women in peace building
The United Nation’s Security Council Resolution 1325 created a mandate to include women in peace building; women now have the opportunity to use this policy to open doors to new opportunities for women in peace building.
In their paper on “The Role of Women and Peace building” (2005), Lisa Schirch and Manjrika Sewak highlighted several reasons why women should not be left out in peace processes.
The duo who was writing for the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflicts said because women are half of every community and the tasks of peace building are so great, women and men must be partners in the process of peace building.
They also argued that because women are the central caretakers of families in many cultures, everyone suffers when women are oppressed, victimized, and excluded from peace building. Their centrality to communal life makes their inclusion in peace building essential.
The two also indicated that because women have the capacity for both violence and peace, they must be encouraged to use their gifts in building peace.
“Because women are excluded from public decision-making, leadership, and educational opportunities in many communities around the world, it is important to create special programmes to empower women to use their gifts in the tasks of building peace,” they stated.
They further gave several other reasons why it’s important to involve women in the search for peace by saying that because women and men have different experiences of violence and peace, women must be allowed and encouraged to bring their unique insights and gifts to the process of peace building.
Because sexism, racism, classism, ethnic and religious discrimination originate from the same set of beliefs that some people are inherently “better” than others, women’s empowerment should be seen as inherent to the process of building peace.
Like other social structures that set up some people as superior to others, the sexist belief that women’s lives are less valuable than men’s lives leads to violence against women.
When women engage in peace building, they often challenge these sexist beliefs along with other structures that discriminate against people.