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Question: Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement? CPNN article: Gather the Women
CPNN Administrator
Posted: Dec. 31 1999,17:00

This discussion question applies to the following articles:

Gather the Women
Global Week for Womens Rights
Are Women’s Human Rights Shared Values of the African Union?
South Sudanese women take the lead in local peace building
Fundan Premio Nacional de Paz 2012 a Ana María Romero de Campero en Bolivia
National Peace Prize for 2012 Awarded to Ana María Romero de Campero in Bolivia
Ambonese activist wins 2012 Saparinah Sadli Award [Indonesia]
Sahel: La pleine participation des femmes est essentielle a la résolution des conflits et au redressement économique
Sahel Conference says women’s full participation essential to conflict resolution and economic recovery
Peace & Human Rights Training for Women at Nagpur, India
Consultation Identifies Ways to Support a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence (Fiji)
Women take ownership of Great Lakes peace efforts
Colombia lista para presentar edición 22 del festival  Mujeres en Escena por la Paz
Colombia prepares for 22nd Festival, Women on Stage for Peace
Les Femmes de Mali S'engagent pour la Paix
The Women of Mali Engage for Peace
Pak-Afghan women eye sustainable peace in region
MPP’s Much Ado About Women
Samba-Panza’s election represents a bright future for African women in politics
Announcing: Women of Congo Speak Out!
Hommage à nos femmes palestiniennes
Homage to our Women of Palestine
Dublin: les femmes, véritable pilier d'un avenir durable
Dublín: las mujeres, clave para el futuro desarrollo sostenible
Dublin: Women central to sustainable future development
Sister-to-Sister 2014 kicks off in Ottawa!
Moving beyond conflict to ‘culture of peace’: Linda Gbowee to the United Nations
Ouverture du premier Congrès international féminin à Oran
Dr. Widad Akrawi Receives the Pfeffer Peace Award
Subscribe to meet remarkable women activists during 16 Days of Activism
Women working for peace in Israel
Mobile Technology a Lever for Women’s Empowerment
ONU Mujer: Bachelet destacó participación de mujeres en puestos de poder
Una argentina presidirá la Corte Penal Internacional
ICC/Judges - Women at the top at the International Criminal Court
A century of women working for peace
10 More Ways Syrian Women Are Building Peace and Democracy
Women in Israel Fasting to Mark Gaza Anniversary
Colombia Includes Gender Focus for a Stable, Lasting Peace

Click here for articles since 2016.
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Profile PM 
Posted: Feb. 03 2004,17:04

Women have a vital role to play in the peace movement because we are among the invisible victims of war.   Ninety-percent of war casualties are civilians these days--and the vast majority of those civilian deaths are women and children. Women and children are also the majority of war refugees, suffering a high number of deaths from hunger and disease. The economic upheaval created by armed conflict drives women and children into the global sex trade. Rape is widely perpetuated by all sides against "the enemy" and also within the U.S armed forces. Military training encourages racism, homophobia and hatred of women in order to dehumanize the opposition. It also dehumanizes the troops, causing high rates of domestic violence among returned veterans.

Here at home, the military economy is destroying social services, educational funding, welfare relief, housing programs, and other human services. Everything is funneled into the defense effort, and again those most in need, women and children, pay the price. For all these reasons, women must be at the forefront of the anti-war movement and must make sure that the particular issues our sisters face be addressed.
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Tony Dominski
Posted: Mar. 02 2005,12:02

I do believe men have an important role in the peace movement.  However, I agree with Gandhi that woman will be at the forefront of creating a non-violent society.
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helen raisz
Posted: Dec. 04 2005,20:53

Have you read anything about women for peace in Iraq? A few years ago women visited the US on a tour sponsored by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, but I haven't heard any good news lately, rather moves setting women's equality back.
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CPNN Administrator
Posted: May 16 2011,04:55

Maybe things are beginning to change at the UN, ten years after adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325 promoting the role of women in UN Peacekeeping operations.  At least the following CNN article gives some hope of this.

Indian women peacekeepers hailed in Liberia

March 02, 2010

By Moni Basu, CNN

They are trained in sophisticated combat tactics and weaponry, crowd and mob control, counter-insurgency. They patrol the streets of the Liberian capital, expected to keep the peace after years of war.

Most of them are also mothers and form an all-women unit from India, policing in a country where a 15-year conflict was characterized by sexual violence. Rape, according to the United Nations, remains the No. 1 crime reported to police in Liberia.

The Indian women were pioneers, the unit's experience in Liberia an experiment of sorts for the United Nations.

Clare Hutchinson, a gender affairs officer at the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York, said it was hoped that the Indian women would win the trust of Liberian women and perhaps serve as role models.

"It's about empowerment," she said. "It's quite a success story for us."

Indian policewomen first arrived in Liberia in 2007, and a fresh batch arrived a few days ago in Monrovia as part of the rotation. Annie Abraham, commander of the outgoing Indian unit, said she is proud of the Indian women's performance.

The message that the Indians brought was clear: You can trust us. And you can do anything a man can do. Even better.

"In a post-conflict society, women are much more traumatized," Abraham said. "They are much more open to us. With men, there is some kind of skepticism."

Not only did Abraham's unit provide security and leadership, it was able to embrace Liberian women, mentoring them in health care and family practices. Many were teenage mothers.

The Indians pioneered a new way of peacekeeping. But sometimes, it was heartbreaking.

"We'd hear a woman say: "I have been raped. My daughter has been raped,'" Abraham said.

All they could do was sympathize and provide the kind of comfort a male counterpart could not.

The problems were new to Abraham, who grew up a tomboy enamored with police regalia. She became a police officer because she didn't want a job that was stereotyped as a woman's.

Ironically, it was her gender that landed her in Liberia.

"We performed duties that were different than men," she said. "It was just the presence of women that made a difference."

They even organized summer camp classes on self-defense and Indian classical dance.
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jhon foundation
Posted: July 05 2011,13:11

Women are special people in every society. Women have been the more industrious in our everyday life. Women all over the world are the major bread winners and are also caretakers of family.
I have no doubt in my mind that should women be given a role in any peace process, they can do great things. Women, unlike men, are very fearful to issues of conflicts and do not easily take part in confusions. They, always, distant themselves from the issues of conflicts. This is the more reason why women and children become victims in conflicts. Women are human beings like any other and it is justified to involve them in the promotion of peace at all levels. Marginalisation of people based on gender has proved to be retrogressive in area of peace promotion and sustainability.
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David Adams
Posted: Oct. 08 2011,15:14

The original draft of the UN Culture of Peace resolution, addressed the linkage between women's equality and the culture of peace:

"As recognized by the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing 1995), there is an inextricable linkage of peace with equality between women and men. Only this linkage of equality, development and peace can replace the historical inequality between men and women that has always characterized the culture of war and violence. As pointed out at the Conference, it is necessary to promote women's political and economic empowerment and equal representation at every level of decision-making so that women's experience, talents, visions and potential can make their full contribution to a culture of peace. This analysis is becoming generally accepted in the world today; for example, the Commonwealth states in its proposals for this programme of action that, historically, women themselves have always been anti-war and against violence in view of their roles as mothers and wives, and in times of conflict, women and children have always been the victims."

Looking back over history, as well as prehistory, one can see how it has been the culture of war that has perpetuated male domination.  As stated in my study, Why There Are So Few Women Warriors:

"With the advent of internal war, patrilocality, and exogamy, there came a profound shift in male-female relations. The male monopolization of warfare was instituted and extended to hunting (in order to preclude the use of weapons by women) and to the initiation rites of the young (male) warriors. The inequality of power between men and women was institutionalized in a way from which we have never recovered."

I describe the subsequent stages in my book, The History of the Culture of War:

The inequality of power between men and women was further strengthened with the origin of the state, in which war played a decisive role. The rulers of the state were those who had been victorious in war, and as a result, from its origins the state has been dominated by men. There have always been a few exceptions . . . but the historical examples of women rulers stand out because they have been so few and exceptional. The vast majority of rulers have been men, and it may be assumed that this is related to the primacy of warfare as a function of the state, and the fact that military leaders have always been men.

As for elite education, it is only in the recent past that women have gained entrance . . .

Organized religion has similarly been dominated by men since the beginning of recorded history, and this can be understood to some extent in its relation to the man as warrior . . .

Male domination in the family and economic enterprises, eventually including the rise of great capitalist enterprises, has historically mirrored the male domination of the military, the state, elite education and religion . . . Since women could not work or own property they were not able to participate directly in the great development of the capitalist enterprise in the 19th and early 20th Centuries. It is only recently, with legal reforms and access to elite education that women have begun to break through the "glass ceiling" of male domination in the economy.

Violence against women is pervasive in all societies, and much, although not all, can be attributed to the culture of war . . .

The Nobel Prize of 2011 to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman as well as those of 2004 to Wangari Maathai and 2003 to Shirin Ebadi recognize the leading role that women have been playing in all the areas of the culture of peace, especially peace education, sustainable development, human rights, democratic participation, and tolerance and solidarity, not to mention women's equality.   In general, we may state that the global movement of a culture of peace is being led by women; one among many signs of this is the fact that a majority of CPNN articles are written by women and concern activities being led by women.
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CPNN Administrator
Posted: May 27 2013,20:14

Janet Hudgins has called our attention to the following excellent discussion piece by Mairead Maguire of the Nobel Womens Initiative.

BLOG: “Peace is possible” writes Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire
May 24, 2013
Mairead Maguire won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her efforts in bringing an end to violence in Northern Ireland. Soon after, she founded the organization Peace People and continues to work in nonviolent peace movements. Mairead is hosting the Nobel Women’s Initiative’s fourth biennial conference, Moving Beyond Militarism & War: Women-driven solutions for a nonviolent world.

I passionately believe peace is possible, and that it is possible for the human family to move beyond militarism and war. Indeed, it is already happening because millions of us have already rejected the ‘bomb and the bullet’ and all the techniques of violence and are working to build a world based on the values of love, equality  and dignity for all.

People of the world do not want war.  We have had enough of this wastage of human resources and intelligence in feeding the death machinery of militarism while children die of starvation and poverty.  These are not the ‘values’ we want to live by, and the human family, particularly women, are uniting our voices as a powerful force to say ‘no’ no more of these destructive policies of bad governance and governments not acting in good faith.

Ten years ago, in February 2003, millions of people around the world said ‘no’ to the Iraqi war and occupation, and since then millions around the world  have  protested  against unjust government regimes, demanding dignity, demilitarization, development, and democracy.  These massive peoples movements, for the most part peaceful, are being  repressed by government forces whose policies of ongoing militarism, war, inequality and injustice, are being challenged  by courageous individuals and global protests of solidarity by civil community, both locally and internationally.

What unites these people’s movements is a new ‘consciousness’ that a good life, with dignity, freedom, fairness and human security, is their right -  and by the law of love and logic, the right of every man and woman.
There is more awareness in the age of increased education and advanced communications that we live in a very rich world with enough for everyone’s need, but not for everyone’s greed. This increased awareness of social, economic and political injustice which is destroying so many people’s lives, is creating deep anger and frustration resulting in non-violent  revolution and protest movements to change repressive and unjust systems.

We have seen the Arab ‘spring’ in the Middle East, but also the rise of the ‘Occupy movements’ protesting the quest for profit and perpetual financial growth which has enriched a tiny minority, while causing hardships, despair and devastation particularly amongst the marginalized and poor . The quest for perpetual financial growth and profit has ravaged the earth, so that today we face unprecedented threats to the possibility of sustaining a liveable habitat for future generations. The dominance of the corporate media and the power of the military industrial complex to drive and control government policies is dominating our lives everywhere. It is colossal task to try to change it, but try we must if there is to be a future for our children.

The latest figure for world military expenditure is well over £l,082 billion, with the United Kingdom coming fourth in spending £39 billion.  The British government plans to spend over £100 billion on renewal of Nuclear trident, whilst announcing strict austerity measures causing real hardship with many people unemployed – particularly young people – in Northern Ireland and elsewhere forced to reluctantly leave their homes to seek employment in other countries.  There is a real sense of powerlessness and hopelessness amongst many young people which governments must address by diverting military funding into job creation and education, to give hope and dignity to people. .

And hope too, comes from people and their awakening and empowerment, as they work against violence and for social justice and change. This movement is exciting and inspiring.
Many women know the pain of losing a child, they know the pain of war, and that ‘violence  is not a solution, it is part of the problem’. They know that there will not be paramilitary or military solutions to their problems, only peaceful dialogue and talking amongst all the parties to the conflict will bring the much needed peace, which is a  right of all the peoples, and necessary if there is to be development.

A  demilitarized, peaceful nonviolent world, is not a utopian dream it is a right for all. Most  people have never killed anyone, but have struggled to live out their lives as joyfully and peacefully as possible.  Most people know that human beings were not made for hatred and violence, but were made to love and be loved.  We all know in our hearts that it is not permitted to kill or be killed. So too for political activists who choose to work for change through peaceful resistance, it is important to remember that peaceful resistance means we do not resist injustice with death, either our own, or others, but rather through respect of life.

Building a culture of love and compassion is the culture of accepting the other and recognizing their right to dignity. I believe that if governments allowed people to grow up respecting human life, respecting women, and respecting all people from all religions and from all countries, it would then be difficult to send out soldiers to kill others. This would end the arms trade, armies and militarism.

I hope that we can all work together to abolish armed forces, weapons research, manufacturing and trading of weapons. We can do this  by building a culture of love, replacing a culture of violence and death.  The great hope lies in the fact that human beings are continually evolving in their thinking, and we can replace military mindsets, with creative ways  of conflict prevention, unarmed civilian peacekeeping, We are becoming more enlightened, and as we abolished slavery so too we can abolish armies and base our human security not on force, or threat of force, but  on compassion, human rights and international law.  At the heart of international law is the principle of good faith. Governments have a legal responsibility to uphold all international law and to do so in good faith.

Many government not only refuse to meet their obligations under the international treaties which they have signed – such as the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, but they are allowing a glorification of militarism, and in all our cultures we see a creeping militarization of society.  In the UK we are, through the media and many other ways, being conditioned to see armies and militarism as acceptable, and offering ‘good career’ choices, instead of the truth that they are training grounds to teach people how to kill other people – increasingly women and children in Pakistan and Afghanistan through the use of drones, and targeted assassinations.

Within the military there is a great deal of violence against women, including rape and sexual violence, and it is to be hoped that women will challenge this culture of violence and militarism, and also call for the abolition of NATO, which armed with weapons of mass destruction, is a danger to civilians rather than their protector.

However, I believe that more than anything ‘the world needs love’ particularly the young people in whom we can place our trust, and believe in them and in the goodness of men and women and their potential to be truly magnificent human beings.
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David Adams
Posted: July 14 2014,09:01

The 30 articles in CPNN linked to this question make it clear that women indeed have a special role to play in the peace movement.  See the following for an historical explanation of why this is true.
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