THIS is apropos of Zubeida Mustafa’s article ‘Where are the peace women?’ (Aug 10) regarding the role of women in maintaining peace. She believes that without women’s involvement there can be no permanent peace as they are the ones who come up with solutions that reduce conflict.
I agree with her. Women are in a unique position to effect reconciliation and promote values which lead to the prevention of violent conflict. They are often the first to take the risk for maintaining peace of a nation.
Women have many roles in maintaining peace. The function women have in the reconciliation process is complex, reflecting the multiple roles they have in society. They are peace educators in their family, in schools and elsewhere.
Their network of knowledge about local affairs makes them watchful about how to monitor alert for rumours, increasing tension, a sudden influx of weapons and other signs of potential conflict. Women are not only primary stakeholders in conflict but also rival as role negotiators and originators of new approaches to peace.
Women’s role as contributors to peace-building is under-utilised and remains lacking in being recognised at community, national and international levels. Women’s peace-building approaches in response to violent conflict are key elements to the attainment of human security and peace.
Llives of children are jeopardised when women are not protected and when their contribution towards maintaining peace is undermined. Women are caretakers of families at the household level during conflict.
Women contribute to peace-building by instilling good moral values in their children and making them responsible members of the community. They teach their sons and daughters proper behaviour and ethics of society and impress upon them the importance of values such as honesty, uprightness, norms of tradition and the need to compromise.
Women have always been active carriers of harmony in the community which can be referred to as a culture of peace.
During conflict women are mostly assigned the responsibility to take care of the family. They are at higher risk of being abducted, injured by landmine, displaced, raped or tortured during long working hours to collect water and firewood for cooking food. They do not have any weapons and many of them are enslaved by their husbands.
Sustainable peace requires full participation of women at all stages of the peace process. Yet they have been excluded from moral efforts to develop and implement fresh workable solutions towards their seemingly intractable struggles.
Their involvement in these mechanisms which prevent conflict, stop war and stabilise the region damaged by warfare is essential.
The role of women in peace-building is imperative, hence their need to be protected and guaranteed. Women’s full participation in building peace has to be enhanced. There needs to be specific focus upon building their capacity.