The role of women as peacebuilders is critical to ensuring sustainable peace initiatives. It is so important, that it was enshrined in a United Nations Resolution (1325) nearly 25 years ago. The resolution recognised that women are disproportionately affected by conflict and reaffirmed the vital role women have in peacebuilding and reconciliation.
Despite this, women peacebuilders still face steep obstacles, direct resistance and great personal risk in trying to shape the future of their communities and countries. A lack of funding for women peacebuilders and a shrinking of women’s rights around the world, mean that women peacebuilders have to fight harder to be included. We need to embrace equity, if women are to take their rightful places in building peace.
This International Women’s Day (8 March), we celebrate women peacebuilders from around the world, who are claiming their role as changemakers, and striving for peace. The stories below introduce a diverse group of women peacebuilders using their unique approaches to peacebuilding to bridge divides and begin to heal the trauma of conflict.
Creating space for women’s dialogue in the Somali region of Ethiopia
Two prominent members of the Women's Dialogue Space share their stories of what the platform means to them, and reflect on the challenges and opportunities faced by women in the region. The platform supports current and emerging women leaders in politics, civil society and business in the Somali region of Ethiopia to jointly strategise and amplify women’s voices in the public sphere.
“Women are the prime-movers of peace”
Women’s meaningful participation in peace processes is fundamental to ensuring a sustainable and transformative peace. Sha Elijah Dumama is the Floor Leader in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, the interim regional government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of the Philippines. We talked to her about women’s inclusion and what embracing equity means to her.
Unlocking the power of peacebuilding in Kashmir through art
Ezabir Ali’s work with women has sought to build peace across sectarian divides, deal with the trauma of protracted conflict and advocate for women’s rights in the complex legal systems which are often stacked against them. Recently she has been supporting women to deal with conflict through art and creative writing. Through drawing, writing short stories or crafting poetry, women in her workshops have been able to connect with others by sharing these narratives and reinforcing the idea that aspirations for peace are universal.
Including persons with disabilities in peacebuilding
In the Philippines, as in many other countries, disability discrimination is entrenched and reinforced through superstition and misconceptions. Norhanie Mamasabulod Taha is a member of the Community Safety Working Group for Barangay Long in the Philippines, and lives with restricted mobility following a childhood accident. She works to support women peacebuilders, and link excluded indigenous and religious communities to security sector reform across Mindanao. Her work is slowly shifting attitudes in her community to acknowledge what persons with disabilities can achieve when treated equitably.
Acknowledging societal trauma in Nagorny Karabakh
Larissa Sotieva and Juliet Schofield of conflict transformation organisation Indie Peace, have examined the effect that societal trauma has on peacebuilding efforts on Nagorny Karabakh. They have researched the impacts of trauma on society and supported local communities in getting actively involved in their own rehabilitation.