Category Archives: WOMEN’S EQUALITY

Female resilience in traditional African oral literature (Sociotexte journal)


An article from Fabula

Studies assembled and coordinated by Béatrice Kakou Assi, Department of Modern Letters, UFHB, Abidjan-Côte d’Ivoire.

Contrary to popular belief, the genres of traditional African oral literature are not fossils of our current literature and human sciences. Nor are their themes intended to be relegated to the residue stage of outmoded civilizations. On the contrary, traditional oral genres are anthropological universals and indicators of social mutations. They thus help to problematize the progress of man, in the sense that Seneca understood it, in the form of processual stations. They also help to understand and perfect human societies.

This is why Amadou Hampathé Bâ recommends that man “constantly return to the story during significant events in his life”[1]. Therefore, tales, legends, proverbs, myths, and other corpora relating to oral traditions – here, particularly African – should be read as authoritative sources for current issues: sustainable development, ecology, climate and the environment, human rights, the culture of peace and conflict management, the protection of biodiversity, women’s struggles, etc.

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(Click here for the original in French.)

Questions for this article

Can the women of Africa lead the continent to peace?

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This last theme about feminine and feminist discourses in an oral and traditional African context validates the relevance of this thematic call from the journal Sociotexte. It will be a question of reflecting on the resilience of female and/or feminist figures in our oral texts, whether they are illustrious by their fame or anonymous by their invisibility. Contributions should therefore include:
– The struggle of women in tales, myths, legends and epics

– Figures of women, resistant or revolutionary

– Maxims and proverbs to the advantage of a shining image of women

– (Ancient) stories of the power of women (the myth of the mother goddess for example)

– Model figures for current feminist movements

– Stories of protection, celebration or deification of the “woman-mother”.

– Rebellions and revolts of women against the conventional places and roles assigned to women (warrior women or Amazons, etc.)- The female-male

– The mother or single woman (single, widowed or divorced)

Proposals are received at the following address:

The deadline is set for February 16, 2024.

— [1] Amadou Hampaté Bâ, Petit Bodiel, NEI/EDICEF, 1987, p.86.

Women, Peace, and Security Conference underway in Juba, South Sudan


An article from the Catholic Radio Network

The Annual National Conference on Women’s Peace and Security began in Juba on Wednesday 25th October 2023, calling for civic education and preparation for anticipated general elections in 2024.

The Conference focuses on women’s political participation, the constitution-making process, federalism, electrical, the role of media, and many other topics. More than two hundred women across the country are taking part in the conference.

Minister of Interior, Hon. Angelina Teny says this is the high time for women to start engaging in preparation for the elections.

“So we need to now think consciously, how we are going to be part of all these instruments and mechanisms that are going to be involved in ensuring a safe environment, for all the women and all the candidates to campaign.”

Hon. Angelina encourages the women to work hard to ensure their internal democratic processes contribute to a free, fair, and credible election in 2014.

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Questions for this article

Can the women of Africa lead the continent to peace?

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“You have to work hard to ensure that your internal democratic processes contribute to a free, fair, and creditable election that will ensure the participation of the women and other sectors of society.”

Hon. Teny revealed her Ministry role to promote free, fair, and credible elections through maintaining security across the areas in South Sudan.
Eve Organization for Women, representative, Jacqueline Natepo, says this is a moment for women to position themselves and effectively contribute to shaping the future of South Sudan.

“This period presents an opportunity for all women in South Sudan to position themselves and effectively to the shaping the future of South Sudan, for us, our children in the future generation to come especially peaceful stable inclusive and developed South Sudan.”

Natepo adds that women need to participate in the coming election as it’s getting to the end of the transitional period. She calls on women to take the conference seriously because women are a key part of democracy.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands’s Ambassador to South Sudan, Miriam Choppers says much has been achieved since the adoption of the UN Security Council resolution.

She is worrying that the implementation of women’s peace and security is left behind. Choppers believes that a real measure of the strength of democracy is to measure the strength of women.

The two-day annual National Conference on Women is organized by Eve Organization under the theme, “Building Inclusive Democracy: Women’s Leadership and Political Participation.

Secretary-General Tells Security Council Open Debate ‘Standing with Women Is Good for the World’, Stresses Patriarchy ‘a Massive Obstacle’ to Culture of Peace


An article from the United Nations

Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks to the Security Council annual open debate on women, peace and security, in New York today:

Thank you for inviting me to brief the Council on this vital issue.  And for reminding us of the key contribution Bertha Lutz made to the UN Charter and to women’s rights.

Many of you here today will have visited the exhibition on display outside the United Nations building.  You will have seen the images of the women who embody the agenda we are discussing — women who are fighting injustice, building peace, and taking their rightful place at the table.  It is a snapshot of the immense contribution women are making to peace and security around the world and a testament to the power of women’s leadership.

The world must take note.  And it must take inspiration.  Because today, we are on a knife’s edge.  Conflicts are raging.  Tensions are rising.  Coups are erupting.  Authoritarianism is on the march.  The nuclear threat has mushroomed.  Climate chaos is inflaming security challenges.  And mistrust is poisoning global politics — weakening our ability to respond.

The figures speak for themselves on the dire state of our world: military spending is at a record high; displacement due to violence, conflict and persecution is at a record high; and 50 per cent more women and girls are living in countries threatened by fighting than in 2017.

Where wars rage, women suffer, where authoritarianism and insecurity reign, women and girls’ rights are threatened.  We see this around the world.  In Sudan and Haiti — women and girls brutalized and terrorized by sexual violence.  In Afghanistan — the denial of women’s basic rights is wrecking lives and depriving people of life-saving assistance.  And women and girls fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are at risk of being preyed on by traffickers and abusers.

In the Middle East, women and girls are disproportionately affected by the ongoing violence, bloodshed and displacement.  Women and girls are among the many victims of Hamas’ brutal atrocities.  And women and children are more than half the victims of the relentless bombing of Gaza.  Tens of thousands of pregnant women are desperately struggling to access essential health care.

This grim backdrop gives renewed urgency to efforts to ensure women’s full and meaningful participation in peace and security.  Twenty-three years after this Council adopted resolution 1325 (2000), women’s participation should be a default, not an afterthought.

But that is not the case.  Women are leading efforts on peace, justice and rights around the world. But still, far too many women’s organizations struggle to fund their essential work, as military spending soars; far too many perpetrators of sexual violence walk free; and far too many peace processes exclude women.

Of 18 peace agreements reached last year, only one was signed or witnessed by a representative of a women’s group or organization.  Despite our best efforts, women represented just 16 per cent of negotiators or delegates in the peace processes led, or co-led, by the United Nations.

We live in a male-dominated world with a male-dominated culture.  Centuries of patriarchy are a massive obstacle to gender equality and, in turn, to a culture of peace.  Around the world, women’s rights are under attack.  So are the people that defend them.  At least seven women who briefed this Council last year report facing reprisals for having done so.

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Questions related to this article:

UN Resolution 1325, does it make a difference?

Does the UN advance equality for women?

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Violence against women — both on and offline — is endemic; a massive barrier and disincentive to participation in civil and political life.  At the current rate of progress, it will be almost another half century before women are fairly represented in national parliaments.

Addressing this is not a favour to women.  It is a matter of rights, justice and pragmatism.  Standing with women is good for the world.  We know processes involving women lead to more enduring peace.  We know gender-equal parliaments are more likely to increase spending on health, education and social protection, and reduce corruption.

There are pockets of hope.  This year’s report shows good practice and success stories on the women, peace and security agenda from around the world:  from gender parity in Colombia’s peace negotiations to perpetrators of sexual violence in Iraq, Syria and the Central African Republic being brought to justice.

The United Nations is committed to working with countries to drive progress on women, peace and security.  Our operations are supporting women, highlighting their vital work, and amplifying their voices.  The Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund of the United Nations has supported more than 1,000 local women’s organizations since it was established in 2016. And we’ve made progress towards gender balance within peacekeeping missions.  But overall, when it comes to women peace and security, the world must urgently bridge the gap between rhetoric and reality.

This annual debate regularly has the longest speakers’ list of the year.  But concrete progress is slow, stagnant or even going backwards.  We need to implement the women, peace and security agenda in full, now.  Because women have had enough of being shut out of the decisions that shape their lives; enough of their work going unrecognized; enough of threats and violence; [and] enough of promises left unfulfilled.  Women demand concrete actions to make real strides forward.

First, that means steps to ensure women are in the room for peace talks.  I encourage Governments supporting conflict mediation to set ambitious targets for women on negotiating teams.

Second, it means money on the table.  If you want to stand with women driving change, if you want to support women enduring conflict, if you want to remove barriers to participation, and if you want women’s organizations to deliver, we need to pay for it.  Yet, the latest figures show aid funding for gender equality in conflict falling.  I urge countries providing overseas development assistance, or ODA, to allocate 15 per cent to gender equality.  Fifteen per cent of funds for mediation work must support women’s participation.

I also call on countries providing ODA to allocate 1 per cent — at a bare minimum — to direct assistance to women’s organizations mobilizing for peace.  By the end of 2025, the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund Invest-in-Women campaign aims to raise $300 million.  I urge you to throw yourselves behind this effort.

Third, we need concrete measure to secure women’s full, equal and meaningful participation at all levels of decision-making on peace and security, and all levels of political and civil life.  That means pushing fair representation in national and local governments, cabinets and parliaments.

I was a prime minister and leader of a political party.  I know quotas, targets and incentives work.  We need robust, comprehensive legislation to tackle violence against women — both on and offline — and to put an end to impunity for perpetrators.

And we need to make the most of the Summit of the Future next year to push for progress on women, peace and security.  The Summit is a chance to reform and revitalize multilateralism so that it meets the challenges of today.  In preparation, the policy brief on “A New Agenda for Peace” puts women’s leadership and participation at the centre of decision-making. I urge you to consider its proposals carefully.

Amidst a world in chaos, the clock is ticking down to the twenty-fifth anniversary of resolution 1325 (2000).  A quarter century is ample time to make progress.  We need to translate the energy, commitment and focus in this room into change on the ground and money on the table.  No more stalling, no more coasting, no more delays.

We need to back the change-makers whose images we proudly display outside this building, starting today.  The state of the world demands it.  And women and girls, rightly, expect nothing less.  Thank you.

Yemeni peace laureate to deliver keynote speech on the matter in Cape Town today


An article from Independent Online

As the global community faces incessant threats to peace and stability – and there is more violence within communities in South Africa – the voices at a Peace Dialogue and Youth Conference taking place this weekend should be amplified.

Nobel Peace Laureate Tawakkol Karman, a human rights activist, journalist and politician from Yemen, will be a keynote speaker at the Power of Peace Dialogue in Cape Town today.

Tawakkol Karman, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Picture: Reuters/Ueslei Marcelinio

The 7th Annual PeaceJam South Africa Youth Leadership Conference will start today and runs until Sunday. It is hosted by Mentoring PeaceBuilders South Africa, an affiliate of the PeaceJam Foundation.

At the age of 32, Karman is the youngest Nobel Peace Laureate as well as the first Arab woman and the second Muslim woman to receive the prestigious recognition.

The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Karman in recognition of her “non-violent struggle for democracy” and advocating for women’s rights in Yemen.

During the Arab Spring, referred to at the time as “The Mother of the Revolution” and in the face of increasing threats made to her life, Karman led peaceful protests for democracy and freedom of speech in Yemen.

She is also the founder of Women Journalists Without Chains and was imprisoned and persecuted as a result of her active engagement, according to a Nobel Prize statement.

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Questions related to this article:

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

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A Power of Peace Dialogue, in partnership with the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, will start at 6pm today at the Old Granary Building, Buitenkant Street, Cape Town.

The dialogue session will take the form of a panel discussion and will include Karman, PeaceJam Foundation vice-president Lauren Coffaro, Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation CEO Janet Jobson, Mosaic Training Services and Healing Centre for Women executive director Tarisai Mchuchu-Mac Millan, and community leader and advocate Talethia Edwards.

The Peace Conference tomorrow and Sunday is expected to see hundreds of young people, aged between 14 and 24 years, who are interested in becoming agents of positive change in their communities and world gathering at the Chrysalis Academy in Cape Town.

Approximately 400 learners from 19 different high schools and youth organisations, along with over 50 university mentors, will attend.

Mentoring PeaceBuilders South Africa NPC is a non-profit organisation that aims to create a culture of peace by empowering young people to become leaders and peacemakers.

The organisation is part of the PeaceJam Foundation, a global movement of 14 Noble Peace Laureates who mentor young people to change the world through service and education.

“The world is in need of new ideas and approaches and this new generation of young people is uniquely qualified to understand and address the complex problems of violence facing humanity.

“Our Youth Peacebuilding Conferences and Lectures offer engaging and safe spaces to nurture young people and help them realise their potential to tackle issues head-on,” Mentoring PeaceBuilders South Africa NPC co-founder and director Earl Mentor said.

“We want to build awareness of the Power of Peace in the light of the ongoing violence in our high-conflict communities in South Africa. We want to also discuss peace to help transform our collective consciousness through the courageous pursuit of healing our nation through dialogue and action.”

From Rwanda To Beyond: New Collaborations And Collective Action At Women’s Conclave


An article by Ridhima Shukla in Forbes Africa

Attendees at the just-concluded Women Deliver 2023 Conference in Kigali exchanged ideas and experiences through thought-provoking discussions that set the stage for the unveiling of new and transformative policy frameworks supporting women’s rights and issues.

In the heart of Kigali, Rwanda, the BK Arena and Kigali Convention Centre buzzed with excitement as women from all corners of the world gathered for the Women Deliver 2023 Conference (WD2023), from July 17-20, held for the first time in Africa.

The Women Deliver conference witnessed participation from over 6,000 stakeholders and advocates dedicated to advancing gender equality. Photo: UN Women/Emmanuel Rurangwa

Held under the theme, Spaces, Solidarity, and Solutions, the sixth Women Deliver Conference aimed to ignite collective action, empower the feminist movement, and foster a world where gender equality and women’s rights thrive.

A wide range of topics, including abortion access, LGBTIQQ rights, gender-based violence and impact of the climate crisis on women and girls, were discussed, along with focus on fostering youth engagement and elevating the perspectives of young women in the global gender equality movement.

The event saw an impressive turnout with thousands in attendance. Notable speakers included renowned personalities such as activist Malala Yousafzai. Also in attendance were four heads of state including Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame – with his wife and first lady Jeannette Kagame – Ethiopia’s President Sahle-Work Zewde, Senegal’s President Macky Sall, and the President of Hungary, Katalin Novák.

One of the most significant announcements came from the collaboration between Women Deliver and Open Society Foundations, a grant-making network founded and chaired by Hungarian-American business behemoth and philanthropist George Soros.

Together, they unveiled a new funding facility to address, among other things, neglected areas of female sexual health and reproductive rights. The room erupted in applause as the audience recognized the potential of this facility in empowering marginalized women and girls who have long been denied access to basic healthcare.

As the conference progressed, it became evident that the commitment to drive change extended beyond the arena’s walls. More than 40 organizations came together to launch a powerful campaign addressing the gender nutrition gap. Their collective call urged governments to take transformative action, shining a spotlight on the stark inequalities that persist globally in women’s and girls’ nutrition.

Another momentous step forward was the unveiling of the RESPECT Women website. Developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), UN Women, and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), this policy framework and online platform has been designed to combat and respond to violence against women and girls. The website’s potential to create a safer environment and promote gender equality and women’s empowerment was met with resounding support and recognition.

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Question related to this article:
Prospects for progress in women’s equality, what are the short and long term prospects?

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Perhaps the most moving moment at the conference was when UNFPA introduced Kigali Call to Action: United for Women and Girls’ Bodily Autonomy. This powerful call placed bodily autonomy, reproductive rights, and gender equality at the core of the agenda. With a clear focus on women-led organizations and the feminist movement, the call aimed to drive coordinated and collective action towards gender equality by 2030.

The conference’s commitment to empowering future generations was expressed with the launch of the Women Deliver Emerging Leaders Program to provide young people with trust-based funding, knowledge, resources, and leadership opportunities in the pursuit of gender equality and reproductive health advocacy. As the torch was passed on to the next generation, the attendees celebrated the potential of these emerging leaders to create a lasting impact on the global stage.

Throughout the conference, attendees engaged in thought-provoking discussions, exchanging ideas and experiences, leaving no stone unturned in their quest for progress. Challenges were acknowledged, and the urgency to address them collectively was clear.

The importance of funding for gender equality advocacies resonated strongly among the attendees. Julia Fan, Senior Manager for Youth Engagement at Women Deliver, emphasized that funding remains a critical aspect in driving forward the agenda for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Alongside the vibrant discussions and inspiring stories of progress, Soraya Hakuziyaremye, the Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Rwanda, too offered valuable insights. She acknowledged the strides Rwanda has made in promoting women to leadership positions, highlighting that this progress did not happen overnight but has been the result of extraordinary leadership that recognized gender equity as a vital indicator of the nation’s progress, almost three decades ago.

While there were successes to celebrate, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Board Chair of Women Deliver, also addressed a pressing concern shared by many attendees.

She remarked: “What concerns most women today here is that progress in gender equality has been slow and uneven, and a major space where all countries have failed is violence against women. It is sad to sit and talk about this here again; I was talking about this 10 years ago.”

While gender issues still persist, efforts to combat them also have a history, starting with the Beijing Declaration in 1995 that opened the door for women’s issues to find mainstream recognition globally, leading to the Platform for Action adopted unanimously by 189 countries. In the words of Mlambo-Ngcuka, “it was a defining moment when women’s rights received the status of human rights”.

The development and acceptance of the Maputo Protocol on Women’s Rights in 2005 has also come a long way. The protocol has one of the highest number of ratifications for an instrument in the African Union (AU) and has objectively established a uniform basis for protecting the rights of women and girls in Africa. Forty nine of the 55 AU member states have signed the Maputo Protocol thus far.

Reflecting on the week’s transformative experience. Rania Dagesh, the Deputy Regional Director for eastern and southern Africa at UNICEF, expressed her sentiments: “The past week at Women Deliver has been phenomenal; there have been moments of reflection, profound exchanges, and valuable learning. I am truly grateful for participating.”

As the final moments of the conference unfolded, the atmosphere was one of hope, determination, and camaraderie.

(Editor’s note: For another perspective on the conference, see UN Women Executive Director visits Rwanda, applauds remarkable progress on gender equality and women’s empowerment.)

Global Women for Peace United Against NATO


A Declaration for Peace from Women against NATO

As NATO prepares for its upcoming summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, on July 11th and 12th, the peace movement is organizing internationally. We are organising protests – and as well as saying No to NATO, we are saying Yes to peace, presenting alternatives to war, and a new vision of security.

In March, many women got together online, from across the world, to present an action plan: to ensure women’s mobilization on this crucial issue. We call ourselves Global Women for Peace United Against NATO and we have produced a Declaration for Peace, outlining our message of peace, justice, solidarity, and common security.

As part of the international protests, we are organizing a programme of events in Brussels, home of the NATO headquarters. This will take place from July 6th to 9th; there will be meetings, debates, seminars, and street actions – and much of it will be available online as well as in person. Find the programme here.

Please join us however you can – and help us expand participation, especially from those living in NATO states, or in NATO ‘partner’ countries. The events are women-led but we welcome all who are against NATO to participate.

The Declaration, together with the names and affiliations of the first signatories can be found on this page. Click here to find the Declaration translated into many languages. More are being added all the time.

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Questions related to this article:

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

Can NATO be abolished?

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The Declaration and list of signatories will be sent to the NATO headquarters, NATO members and partners, and their parliaments, together with the EU Commission and members of the European Parliament. We will make sure our voices are heard – our voices for peace and justice.

Will you join us?

Will you sign now?

Let’s build this movement for peace together!



Women for Peace Finland:

Ulla Klotzer: ullaklotzer[at]
Lea Launokari: lea.launokari[at]


George Friday: geo4realdem[at]
Nancy Price: nancytprice39[at] 


Kate Hudson: kate.hudson[at]


Emmelien Lievens: emmelien[at] (especially for media and press)

Conflict resolution and peacebuilding: The Union of Women of Cultural Communities for Peace in Mali (UFCPM) equips its members


An article by Boubacar Païtao in Maliweb (translation by CPNN)

In order to promote endogenous practices of conflict resolution and peacebuilding, the Union of Women of Cultural Communities for Peace in Mali (UFCPM) organized, from June 12 to 14, 2023, at the Auberge Titi de Fana, a capacity building workshop for influential women in their community and within their group on key concepts including peace, forgiveness, reconciliation, social cohesion, resilience.

The opening ceremony was chaired by the representative of the Governor of Dioïla, Jean Marie Sagara, in the presence of the president of the UFCPM, Kéïta Fanta Chérif Kéïta, the representative of the Norwegian Church Aid (AEN), Samake Loda Coulibaly.

After the words of welcome of the village chief of Fana, the president of the Union of women of cultural communities for peace in Mali (UFCPM), Kéïta Fanta Kéïta indicated that in these moments of multidimensional crisis in our country, it is the women who are innate champions for the maintenance of peace around us, and who are committed to the fight for pacification, stabilization, security, social cohesion, virtuous governance of Mali.

She added that they created the UFCPM with this in mind, with the aim of contributing to the reconciliation of hearts and minds to restore a definitive peace and strengthen social cohesion and the resilience of communities. According to her, UFCPM brings together all the women of the cultural communities of Mali who have decided to face the crisis situation with a clear vision. They are supported by courage and confidence in their power to strengthen the resilience of the communities very affected by the different crises and rebuild the socio-economic fabric deteriorated by these crises that our country has been experiencing since 2012.

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(Click here for the original in French.)

Questions for this article

Can the women of Africa lead the continent to peace?

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Thus, she added, the women decided to use all their potential as mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, aunts, grandmothers to make Mali a haven of peace where assistance to the another is a cardinal value necessary for good living and the achievement of sustainable human development through stability, peace and social cohesion. According to her, the Union of Women of Cultural Communities for Peace in Mali (UFCPM) aims to contribute:

– the promotion of endogenous practices of conflict resolution and peacebuilding, the multiplication and application of regional, national and international legal and regulatory instruments;

– the promotion of intra- and inter-community initiatives to revive existing ancestral ties and maintain them for the benefit of social cohesion and the socio-economic emergence of the various localities;

– the creation of lasting mechanisms to strengthen the prospects for peaceful coexistence and reduce the risks of the outbreak and/or resumption and continuation of violent conflicts;

– the strengthening of intergenerational, intra- and inter-community dialogue for the respect of human rights and the promotion of the culture of peace,

– Consolidation of collaboration and consultation relations between Cultural Associations involved in conflict resolution, social cohesion and socio-economic development;

– the initiation of effective and efficient mechanisms to strengthen the actions of good governance.

In this dynamic, she continues, this workshop is designed to strengthen women in their intervention so that they can intervene in conflict situations.

Following her, the representative of the Governor of the Dioïla region, Jean Marie Sagara, welcomed the holding of this workshop for influential women in the communities, especially at a time when our country is facing a multidimensional crisis. . Given the importance of women in crisis resolution mechanisms, this workshop is timely. It will make it possible to better equip them on the key concepts of peace, forgiveness, reconciliation, social cohesion and resilience.

ECOWAS enhances the capacity of its Regional Women, Peace And Security Steering Group


An article from ECOWAS: Economic Community of West African States

About fifty Regional Stakeholders from the Regional Women Peace and Security Steering Group have converged in Lomé, the Togolese capital for a four day Capacity Building Workshop (Training of Trainers), 19th -22nd June, 2023, organized by the ECOWAS Directorate of Humanitarian and Social Affairs (DHSA) with  the support of the ECOWAS Peace and Security Architecture and Operations (EPSAO) Project, co funded by the EU and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by GIZ.

The Workshop on the African Union Continental Results Framework (CRF) is coming on the heels of the development of a Simplified CRF document by the ECOWAS Commission. The CRF is a tool that enhances the monitoring and reporting of WPS National Action Plans in line with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325). The Resolution accorded full recognition to the disproportionate impact of violent conflict on women and girls, the under-representation of women in formal peace processes and the undeniable value in women’s participation. It also clearly highlights the importance of mainstreaming gender throughout peace and security processes and architecture.

The workshop is expected to enhance the capacities of regional and national stakeholders in monitoring and reporting the WPS agenda using the CRF tool. It will also enhance the capacity of participants in delivering training on the Simplified CRF in future training and capacity building events, including the planned Pilot, In-Country Stakeholders Training, improving the understanding by key stakeholders of their roles in monitoring and reporting on the WPS agenda and strengthening the internal coordination of the Regional WPS Steering Group.

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Questions for this article

Can the women of Africa lead the continent to peace?

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ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Humanitarian development and Social Affairs, Professor Fatou SOW-SARR, in her welcome remarks, stressed the urgent need to ensure that Women in the region are included and involved in all national and regional peace and security agendas and processes to increase their involvement in conflict prevention, management, resolution, reconciliation and peace building. Additionally, she said that the data gathered from the workshop would enable the commission to generate input that can be used to formulate concrete policies, plans, programmes and activities aimed at empowering and involving women in the implementation of the various commitments of ECOWAS to improve the collective peace and security of the region.

The Togolese Minister of Social Action, Women’s promotion and Literacy, Madame Adjovi Lolonyo APEDOH-ANAKOMA in her welcome address, congratulated all the participants on their successful entry into the Women Peace and Security Regional Working Group, praising their profound commitment to promoting peace and security in the region. She outlined the importance of peace to any developing nation, because without peace there can be no progress, quoting Kofi Annan, then Secretary General of the United Nations, “Without progress, there can be no peace. Without peace, there can be no progress”.

She stressed the importance of the involvement of women in peace building, Women are naturally inclined to respect life, to educate and to defend. Women play a pivotal role as advocates for peace and are a voice for the vulnerable. She opined that with the natural maternal instinct and maternal heart beating in the core of any nation, it would be difficult for war to still break out.

In conclusion, she called on all participants to make the most of the workshop and use it to acquire skills in evaluating the effectiveness of the “Women, Peace and Security” program in their various countries. She said, in so doing, they will play a crucial role in ensuring the advancement of women’s rights and promoting a culture of peace in the entire West African region, highlighting the importance of emphasizing that peaceful coexistence is essential for the well-being of our citizens and for having a better future for our countries and our region.

The opening ceremony was concluded with a symbolic ceremonial inauguration of participants into the steering Regional Working Group on Women Peace and Security which reaffirmed the commitment of the participants to contribute to the full implementation of the “Women, Peace and Security Agenda” across the region. Representatives of Guinea Bissau, National Defence College Nigeria, Togo, WANEP, UNOWAS were presented with plaques and decorated with customized scrolls, representing all members of the Steering Group.

A global analysis of violence against women defenders in environmental conflicts


Excerpts from publication by Dalena Tran & Ksenija Hanaček in Nature


Women environmental defenders face retaliation for mobilizing against extractive and polluting projects, which perpetrate violence against Indigenous, minority, poor and rural communities. The issue matters because it highlights the gendered nature of extractive violence and the urgent need to address the systemic patterns of violence that affect women defenders, who are often overlooked and underreported. Here we analyse violence against women defenders in environmental conflicts around the world. We use data from the Environmental Justice Atlas and employ log-linear and binomial regressions to find statistically significant patterns in displacement, repression, criminalization, violent targeting and assassinations committed against women defenders in extractive conflicts.

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Statistical results indicate that violence against women defenders is concentrated among mining, agribusiness and industrial conflicts in the geographical South. Repression, criminalization and violent targeting are closely linked, while displacement and assassination appear as extreme outcomes when conflict violence worsens. Women defenders experience high rates of violence regardless of countries’ governance accountability and gender equality. This work contributes to the broader sustainability agenda by highlighting the need to address the impacts of extractive activities on women.


Extractivism refers to projects extracting natural resources for exportation. It is an inherently unequal process often inciting extractivist violence, or the institutionalized use of brute force to displace and dominate communities for extractive and polluting projects such as mines or plantations. The extractive process frequently involves militarizing communities and assassinating environmental defenders, those advocating to protect environmental and human rights5. Such violence is typically justified by dehumanizing people and denying them agency through systematically excluding them from economic, social, political and cultural activities (for example, through classism, racialization and gendering). Extractive violence is also connected to ecocide, the notion that environmental destruction is criminal and has devastating genocidal impacts on affected communities dependent on the health of their environments for physical, spiritual, and cultural wellbeing. Genocidal outcomes are those exterminating and persecuting groups, assimilating survivors and erasing their culture.

Current literature describes a connection between colonial extractive attitudes, ecocide and genocide of Indigenous peoples, minorities, the poor and rural communities1. Ecocide typically begins with land grabbing, or forcefully dispossessing communities of their lands and natural resources. Such usurpation is secured through legal and institutional structures such as land ownership regimes disrupting common law tenure. This colonial control is also reinforced through covertly and overtly discriminatory ideological and discursive practices. Ensuing ecological destruction then becomes genocidal when causing conditions fundamentally threatening a group’s cultural and physical existence. More specifically, direct physical violence gives way to indirect forms of extermination through undermining place-based livelihoods, such as deforestation causing food instability, pollution causing health impacts, or structural inequalities increasing vulnerability to violence and ecological consequences.

There has been increasing attention to the ecocide–genocide nexus through environmental defender killings as well as slow violence wherein people suffer from long-term environmental harms. This study contributes an ecocide–genocide–gender connection to such literature. Violence against women environmental defenders (WEDs) is overlooked, and extractive violence is gendered. Corporations and states typically concentrate power among men during project negotiations, limiting women’s autonomy and normalizing their oppression. WEDs face retaliation because mobilizing defies gender expectations of docility (lack of retaliation) and sacrifice (absorption of extractive consequences).

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Questions for this article

Protecting women and girls against violence, Is progress being made?

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Assassinations are the most visible form of direct violence, but all threats to women defenders are difficult to document owing to censorship and a lack of dat. Lacking documentation of violence against women especially is also prevalent owing to discursive discrimination against women treating the loss of their lives as normal, deserved and ‘ungrievable. To address this gap, this article examines 523 cases from the Environmental Justice Atlas (EJAtlas) involving WEDs, 81 of which involve WEDs assassinated for their advocacy. Routine assassinations of WEDs are not isolated incidences, but rather political tactics forcefully making way for extractivism. Media reports often focus on gruesome details to sensationalize yet trivialize WEDs’ struggles, often not recording names, let alone their struggle. Patterns of extractive violence against women thus remain overlooked.

In this Article, we address the following questions: (1) Where and under which circumstances do WEDs experience different forms of violence leading up to their assassinations? (2) How do structural patterns of violence affect women defenders? Log-linear regression traced distributions of violence against WEDs across conflict types, commodities and impacts. Binomial regression then addressed structural patterns in countries where WEDs were assassinated. This article contributes global patterns of violence against WEDs. We broaden analyses to circumstances leading up to and including assassinations because ecocide is not limited to killings, but rather encompasses displacement, repression, criminalization and violent targeting. Given our statistical approach and the nature of the material, we are aware of the potential dehumanization of WEDs’ circumstances and denial of their agency. However, quantitative data analysis using a large, representative sample is necessary for strengthening arguments that patterns of violence against women defenders found in qualitative, locally focused case studies are not outliers, but rather are occurring worldwide.

Regarding circumstances informing WED assassinations, extrajudicial killings predominantly occurred in Latin America, Asia and Africa. Many cases were in the Philippines, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico (Fig. 1). Even in Southern cases, some in Costa Rica, Kenya, Rwanda and Saint Lucia targeted Global North expatriates. The data are skewed towards the Philippines. There were 19 WED assassination cases, more than double compared with Colombia in second place. Some Philippines cases were massacres or serial killings, assassinating 26 WEDs across 19 cases, whereas cases elsewhere targeted one or two at a time.

Figure 2 shows that the types of conflict with high statistical significance (P ≤ 0.05) of violence against WEDs were biomass and land, mineral extraction and industrial and utilities conflicts. The distribution of violence throughout biomass and land conflicts (n = 146) was that nearly half of all corresponding cases involved repression (41%), criminalization (43%) and violent targeting (48%) of women defenders. . . .

Discussion (excerpts)

. . . . Overall, an ecocide–genocide–gender connection is thus apparent in how assassinations and extractive violence were situated within contexts producing gender-specific vulnerabilities for women defenders. Ecocidal dispossession of lands and resources, as many of the EJAtlas cases corroborate, often began upon intrusion of masculinized extractive industries into communities. Genocide caused cultural and physical erasure of peoples standing in the way of extractivism, and ecocide further accomplished such erasure through undermining women’s agency. As occurred in the deadliest countries towards WEDs, changing land ownership regimes8 used patriarchal ideologies to foster ecocidal conditions (extermination, persecution, survivor assimilation and cultural erasure) emboldening violence in subtly gendered manifestations of repression, criminalization, violent targeting and assassination.

The ecocide of Indigenous peoples across Southeast Asian EJAtlas cases, for example, has distinctly gendered aspects. Many Southeast Asian Indigenous peoples formerly had alternative gender cosmologies beyond man–woman binaries and with relatively more egalitarian power relations. Colonization goes beyond territorial invasion. Consequently, colonization and ensuing extractive land grabbing brought new legal, administrative and market structures concentrating (often militarized) power among men. We argue that, through discrimination and violence, these institutions committed ecocidal–genocidal–gendered violence by exterminating and persecuting Indigenous community leaders, erasing formerly egalitarian gender roles and relations, and assimilating survivors into marginalized, binary and unequal gendered labour and social divisions.

Ecocide rewrites WEDs’ histories and bodies as inferior and deserving of extermination. Ecocidal control of populations2 then occurs as fear of and actually experienced gendered (lethal) violence not only deters mobilizations but also creates impunity as women are less able to mobilize safely and openly. Moreover, while most cases do not explicitly report WED involvement or violence, this reflects representational and mobilization inequalities. For instance, there is a difference in how Indigenous and non-Indigenous women defenders negotiate and are impacted by extractive violence in different ways. Such intersectional differences exist and should be explored in future work.

Angola Debates The Women’s Role In Building Peace And Democracy


An article from the African Media Agency

The Angolan vice-president, Esperança da Costa, will open this Thursday, May 25, the 1st International Women’s Forum for Peace and Democracy, in an event that will also involve, as speakers, like Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (former President of the Republic of Liberia), Epsy Campbell Barr – former Vice President of Costa Rica (Member of the UNHCR Permanent Forum for People of African Descent) and Zahira Virani (Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System Nations in Angola).

Video of the event

The 1st International Women’s Forum for Peace and Democracy, which takes place over two days (May 25th and 26th, at the Hotel Intercontinental Miramar), is an event that focuses on women’s struggle for equality, emancipation, continental development for Peace and Democracy, part of the Luanda Biennial – Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence, which is a joint initiative between the Government of Angola, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization ( UNESCO) and the African Union (AU).

Operatively coordinated by the Minister of State for Social Action, Dalva Ringote Allen, the 1st International Women’s Forum for Peace and Democracy, which takes place under the theme “Technological Innovation and Education for the Achievement of Gender Equality” and with the motto “Innovation Technology as a Tool for Achieving Food Security Combating Drought on the African Continent”, aims to:

* Reaffirm and strengthen political commitment to action on gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls and their human rights, ensuring high-level engagement,

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(Click here for information in Portuguese)

Question for this article

Can the women of Africa lead the continent to peace?

The Luanda Biennale: What is its contribution to a culture of peace in Africa?

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* Foment discussion events through round tables, high-level interactive dialogues, to exchange experiences, lessons learned and good practices.
* Debate on the status of gender equality on the African continent, identifying goals and achievements achieved, and challenges to fill existing gaps

The 1st International Women’s Forum for Peace and Democracy also has the following specific objectives:

* Identify areas of convergence within the national chapters of the Bienal de Luanda and expand the position of groups of young women leaders at national level,

* Establish regional, continental and international cooperation protocols,

* Propose concrete actions for the qualification of young women, promoting opportunities for access to the labor market.

In order to materialize these objectives, five thematic panels were programmed, globally, for the two days of work, namely “The challenges of globalization in the process of gender empowerment”, “Technological innovation and education to achieve gender equality” , “Formalization as a mechanism for social and financial inclusion”, “Challenges of food security and climate change on the African continent” and “The role of women in consolidating peace and preventing conflicts”.

The program of the 1st International Women’s Forum for Peace and Democracy includes two master classes in the conference auditorium of the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas, with the themes “Challenges of Food Security and Climate Change on the African Continent”, by Papa Abdoulaye Seck (former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Equipment and Ambassador of Senegal to Italy) and “Financing for Development in Africa Calls for a Paradigm Change: The Driving Role of Domestic Resources”, by Cristina Isabel Lopes Duarte – Adviser to the Secretary General of UN for Africa.

The 1st International Women’s Forum for Peace and Democracy is aimed at Women Leaders of African Regional Organizations, Women Leaders, Heads of Government and members of the PALOPS, CPLP and OEACP. International and National Organizations, Representatives of Diplomatic Missions, Representatives of public sector entities, Public and private companies and Private sector entities.