Feminist.com Women and Peace Division
“… seven of us women gathered in a makeshift office / conference room to discuss the Liberian civil war and the fast approaching war on the capital Monrovia. Armed with nothing but our conviction and $10 United States dollars, the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace Campaign was born.”
- Nobel lecture by Leymah Roberta Gbowee, Oslo, 10 December 2011
“I have always believed that human civilization is the fruit of the effort of both women and men. … The solution to women’s issues can only be achieved in a free and democratic society in which human energy is liberated, the energy of both women and men together. Our civilization is called human civilization and is not attributed only to men or women.”
- Nobel lecture by Tawakkol Karman, Oslo, 10 December 2011
Feminist.com’s new Women and Peace Division will serve to showcase women’s groundbreaking peacebuilding work across the globe, their stories and expert analysis on peace and war, and critical tools for action and advocacy.
Drawing from a diversity of perspectives and resources, it will support women’s full participation alongside peace-seeking men in all aspects of the peace process. It will enable connection and collaboration across physical and ideological divides, leveraging its 16 years as the Internet’s definitive hub for resources and information dedicated to women’s equality, justice, wellness and safety.
Women and girls are disproportionately affected by war, as targets of sexual violence, widows and orphans, and the majority living as refugees and in poverty. In the 21st century, they remain virtually absent from peacemaking tables, making up less than 8 percent of official negotiating parties—which determine power-sharing agreements and post-conflict priorities that have drastic effects on women’s lives.
Yet women are hardly silent victims, but are demanding and organizing for peace and equality in their communities and the world. The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureates represent just three of the thousands of courageous women peacemakers who are essential actors in their countries’ fight for freedom from violence and repression.
From global to local levels, the important role of women in peace and security is gaining unprecedented attention. Recently Secretary Hillary Clinton announced the United States’ commitment to train and include women in post-conflict political processes. UN Women was created to accelerate progress in meeting the needs of women and girls worldwide, with peace and security being a major area of focus. All-female peacekeeping troops have been deployed in several countries, and their presence is proving to help reduce conflict and provide a safer environment for women and children.
“We worked daily confronting warlords, meeting with dictators and refusing to be silenced in the face of AK 47 and RPGs. We walked when we had no transportation, we fasted when water was unaffordable, we held hands in the face of danger, we spoke truth to power when everyone else was being diplomatic, we stood under the rain and the sun with our children to tell the world the stories of the other side of the conflict. Our educational backgrounds, travel experiences, faiths, and social classes did not matter. We had a common agenda: Peace for Liberia Now.”
- Nobel lecture by Leymah Roberta Gbowee, Oslo, 10 December 2011
The launch of the Women and Peace Division could not be more timely, and Feminist.com is uniquely positioned to provide this new online platform. In fact, the most prevalent search terms that bring visitors to Feminist.com is “women” and “peace.”
The internet has proven to be a key tool in the dissemination of information and gathering of support for millions of women and men risking their lives in the Arab Spring, as well as the many other struggles for peace and social justice throughout the world. The unique perspectives and actions of women peace activists are reaching global audiences, as the virtual space provides a freedom of speech and safety that is unavailable in many places, especially for women.
The Women and Peace Division will harness technology to allow conversations across physical, ideological, and institutional divides that couldn’t otherwise happen, as well as to engage diverse audiences that would be impossible to gather in a non-virtual space. It will empower Feminist.com readers to become more informed and involved, and will bring important support to the work of women peacemakers across the globe.
The launch of the Women and Peace Division will occur primarily in two phases:
- Build/expand basic structure of website
- Launch “Bridging the Divide” section/column
- Stories of women peacemakers
- Columns/articles/excerpts by women peace activists/ representatives of peace organizations
- List of resources/links
- Links to all information already on Feminist.com relevant to Women and Peace
Phase two: Far more interactive and exclusive content
- First-hand coverage by women survivors and peacemakers from around the world
- Increase and enhance the content of all features from the first phase
- Interactive map (linking to content on Feminist.com about women, war, and peace in a particular region/country/campaign/event)
- Features of specific peace campaigns and a way to directly support women peacemakers/peacemaking organizations featured on the Women and Peace Division
- Interactive calendar with events from around the world
- In-person events with key women waging peace
“As curtains are raised and as the sun shines upon dark places, what was previously invisible comes into view. Technology has turned our world into one interconnected neighborhood. What happens in one place is seen in every corner, and there has been no better time for the spread of peace, democracy and their attending social justice and fairness for all. Today, across the globe, women, and also men, from all walks of life are finding the courage to say, loudly and firmly, in a thousand languages, “No more.” They reject mindless violence, and defend the fundamental values of democracy, of open society, of freedom, and of peace.”
- Nobel lecture by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Oslo, 10 December 2011
As we move forward with the Women and Peace Division, we are assembling a group of high-profile and highly engaged women and men as our advisory board. There has never been a time when so many are starting to understand the critical role that women play in peace. There has never been a time when acheiving peace has been so critical to the lives of so many women.
With your help, we can launch this division and provide resources and support to women active in peace all around the world.