Including Women in Decision-Making Around the World Is Essential for Peace and Progress
By Sophie Partridge-Hicks, Global Citizen, November 12, 2020
The global community must recommit itself to including women in peacebuilding processes.
Last month, United Nations leaders said that women continue to be underrepresented in key decision-making opportunities on the 20th anniversary of the adoption of Security Council resolution 1325 on women and peace and security.
This landmark resolution in 2000 confirmed the importance of women participating in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, humanitarian response, and in post-conflict reconstruction, the UN noted.
But UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka says that there is a need for the global community to recommit itself to including women in peacebuilding processes today.
Between 1992 and 2019, only 13% of negotiators, 6% of mediators, and 6% of peace agreement signatories around the world were women, Mlambo-Ngcuka said at a Security Council meeting. However, research from UN Women shows that the chances of peace agreements lasting more than two years increase by 20% when women participate in the process.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further emphasized the importance of involving women in conflict and crisis management.
Studies show that women are most affected by COVID-19 and often bear the brunt of economic disasters and conflicts around the world. During the pandemic, women are more at risk as they are on the front lines of medical aid and are more likely to work in industries impacted by shutdowns.
“Women are still systematically excluded, confined to informal processes, or relegated to the role of spectators, while men sit in the rooms that will define their lives and decide their future,” Mlambo-Ngcuka said.
Around the world, women have been serving as the frontline responders on the local level in their communities. Their work as doctors, nurses, teachers, farmers, and in other important industries, has been vital in keeping communities, economies, and societies running amid the pandemic.
“We have seen the remarkable success that many women leaders have had in containing the pandemic while supporting people’s livelihoods,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a speech last month. “This confirms an obvious truth: institutions, organizations, companies, and yes, governments work better when they include half of society, rather than ignoring it.”
To try and develop meaningful participation and engagement among women peacebuilders, UN Women outlines five goals.
Some of the goals include reversing the upward trajectory in global military spending, allocating 15% of official development assistance to advancing gender equality, and unconditionally defending women’s rights around the world.
What is Peace Journalism?
By Kate Roff, Peace News, September 26, 2016
Have you noticed that news media often cover war and violence, but rarely peace and reconciliations?
“Very rarely do I see things which I think are balanced,” Peace Process Consultant Paul Clifford said in the film Peace Journalism in the Philippines.
“The media unfortunately, in many instances, I think have got sucked into this notion that it’s all about the war on terror,” he said.
But a new style of conflict reporting is emerging. Peace Journalism is a way of reporting war in a way that aims to balance sensationalist stories.
Dr Johan Galtung founded the field of Peace Studies, and has been working on Peace Journalism since 1960. It is now taught, and practiced, world-wide. He said Peace Journalism is a way of “counter-acting” mainstream media.
“Above all,” he told Peace News, “telling the positive stories.”
The field is about approaching war-reporting with peace in mind, according to leading figures like Dr Jake Lynch from the University of Sydney’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies.
“There are many different ways of reporting conflicts,” Dr Lynch told WACC Global.
“What we say is that in some cases you can report them in such a way as to create opportunities for societies at large to consider and value non-violent responses to conflict.”
Dr Julia Hoffmann told UPeace that journalists do have an impact on conflict, and that cannot be ignored.
“Journalists are party to the conflicts they cover – whether they want to [be] or not,” she said.
Peace Journalism is not always easy. Dr Annabel McGoldrick, from the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, admitted it can time-consuming.
“Reaching people in remote areas and hearing what they have to say is, by definition difficult,” she said in her film with Dr Lynch, Peace Journalism in the Philippines.
“It can’t be done every time something happens.”
But it is possible.
Dr Steven Youngblood, director of the Center for Global Peace Journalism, said that the style of reporting isn’t just relevant to reporting on direct violence, and can be applied to any form of conflict. Peace Journalism can even be used to cover domestic politics, including elections.
His advice for applying Peace Journalism closer to home?
“Don’t just report about polls and surveys – and this is a big problem with American media, who particularly in this election cycle (with Donald Trump) have become obsessed with polls and so on,” he said.
“We wouldn’t suggest that you don’t report polls and surveys, but that when you over-report them as a consequence you end up under-reporting issues that really matter to the public.”
Peace Journalism means less sensation, and more context, so citizens can understand the bigger picture and make informed decisions.