International Women’s Day 2018: Women building peace

For International Women’s Day 2018, GAPS is celebrating diaspora women building peace through projects in the UK and across the world. Their work, from local initiatives to high-level peace processes, is at the forefront of change as they bring their voices, and the needs and challenges facing their communities, to the process of building sustainable peace. This is such important work, which all too often goes unrecognised by formal peace and security actors and institutions.

Women are systematically excluded from peace processes. Women’s rights are perceived as secondary, to be attained once peace has been brokered. This undermines the importance of women’s rights and gender equality, and precludes the opportunity for sustainable peace.

We recognise that the demand that women explain why their voices should be heard and what value they can bring undermines women’s fundamental right to equal participation; we should in fact be demanding explanations from those seeking to exclude women. We see this bias in GAPS’ question to the peacebuilders we are profiling for International Women’s Day, and our decision to keep the question is based on feminist practices of self-reflection and learning, and because of the many wonderful answers we received that deserve to be heard.

Today we are saying thank you to diaspora women working for peace and security as we profile five brilliant women and their important projects.

1. Amna Abdul:

“When I think about peace and security, I am always looking at it through an intersectional gendered lens with the aim to understand what women’s experiences and roles are within it.”

2. Quhramaana Kakar:

“Peace for me is not only the absence of war but the prevalence of harmony and tranquility, and the provision of justice, access and equal opportunity for individuals and societies in their struggle to shape their own narrative and negotiate their own terms.”

3. Camila Marín Restrepo:

“Women within diaspora communities have been subjected to a double invisibility. In their countries of origin, many were exposed to exclusion in relation to political participation. Their migration beyond national borders has meant they now face further barriers when attempting to contribute to peacebuilding conversations taking place in their home countries.”

4. Amparo Restrepo:

“We are now determined to break the silence in order to have our voices heard and to demand that we are included in the process of post-conflict restructuring.”

5. Marwa Baabbad:

“Women shouldn’t be asked why their voices are valuable unless everyone else is asked the same question.”

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