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Women and Peace Building

Women have voice and power to be agents of change. Women’s agency, voice and capacities, as well as a real gender perspective are critical to local dialogues, better policies and more equitable peace deals.

Peace building involves a full range of approaches, processes, and stages needed for transformation toward more sustainable, peaceful relationships and governance modes and structures. Peace building includes building legal and human rights institutions as well as fair and effective governance and dispute resolution processes and systems.

It is known that the majority of persons displaced by war are women and so it is understood that women could play an important role in efforts to resolve conflicts. A researcher called Sylvester described the Athenian women “beautiful souls loving peace”. This is in agreement with feminist theory that argues women are inherently peaceful, capable of preaching, teaching, and preserving peace.

A study done by Bobbitt and Pearson-D’Estree revealed that in conflict resolution workshops; groups comprising only women came out with more constructive discussions than groups with mixed gender. This aligns with the relative notion that describes women are very trustworthy, dependable, and exhibit a high level of honesty and integrity. Women are dedicated, reliable, and committed to family and national aspirations and goals.

Surprisingly, women have not walked away unconcerned either because of anger or fear, they have been proactive in the resolution of conflicts, but their roles have before now not been given deserved prominence or recognition as Ferris narrated.

Women had forged the way for groups to cross ethnic barriers and rebuild fractured relationships. It is important that a discussion on women and peace building not be limited to a preoccupation with numbers or what has been termed as “add women and stir”. Rather the goal of getting a “critical mass” of women into decision-making positions in peace building organizations is vital, this can only be a starting point. The challenge lies in building an unequivocal peace and security that privileges the perspectives of both men and women, and that holds as central the values of coexistence, non-violence, and inclusivity.

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