Sophie Wessex could have 'never envisaged the conflict she's seen'

Sophie Wessex says she could have ‘never envisaged the conflict she’s seen’ and the world ‘desperately needs to listen to women and girls’ as she pens article calling for more female peacemakers

  • Countess of Wessex has penned an article paying tribute to the work of women 
  •  Sophie explained that the world ‘desperately needs to listen to women and girls’ 
  • Wife of Prince Edward, 55, said women and girls around the world have face increased domestic violence due to coronavirus pandemic

The Countess of Wessex has penned an article paying tribute to the work of women peacebuilders internationally, after saying she wants to ‘give a voice to women who are being denied their fundamental rights’.

Sophie, 55,  who is married to Prince Edward, 56, wrote an article for The Telegraph today saying ‘there are no magic words when it comes to negotiating peace’.

The mother-of-two, who is currently living at Bagshot Park in Surrey with Prince Edward and their children, Lady Louise Windsor, 16, and James Viscount Severn, 12, added that she could ‘have never envisaged conflict’ in places such a Sierra Leone and South Sudan if she hadn’t seen it herself. 

The Countess of Wessex has penned an article paying tribute to the work of women peacebuilders internationally, saying she wants to ‘give a voice to women who are being denied their fundamental rights’. She is pictured meeting with peacemakers before the pandemic

In the piece, Sophie acknowledged that her work seems ‘a far cry’ from lives of most people in the UK and she can understand why it’s ‘hard to think of it as a priority’ in during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

But she adds: ‘Women and girls around the world have shared experiences of the pandemic: increased domestic violence, greater childcare responsibilities, lack of access to good education, little to no justice or accountability for sexual and genderbased violence’.

‘In a world that desperately needs women to be listened to, now more than ever we must do as much as possible to drive the objectives of this resolution forward,’ she added.

Sophie, who champions putting women at the centre of conflict resolution in war-torn states wrote:  ‘Any and every negotiation will be fraught and difficult, requiring enormous patience and effort from all sides, open minds, a willingness to concede, but above all the desire to find peace. 

‘Including women in the process is essential and means a greater chance of sustained peace. Who wouldn’t want that?’   

Sophie, 55, who is married to Prince Edward, 56, wrote an article for The Telegraph today saying ‘there are no magic words when it comes to negotiating peace’. She is pictured meeting peacemakers before the pandemic 

During lockdown, Sophie has convened meetings of women peacebuilders to discuss their work to resolve conflicts both within communities and at a governmental level in both the UK and India.

Recently, she carried out a virtual tour of a community centre for refugees and asylum seekers in Libya.

On Wednesday, the royal joined a virtual round-table with female peacebuilders in the country who spoke about their experiences and objectives for the UN-led Libyan peace process, following the recent ceasefire announcement. 

For the last two years Sophie, a former PR executive, has been working to support the UN’s Women, Peace and Security agenda, which acknowledges the disproportionate impact of conflict on women and girls, and promotes the role women play in building sustainable peace and stability. 

The Countess of Wessex, pictured second from right on the bottom row, 55, joined MP James Cleverly, left of Sophie, for a virtual round-table with women peace-builders in Libya on Wednesday

Sophie, pictured in July, met some of the women who have received medical and psychological support from the community day centre in Tripoli

In the article she explains that today is the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, which she describes as  a ‘critical reminder’ that women ‘still face exclusion from peace negotiations’.  

The royal family also marked the occasion on their Instagram page, sharing a series of still of The Countess of Wessex, adding the caption: ‘Did you know, evidence shows that peace will last on average a further 15 years if women are at the negotiating table?’

The Countess also highlighted women in Kashmir, who are bringing people together to discuss the pandemic and build peace, and in Yemen, where women are training young medics to deal with Covid-19.

The royal family also marked the occasion on their Instagram page, sharing a series of still of The Countess of Wessex, adding the caption: ‘Did you know, evidence shows that peace will last on average a further 15 years if women are at the negotiating table?’ 

The Women, Peace and Security agenda is a United Nations Initiative that aims to put more women at the centre of conflict resolution, and encourage women’s meaningful participation in peace processes. It also recognises the disproportionate impact of conflict on women and girls around the world. Find out more here.

The Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative is a UK Government-led initiative that aims to raise awareness of the extent of sexual violence in situations of armed conflict, and encourage and rally global action to end it. Find out more here.

The Countess of Wessex announced her commitment to champion both on International Women’s Day in 2019. 

In front of assembled women peacebuilders at Buckingham Palace, Her Royal Highness said:  ‘As someone who firmly believes in the equality of men and women, I feel drawn to your cause and to do what I can to help raise further awareness of your work.   

‘To help give voice to women and girls who are being denied their fundamental rights as humans and are being subjected to harm and violence as a result of conflict, to promote those who seek to play a part in finding peace, and to support others as they attempt to rebuild their lives

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