International: International women leaders discuss security and women's empowerment
Also it is expected that The President of the Republic of Finland, Prime Minister of Ukraine, First Lady of Egypt, the US Secretary of State, the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, and Commissioners Margot Wallström, Hübner and Kroes are the other prominent participants.
Given below is the full text of the press release issued by the EU office in Colombo:
The role of women in promoting peace and security is increasingly acknowledged, with UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women and Peace and Security as a crucial reference point, though much still remains to be done at all levels to implement this resolution. On the eve of the International Women’s Day more than 50 international women leaders will meet in Brussels to discuss the role of women in stabilising an insecure world.
Every day, we hear reports of new conflicts, of escalating tension and violence. And in any situation of insecurity, from war to health threats to climate change, women are often disproportionately affected because of their traditionally more vulnerable position in the society.
80 percent of the world’s refugees are women and children. Sexual violence and rape are prevalent in regions of war as well as in refugee camps. We cannot talk about the role of women in conflict resolution without acknowledging this terrible reality.
At the same time, we need to remember that women are also key actors promoting peace and stability. Security cannot be effectively discussed or achieved without the involvement of women. Women’s participation is crucial not only in the more traditional “hard” security spheres like war efforts, peace-building, post-conflict reconstruction and counter-terrorism, but also countering “softer” human security threats such as global epidemics, psychological health during and post-war, and the emerging concerns of climate change and environmental degradation.
On 6 March more than 50 women leaders from all continents will meet in Brussels on invitation of Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner to discuss about "Women: stabilising an insecure world". Female heads of states, ministers, and heads of international organisations, business leaders, and civil society activists will discuss the twin themes of security and women's empowerment.
The President of the Republic of Finland, Prime Minister of Ukraine, First Lady of Egypt, the US Secretary of State, the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Former President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Ms. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, and Commissioners Wallström, Hübner and Kroes are among the participants.
We believe the key to a stable world is sustainable development. It is about stabilising an insecure world and finding the right combination of economic growth and social progress, while at the same time caring for our planet.
Without education you cannot have social stability. Yet there are currently around 100 million children not getting any education at all – and more than 70 million are girls. That we have to change.
Another important instrument to stabilise the world is the UN Resolution 1325 on Women’s Role in Peace building and security that links gender equality to global security and acknowledges the importance of women’s voices in building lasting peace.
This resolution is a milestone on the road to more gender-sensitive peace processes and security policies. Though the implementation of the resolution is a long-term political process it must receive more attention throughout the EU and in the various member states, in particular among decision makers in the fields of foreign, defence, security and development policy. Since the adoption of the resolution in 2000 awareness of the importance of including women in peace and reconstruction process has grown. Yet implementation of its mandate remains sporadic and ad hoc.
Women make a difference, in part because they adopt a more inclusive approach toward security and address key social and economic issues that would otherwise be ignored. Women can make peace agreements and post-conflict efforts more viable, effective, and practical by engaging in a wide variety of actions, including but not limited to participating in peace talks; rehabilitating children associated with armed groups; convening people across conflict lines to discuss common concerns such as access to clean water; and advocating budget priorities that emphasize social services rather than military expenditures.
But despite the general consensus to protect and empower women, they remain marginalized in decision-making, peace-building and peacekeeping operations. Under-representation of women in politics still persists worldwide, including in Europe. Only six percent of ministers worldwide and 10 percent of parliamentarians are women. And we all know that the famous "glass ceiling" is still in place, be it in politics or economy.
Barring women from full participation at the decision making levels are significant barriers to achieving Resolution 1325’s goals. There is also a widespread problem of simply viewing women as victims and not recognizing their potential as active participants in the process of building a more stable and secure world.
6 March 2008
Source: Asian Tribune via GINSC