By: Priya Swyden

What is the kernel of the issue?

The Women, Peace and Security Agenda (WPS) establishes the critical connection between women’s equality and broader security and stability. The Biden administration will encounter both traditional and non-traditional security threats, all of which also pose challenges to the security of women and girls around the world.

Why is the issue important?

Despite the WPS Act of 2017, US progress on global gender equality has been inconsistent at best. If more tangible and comprehensive progress isn’t made, this would threaten the basic human rights and safety of women in fragile contexts, widen the global gender gap, and undermine women’s ability for full and meaningful participation in society, politics, and peace efforts. It also would indicate to allies and authoritarian states that America isn’t serious about gender equality. 

At home, a failure to advance WPS would create blind spots in national security and narrow our range of threat perception, especially of non-traditional security challenges. Women’s inclusion is integral to effective security policy—limiting women limits possibilities for long lasting, sustainable peace.

What is the recommendation?

The Biden Administration should publicly commit to prioritizing the WPS agenda, both domestically and abroad. This requires stepping up a whole-of-government approach to WPS, appointing a Special Representative on Women, Peace and Security to coordinate cross-cutting policy, and revamping the action plans for implementation in the Departments of State, Defense, Homeland Security, and USAID. President Biden should also engage in meaningful conversations with women-led civil society organizations, incorporating their insights across different issue sets.   Pursuing further implementation of WPS will better secure the Biden Administration’s chances to build America back as a prominent global leader.