Leymah Gbowee 311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
More than 50 percent of peace agreements fail within five years of being signed.
This is partly due to the fact that peace negotiations and peace agreements do
not address the underlying causes of the conflict.
Alongside the raw
quest for power, issues such as poverty, unequal distribution of resources,
exploitation and injustice are at the root of conflict. Societies that
are fragmented, where internal fighting, prejudice and discrimination run
rampant, and where social and economic inequality surge, lack the resilience
necessary to support the transition from conflict to peace.
Women are at
the forefront of societies, waging war to change these conditions. It is women
who care for the disentitled members of society. It is women who continue to be
the primary caretakers of children, aging parents and individuals with special
needs. Women uphold the home when men go to war and it is women and their
children who are left to cope when men do not return from war. Women spearhead
initiatives to fight inequality, discrimination, injustice and
Despite their role in safeguarding societies, women are
largely absent from the peace table. Moreover, issues that are at the
root of conflict and critical for sustainable peace are rarely part of peace
negotiation agendas. In 2010 the UN Development Fund for Women found that women
comprise less than 10% of negotiators and less than 3% of the signatories to
peace agreements. The UN itself has never appointed a woman chief
On December 10 we will celebrate, together with women and men
around the world, as Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman
are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their struggle to ensure “women’s rights
to full participation in peace-building work.” The decision by the Nobel Peace
Prize Committee to recognize these women for their work broadcasts a clear
message: Women are at the forefront – making societies more just, more
democratic and more peaceful for all people, men and women alike.
time when women’s presence in the public sphere threatens the future of Israeli
democracy, the Nobel Peace Prize Committee’s recognition of women’s rights to
full participation is a breath of fresh air. It is a message that calls for
actions here at home – certainly in the realm of peace, yet no less critical in
the realm of public transportation, the military, the religious establishment,
government and more. The State of Israel will become stronger by taking measures
to ensure that half of its population is on the front line in all domains of
influence of society.