Point IX of the Letter of Peace addressed to the UN states that world peace cannot be built in the heart of society whilst the rights and dignity of all collectives- including the most underprivileged- are not respected or recognised.
I would like to emphasize the role of women in areas such as culture, religion, economy, human rights, health, masculinity, science, tradition and democracy. We can look at these values from a feminine perspective in defence of women of the world, but above all from the role of women in conflict resolution and peace building processes.
Resolution 1325 passed by the UN Security Council in 2000 exhorts the Secretary General and the member states to take action to achieve a greater inclusion of women in peace building processes as well as in post-conflict reconstruction. Since then, great advances have been made, but much still has to be done to implement it fully.
As an essential condition for peace to be kept and promoted, the aforementioned resolution recognises the need for women to access and participate in power structures and for them to be involved in efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts, as peace is inextricably linked to equality between men and women. Theo- Ben Gurirab, who was president of the Security Council when Resolution 1325 was passed, voiced this idea in the following words: “Women are half of every community … Are they, therefore, not also half of every solution?”
In Catalonia, the “law 11/10th July 1989” created the Catalan Women’s Institute, with the aim of promoting equal rights and non-discrimination between the sexes, as well as the equal participation of women in social, cultural, economic and political life. However, this law did not address the role of women in conflict resolution processes.
It was not until the start of the new century that the debate began over woman’s participation in analytical processes, policy making and negotiation. Before this period international relations tended to be androcentric, despite the fact that women clearly have a decisive role in opening and maintaining dialogue.
Many woman’s’ organisations have campaigned widely for peace, albeit in Arabic countries or in our own. This is true of Nawal Al-Sa’dawi, Egyptian author and founder of the Egyptian Women’s Union; Fouzia Assouli, Secretary General of the League for the rights of women in Morroco and Wajeha Al-Huwaider, human rights activist in Saudi Arabia, who have carried out their work anonymously within civil society.
It is time for these efforts that have gone unnoticed for years to get the recognition and promotion they deserve, raising awareness of their presence not just amongst those who support them, but throughout society in general.
It must be reiterated that only by ensuring the integrated and equal rights and opportunities of the most underprivileged may we guarantee worldwide dignity and spread the stability that will lead the way to building peace in the most conflictive geographical areas.
Isabel Coll (Interpreter and Translator)
Spain - Gerona