#42 Women Rising!! Cause for Hope (Jan 2016)
Men cannot deliver enduring peace. As pointed out in this essay by AFWW's founder Judith Hand, since the beginning of recorded history we have been "Locked in the Embrace of Male Biology," and despite the now-and-then efforts of men of good will to end the barbarity, we have experienced unending cycles of war.
Recent advances in knowledge, looking at both biology and actually measuring rates of war in many cultures, reveals that when a society empowers women in leadership positions, rates of internal and external wars significantly decline. See, for examples, the book Sex and World Peace, by Valerie M. Hudson, Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill, Mary Caprioli, & Chad F. Emmett, 2012.
Evolutionary biologist Dr. Judith Hand explains why putting women into leadership roles correlates with a decline in wars. In Shift: The Beginning of War, The Ending of War she explores the biology of why women are significantly different from men when it comes to using physical violence to resolve conflicts, including the violence of war.
In essence--and in very broad terms--physical violence and war are highly disadvantageous to women's reproductive success while using physical violence can actually be advantageous for male reproductive success; consequently, natural selection has produced a sexual difference (sexual dimorphism) in women's and men's proclivity for using violence, with women much more strongly preferring to live in and create socially stable (peaceful) communities.
Because of this stronger-than-men's female preference for social stability as opposed to war, empowering a critical mass of women leaders is a necessary condition of an enduring peace. It is not a guarantee, as other aspects of culture must also change if war is to become a bad memory of humanity's past, but without the shared input of women into our social lives and governing bodies, history makes clear that enduring peace will continue to elude us.
Recognition of this power of women to profoundly change our approaches to conflict resolution is growing rapidly. Below you will find recent examples of the historically swift rise of women in leadership for you to consider, enjoy, and share with others:
Swanee Hunt talks with Fareed Zakaria on The Global Public Square
Former US Ambassador
Swanee Hunt, Lecturer at the Harvard University School of Government, has worked for years on the relationship of women to public life. She is the founder of Women Waging Peace and the Institute for Inclusive Security.
On January 4, 2016, she spoke with author and journalist Fareed Zakaria on his television show, The Global Public Square. She tells the story about her discovery of the importance of women to peace negotiations. Her message was simple: She discovered how when women are included in negotiations, the women work across lines and are more willing than men to compromise, which leads to a different kind of peace agreement, one that lasts.
Her interview was followed by Zakaria interviews of two women who illustrate the concept: Alaa Murabit, a woman involved in the Libyan conflict, and a Nigerian Christian Pastor, Esther Ibanga, a woman who founded a group called Women Without Walls. This group brought women from two different communities together, Christian and Muslim, to fight a common enemy, an approach that achieved success when working separately did not. This uniting of efforts by women from the opposed camps is reminiscent of the success Christian and Muslim women had in facilitating a peace treaty for their country, Liberia, so vividly depicted in the film "Pray the Devil Back to Hell," which can be viewed for free online.
Dr. Hunt also highlighted the case of Ruanda, where very high numbers of women are in the Congress, and huge advances in many indicators of social progress are being made remarkably quickly.
You can see the entire 7 minute interview of all three women here: http://tinyurl.com/jooh4o5
Progress for Women in 2015
The Washington-based Institute for Inclusive Security, founded by Dr. Swanee Hunt, works with courageous women across the globe, in places like Syria, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and South Sudan. The Institute's year-end report offers examples of progress made in 2015:
Women Defied ISIS in Syria
In Sudan, Women's Representation Jumped from 4 to 207
$10-25 Million was Earmarked for Women in the Police in Afghanistan
National Policies for National Action Plans for Women was Strengthened in Dozen of Countries
Read the entire year-end brief report here.
A Woman Secretary General of the UN?
In an article for the Women's Media Center (WMC), Shazia Rafi explores the exciting possibility that it may be time for the Secretary General of the United Nations to be a woman. Rafi is a former Secretary-General of Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) and a WMC SheSource Expert on a variety of international security issues such as arms control, international treaties, and international women's rights.
The article begins by saying that "2016 has started with two strong campaigns--by some 48 governments, led by Colombia's female ambassador to the United nations, and by NGOs, led by women experts on the UN--to elect the first woman secretary-general of the UN."
She reviews campaigns that have taken place in the past to promote a woman to the post and the nature of the current campaigns. She briefly explains what is involved in becoming the Secretary General, not a simple process. Then she highlights and lists some of the women being considered.
The listing itself points up in an exciting way the numbers of powerful and talented women of experience around the globe who are part of creating that "critical mass" of women needed to put in place a global peace system. Names mentioned are:
Irina Bokova of Bulgaria,
Vesna Pusic, foreign minister of Croatia,
Federica Mogherini of Italy,
Helen Clark of New Zealand,
Susana Malcorra of Argentina,
Karen Christiana Figueres Olsen of Costa Rica,
Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar of Colombia,
Michelle Bachelet of Chile, and
Angela Merkel of Germany
You can read the entire article here:
"Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war."
Martin Luther King, Jr
A Good Book
The book introducing the Nobel Peace Prize recipient Malala Yousafzai, "I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban."
Whether Malala knows it or not, her advocacy of education for girls is a major weapon in the struggle to end war, because the empowerment of women is a necessary condition for winning and maintaining such a future.
A Good Movie
"Suffragette", starring Meryl Streep in a cameo of Emmeline Pankhurst and Carey Mulligan as a British woman who is awakened to the need for women to have a vote in order to have a say. The harsh lives of women of that era are powerfully depicted, and serve as a gripping reminder to the young women of now just what kind of lives they might have been living if the women who went before them had not been wiling to suffer beatings and jail and even risk-of-life to make change happen.
A Future Without War
Believe in it.
Work for it.
And we will achieve it.