Prior to the pandemic — though can anyone really remember a world without it? — Kristen Bell congregated with grassroots feminist activists from 17 different countries in Vienna, Austria, to build a vision for a more inclusive, peaceful world.
The Veronica Mars and Frozen actress was there for a forum convening almost 100 gender equality advocates on Feb. 19 and 20. The mission: to come up with a plan on how to get more women involved in conflict resolution.
We already know that the secret to world peace is women. But Bell was at the Global Women’s Forum for Peace and Humanitarian Action to support the women working to make it happen.
The forum was hosted by the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF) — Bell is a Global Advocate for the United Nations entity — alongside a partnership with the Austrian Development Cooperation and the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders.
It was a busy time for saving the world. Just a few weeks earlier, Bell was waving farewell to the sweary heroine Eleanor Shellstrop, her lead character in The Good Place series finale.
That overlap is super-relevant because, at its absolute core, both The Good Place and the WPHF ask the same simple questions: What would a fair, just world look like? How can you be a good person? What does it take to leave the universe in a better shape than how you found it?
While Bell was in Vienna, we thought we’d ask her ourselves. From her perspective, what would a feminist “Good Place” look like?
Her answers — released to coincide World Humanitarian Day on Aug. 19 — were rooted in exactly what feminism is meant to be all about.
“I think a feminist ‘Good Place’ looks like a place with equality,” Bell told Global Citizen. “Because feminism isn’t about women being more important than men or more important than anyone else — it’s about being equal, equal representation, equal seats at the table, equal roles in leadership in their communities.”
“So a feminist ‘Good Place’ looks like a good place for everyone,” she added.
Bell feels like it’s her “duty” to lift up the stories of other women — and that starts with amplifying the work of the WPHF, a fund that gets more women involved in peacebuilding processes around the world.
It’s gender equality that directly benefits everyone: According to UN Women, the probability of a peace deal being sustained over two years increases by 20% when women are negotiating — and it’s 35% more likely that the deal will last over 15 years.
But between 1992 and 2018, just 13% of peace negotiators, 3% of mediators, and 4% of signatories in major peace processes were women.
Bell continued: "We will never achieve the UN's Global Goals for Sustainable Development — the framework to end extreme poverty, tackle climate change, and reduce inequality by 2030 — if we don't push for gender equality, and build peace, justice, and strong institutions.”
"Women are imperative to peace," she said. "Period. It's past time for the world to support women peacebuilders and humanitarians across the globe."
The secret to world peace? Women! @KristenBell gets it. She's a Global Advocate for the @wphfund — and met up with us to talk about women in peacebuilding and crisis prevention 💪 pic.twitter.com/uzcMboZdTI— Global Citizen UK (@GlblCtznUK) March 31, 2020
And for Bell, her decision to represent the WPHF connects to how she wants to live her life every single day: It’s about sisterhood, justice, and learning more about who you are. So, accidentally, pretty much the same epic themes from Frozen too.
“I think to empower women, you first have to look in the mirror and remind yourself that you are an empowered woman — and no matter what your skill set is, something in there can help someone else,” Bell told Global Citizen. “You have to look inside yourself to find your own skill set, become inspired by those around you, and be the support system of those around you.”
“Remind the women in your life that they can lean on you, that we’re all part of a team, and we can all accomplish this if we stick together.”
As 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of landmark UN Security Council Resolution 1325 — which called on countries to increase women’s participation in peacebuilding and protect women and girls from conflict — that solidarity has never been more important.