, as I mentioned, the Uppsala database on organized violence.

To avoid I think at least some of the issues that you’re talking about, we’re basically using outcome data rather than kind of services-coverage data. So, for example, it’s population-based data rather than administrative data. So it’s not what the health clinic says, it’s what comes out of a population survey in terms of, for example, you know, a labor force survey, whether or not women have jobs or not.

You know, clearly, there may be issues in particular countries. But I think, you know, in the absence of any alternative and if there is indeed an interest in kind of some degree of global perspective and thinking across countries and it’s necessary to be using the United Nations, World Bank and other databases—which are all available online, they’re very transparent, they’re improved over time, they’re taken very seriously, I think, by the—well, certainly by the governments themselves and the statisticians, and they are revised sometimes.

So, for example, when I was working at the UNDP, we worked quite extensively with statistical offices. And numbers are revised up and down, you know, at various points in time when problems are highlighted.

So I wouldn’t want us to trash the index because we don’t like—because we don’t like the data. I think that, you know, we need to be cognizant of the potential weaknesses that are there, and then to be complementing that with additional data, certainly at the country level where we have better sources available.

VOGELSTEIN: Absolutely. And, of course, the Georgetown Institute has a wealth of qualitative analyses to accompany this new quantitative assessment.


Q: Thank you. Jill Morrison, Georgetown University Law Center.

I was wondering, because I know people love being asked when they finish a major project, when they’re doing it again—(laughter)—when are you doing it again? And how much time do you think it will actually take to see some movement that would make it kind of meaningful for states to know what their progress should be, given a span of years?

KLUGMAN: Well, we’ve committed to do it again in two years, which may or may not be enough time to enable progress. It may enable some improvements on the data side. Some of these things can move quite quickly. The financial inclusion numbers can move quickly, the cell phone inclusion numbers can move quite quickly. You know, norms, attitudes can change relatively or possibly, you know, they can change over time. So we wouldn’t expect to see an enormous amount of movement, but I think it’s good to keep it as current as possible and so that way we can get a, you know, a new picture in advance of some of the major discussions in 2019 and 2020.

VOGELSTEIN: And hopefully a good break before then.

KLUGMAN: Yes. (Laughter.)

VOGELSTEIN: Jackie (sp)?

Q: Hi. Congratulations again, and thanks for this. And I agree completely that a—a more holistic indicator or index is really needed, so thanks for that.

On that note and picking up a bit about what additional indicators would be helpful, I think—I’m sure that had it been available, the proportion of women in security forces would have been something you would want to include, so police and military. And I continue to just find it stunning that we can track things universally like, you know, attitudes and global norms, but we can’t—there’s no centralized, reliable figure of the number of proportion of women in police and military services.

So I’m wondering, for this next round after your break, to whom can we be advocating? Like, who’s the most likely organization or what is the most likely organization that would actually track this? And how can we ensure that that data starts to get captured systematically so that it can be included maybe in the next version or otherwise? Because while we need the qualitative and the rest of it, it seems like one that should be, you know, a real clear basis for self-reporting and maybe one of the idyllic and lowest hanging fruit, next pieces of data that is really important, and I’d argue important to the prevention pillar, to the sexual assault and sexual violence pillar, et cetera.

KLUGMAN: I mean, I don’t really know, but I think U.N. Women could be a good bet because they’re really the custodian of, you know, these kind of pushes, certainly in terms of the improvements in unofficial data and in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals. And maybe they could do some of it together with the ILO, you know, because, in a sense, the ILO actually has quite a lot of data about, for example, the share of women in management—Elizabeth is here—when we worked together on the high-level panel. So there’s a wealth of data that the ILO is systematically collecting.

But, you know, this has never, I don’t think, come across their radar screen, so it might be something. I mean, but on the other hand, official statisticians tend to move quite slowly over time as well. So there’s a lot of inertia, but it might be something that could be pushed. I would say kind of U.N. Women and ILO.

VOGELSTEIN: Ambassador, how does the research and data agenda figure into the larger picture? Is there more that governments can be doing to support this agenda and fill in some of the gaps that have been identified so that the next round has even more?

AAS: I think that government can do much more, but you need that political commitment by governments and by countries. And my—as I see it now is that the Nordic countries, and to a certain extent also the Nordic Baltic countries with some sort of U.K., Netherlands, perhaps also Germany, are countries who have a best sort of understanding of why this is important.

And I also think that—that those countries should sort of continue to lead on that agenda. And I also think that it’s important also to do more within sort of the agency, so the U.N. agencies.

And as Danam (ph) said, I mean, resources are not allocated to this issue, and so much more needs to be done. And I think that we are off to a good start, but comparing this dossier to others, we are lacking behind. And that is why the sort of political consciousness and the political commitment to doing more is so important.

And there, all of you, you are doing a great, great, great effort. But there are still, as you said, a vast space which is not filled, and which I think—which we still all have to work o, and in Norway we will be doing our part. And we are seeing that—what I think is positive is that many countries—now the last country approaching Norway was China. China wants to learn from Norway what we are doing on peace and reconciliation. And that’s good, hopefully it’s good. (Laughter.) I don’t know, I think it’s good.

But also other countries, they are approaching us in order to sort of—because they also see that this is—I mean, doing peace and reconciliation really also open up the doors to discuss other issues, being that in Washington or in London or in Berlin or other places. But we’ll do it, Norway. We’ll do it because we think it is right and we think it’s still the right way to go. And there is no other sort of—many of these crises can only be—as I said, can only be sold politically.

VOGELSTEIN: Well, as a charge for all of us. And while it’s clear there’s a lot of work ahead, there is no doubt that this index and Georgetown and PRIO’s contribution here has really illuminated the path forward.

So please join me in thanking our speakers for being here today. Thank you so much. (Applause.)


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