'Equality, Development and Peace' has been a powerful rallying call for feminists and gender equality advocates for several decades as we organised in our communities, national and regional level as well as through civil society networks such as GPPAC - the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict.
The work for peace has often been at great risk - negotiating cease fires, working across political factions and drawing attention to the root causes of violence and conflict.
One would imagine that would be evidence enough not just for women at the table, but women's leadership in the maintenance of peace, in the prevention of violence including during Humanitarian crises including disasters.
Yet despite almost 20 years since the adoption of UNSCR1325 we still have to make do with one woman at the table - if at all! The rhetoric must stop !
The political barriers must be removed !!
That is why, as a global network of peacebuilders, we are holding ourselves accountable to the theme of International Women's Day.
Achieving a "balance for better" means upholding and integrating gender equality in our peacebuilding practice for the realisation of a collective vision for inclusive sustainable development and peace.
In a few months the GPPAC Intenational Steering Group will be asked to recommit to our gender equality agenda as we present the updated Gender Policy. I have to commend the leadership of the core working group led who voluntarily dedicate time across multiple time zones to engage in dialogue and action to update the policy.
Just as we call on political leaders to ensure gender equality is at the heart of the decisions they make, we must also rally together as peacebuilders to contribute to the transformation of structures to bring about peaceful and inclusive communities.
This is why GPPAC is collaborating with several partner organisations to host a side event at CSW63 to bring attention to recommendations from across our network to highlight ways in which the peace, development and humanitarian nexus can work together to remove barriers and accelerate progress for gender equality.
The panel will have a clear message on encouragingi investment in gender-responsive social systems, and build services and infrastructure to meet the needs of womenand girls.
Wherever you are commemorating International Women's Day - first celebrate all that you do and then share the stories so that collectively continue to make the local - global!Change starts with a story.