A five-year effort, together with the State Department and Kroc Institute, to build truly equitable partnerships with women peacebuilders
Policy initiatives that exclude half of the population are likely to fail. Yet this is often how peace works, with women barred from key discussions and decisions. At UN-brokered negotiations, just 23 percent of participants are women—even though negotiations that involve women are 35 percent more likely to last through 15 years.
The challenge is not just a seat at the table. Despite stereotypes and scarce resources, women-led organizations are often the vanguard of peace, with trust built through steady work. Yet even supportive donors can exclude women from key strategy decisions. Globally, we know that gender equality ties to lower rates of infant mortality and higher GDPs. What would truly equitable partnerships look like, with women-led groups treated as full partners, not just end-of-the-line implementers?
SHE WINS rest on three pillars: high-impact projects, rapid funding, and policy power
In Nov. 2022, activists from Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR), and Uzbekistan joined with top State Department officials, as well as Anita Bhatia, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, to launch the Rapid Response Fund.
Our vision is simple: include women, change everything. Supporting Her Empowerment: Women’s Inclusion for New Security (SHE WINS) is a global five-year program that channels support to women peacebuilders—relying on funding from the U.S. State Department (Office of Global Women’s Issues) and collaboration with the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice. The program ties to the President’s Leadership Summit for Democracy, where leaders from 102 countries charted a course for inclusive policy.
Equitable partnership is the driving theme of SHE WINS. At Search for Common Ground, with nearly 90 percent of staff based in their home country, we see good reason to work with those most affected by violent conflict. Spanning the world, SHE WINS pairs local projects with global networks so we can integrate women activists, share lessons, and shift institutions to a more inclusive dynamic.
SHE WINS rest on three pillars:
High-impact projects: We partner with women-led or women-serving organizations who are operating at pivotal moments—whether the closure of political space, the fresh start of negotiations, or a chance to step into leadership roles.
Rapid funding: Backed by the State Department, we are administering a multi-million dollar Rapid Response Fund. This mechanism offers funding up to $250,000 to groups that otherwise would struggle to access aid, with a streamlined process to seize urgent opportunities. Interested organizations and activists can apply through this link.
Policy power: We work through global networks and partners to advance women-led organizations as equitable partners. Our goal is to shift the under-resourced, overlooked reality that many groups face today.