Women: Essential in Peace Processes

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The United Nations is convinced that if women were included in the peace process there would be no conflicts. The linkages between gender equality and permanent peace are obvious to those inside the U.N. The other side of the coin is when women are in the middle of the conflict; when that is the case, then the U.N. is equally convinced that women living in war zones are especially vulnerable. So, there is a whole movement built around the dual concepts of women’s role in peace building and the impact of armed conflict on women.

These are both serious business at the U.N. United Nations peacekeeping missions now have “gender advisors” or “gender units” and, currently, the U.N. is seeking a gender advisor for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations at United Nations Headquarters. Regional workshops are being conducted around the world in such topics as conflict management for women, women in peacemaking, and gender mainstreaming for disarmament.

Amazingly, the U.N. commissioned a gender analysis of 264 reports to the Security Council covering a two-year period. The analysis revealed that “the majority of the reports made no or little mention of women or gender issues” and that was interpreted as “indicative of the need for practical tools to enhance the capacity of all actors to ensure systematic attention to the participation of women and the promotion of gender equality in all aspects of peace processes.”

The nongovernmental organizations (NGO) stress the fact that women have always played a major role in peace processes, but more often in informal initiatives, like capacity building and mobilizations for peace rather than in the official, formal peace negotiations (that are often conducted by military leaders and political decision-makers).

Ironically, those complaining most loudly about the absence of women in the peace process recognize that women in general lack the basic qualifications and experience at this point — negotiation requires specific skills and an effective mandate to speak on behalf of those doing the negotiating and the necessity for expertise, membership in the group, mediation and international experience. The recommended solution? Put more women on key delegations and mediation teams anyway.

Ultimately, claims the United Nations, any peace process that leaves women out will fail: “A peace process that fails to include women in agenda-setting, substantive talks and implementation raises questions about the democratic legitimacy of the process and lacks the inclusiveness to generate any sense of ownership among women. This can undermine the prospect for the durability of the agreement and sustainable peace.”

So, the United Nations is calling for whole reams of new actions — special task forces to compile data on gender composition of mediation teams, training workshops and briefings for those who work in negotiations, special efforts to ensure gender balance and gender equity, funding for positions in peace processes and to create networks and associations.

Henceforth, all peace agreements must be examined to ensure gender parity – including international and regional peacekeeping forces. They also must include a gender unit report on the code of conduct and compliance with gender issues for all military operations and public spaces where military forces have been or are currently occupying.

In all their dozens of recommendations and proposals regarding women and combat, by the way, they add that all countries ought to ratify CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women) and the ICC (International Criminal Court).

Not only is the U.N. spending millions of dollars on foolish schemes to get women included in peacekeeping processes – that is just the latest iteration! The elites continue to promote dangerous ideas to countries that are dependent upon the largess of the U.N.

And, the far-left NGOs continue to write materials that form the basis of proposals that spread their ideologies around the globe.

Do you get the picture? The U.N. is “using” women to argue for every flawed cause the far-left has advocated over the years. And, they are using every cause they have advocated over the years to promote their flawed version of the advancement of women. It is hard to take it all seriously when their arguments are themselves so logically flawed – and sometimes so contradictory – and when those promoting the ideas are so self-important.

Yet, far too often, their impact is serious indeed.

Jessica Lynch became part of the new breed of woman motivated by such lofty-sounding ideas. She joined the Services to become a mundane supply clerk behind the lines in the hope of returning to her home state of West Virginia to teach school and live a quiet life. But, things didn’t quite turn out that way for Jessica (or for several of her female friends, either). She is back home. Her rehabilitation is ongoing and some of her injuries can’t be fixed. But, at least, she did return home.

Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse and Wendy Wright are non-government organization (NGO) representatives to the United Nations from Concerned Women for America. Dr. Crouse is Senior Fellow of the Beverly LaHaye Institute. Miss Wright is Senior Policy Director responsible for international and life issues. They are in New York attending the 2004 sessions of the Commission on the Status of Women.

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