WOMEN’S ALLIANCE FOR SECURITY LEADERSHIP

Preventing Extremism by Promoting Rights, Peace & Pluralism

 

The Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL) brings together existing women rights and peace practitioners, organizations, and networks actively engaged in preventing extremism and promoting peace, rights and pluralism, to enable their systematic and strategic collaboration.

‘Wasl’ means to ‘connect’ in Arabic, Urdu and Persian.

Our Core Values

  • Nonviolence and active support of positive inclusive peace;
  • Pluralism, social cohesion, equality, and non-discrimination;
  • Social, political, and economic justice;
  • Adherence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
  • Transforming gendered power relations to realize equality and rights;
  • Amplifying community voices and building a progressive majority;
  • Building on the history and legacy of women’s activism and leadership;
  • Mutual empowerment, support, and respect for others’ experiences and avoiding duplication of work.

“Women’s rights activists are the longest-standing socially-rooted, transnational groups mobilizing for peace, countering rising extremism, and providing an alternative vision for the future.”

— WASL founding statement

Our Approach

We cultivate vertical, horizontal and diagonal connections

Vertical Connections
  • Facilitate access for national and grassroots women-led organizations to engage substantively in the international countering violent extremism (CVE) debate by collating their perspectives on critical issues (e.g. security, economics, education) and publishing policy papers. This includes information sharing and analyses from the ground to increase knowledge of the gender dimensions of violent extremism with a focus on solutions to root causes and contributions to preventative action.
  • Link women’s networks, practitioners, and organizations more effectively to governmental processes, enabling them to share lessons learned and shape state and multilateral policies and programs based on ground realities and needs.
  • Develop shared, conceptually-sound solutions to challenges the security-oriented approaches and narratives of existing CVE policies and programs.
  • Avoid duplication of efforts and provide a means of coordination and mutual development and support based on a division of labor and core strengths among INGOs, government, and multilateral organizations.
Horizontal Connections
  • Provide opportunities to enable the sharing of strategies and lessons learned across countries between grassroots, national civil society actors, and regional and international activists/organizations facing similar manifestations of extremism, including “know-how” and good practices for scaling up successful and promising initiatives.
  • Ensure allocation of resources to support innovative solutions locally and internationally in a range of spheres — notably practical community-based work, messaging and communications, production of knowledge, etc.
  • Connect existing women-led organizations and resource persons working on extremism and promoting peace to deepen solidarity and strengthen their impact.
  • Initiate country-focused public surveys and other efforts to tap into the aspirations of potentially vulnerable populations and use that data to articulate a coherent and realistic alternative vision with attention to improvements in education, justice, economic, and other human security policies.
Diagonal Connections
  • Include and reach out to other sectors – notably arts and culture, journalism, religious communities, the private sector, and governmental agencies to echo and amplify the voices and perspectives emerging from women’s organizations.
  • Draw on each sector and organization’s unique competencies to ensure innovative mass outreach and build wider public participation in disseminating the vision, values, and messages of WASL members.

Publications

Invisible Women: Gendered Dimensions of Return, Rehabilitation and Reintegration from Violent Extremism

The joint United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) publication, Invisible Women: Gendered Dimensions of Return, Reintegration and Rehabilitation report contributes a gendered analysis of approaches to the disengagement, rehabilitation and reintegration of women and girls associated with violent extremism. It highlights the gaps in current policies and practice, as well as the solutions that are emerging in part from the experiences and innovations of women-led civil society initiatives. The report concludes with practical recommendations for policymakers and programming guidance for practitioners.

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Bringing Peace to Yemen by Having Women at the Table

What the U.S. Must Do and Why It Matters A Policy Brief in the 2016-17 U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace and Security Policy Brief Series by Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, Rasha Jarhum, Rana Allam, and Devin Cowick. As a critical member of the coalition...

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WASL Videos

Updates

Afghan Women Six Point Agenda for Moscow Peace Talks

“We, the women of Afghanistan, believe that our Afghan male allies on the peace negotiation table can work with us to make sure that the peace that we so desperately need can be achieved and sustained.” Read Afghan Women Six Point Agenda for Moscow Peace Talks

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Reflections on the Anniversary of 1325: How Do Women Define Security?

A global survey of women’s experiences of security is a starting point to including women’s perspectives, community networks, activism and expertise in the mainstream debate and informing the dominant narrative about what security is and “how” to do security. A sample of WASL experts in women, peace, and security piloted this survey and the preliminary results are outlined in this article.

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90 Partners, 29 Countries from Nigeria to Norway, Mexico to Tajikistan

“One thing is guaranteed: our vision for a future of peace, justice, dignity, rights, pluralism, and prosperity for all is possible. ”

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