Women on the Frontlines of Peace and Security
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV FORT MCNAIR DC
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Here is a simple yet profound truth If we hope to prevent conflicts and build lasting peace wherever war, violence, and instability threaten communities, we must empower women as full and equal partners at every step. The moral argument is clear. Women are half the population. It is only right that they participate in the discussions and decisions that will shape their futures. But this is also a strategic goal because women are not only victims of conflict, but they are also agents of peace. There are remarkable stories of women crusading for peace and lasting security in places such as Colombia, Kosovo, Liberia, Yemen, Iraq, and too many others to list. Around the world, dozens of conflicts are undermining stability, ravaging the fabric of society, and destroying populations. Persuading warring factions to lay down their arms is only the first step. An enduring peace needs reconciliation and justice. Citizens need opportunity and lasting security. Societies need to rebuild trust. Without these, peace can be hollow and fleeting. Indeed, we know from history how frequently peace agreements fail. There is a growing body of evidence that shows how outcomes are better for whole societies when women participate in peace talks, security-sector planning, and reconstruction efforts. For example, women often raise day-to-day issues such as human rights, citizen security, employment, and health-care, which make peace and security plans more relevant and more durable. They speak on behalf of marginalized groups, often crossing cultural and sectarian divides, which helps give voice to everyone seeking a peaceful future. And once consensus is reached, women can help translate peace from an agreement on paper into changes that make a real difference in people s lives. On a practical level, women often know about the dynamics and events in the community through their daily interactions.
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