Government agencies should educate men and women in resolution 1325. It should not be a job for just women.
Government agencies should educate men and women in resolution 1325. It should not be a job for just women. This was emphasised by Sundus Abass, a political scientist from Iraq and Ida Lindwall, active in the Ecumenical Fellowship Programme during a seminar at National Museum of Economy on November 17th.
Peace actors from Iraq, Colombia and Sweden attended the seminar that was part of the seminar tour Actors for Sustainable Peace.
Ida Lindwall who took part in the EU peacekeeping mission in Georgia emphasised how important it is that international mission staff take the time to listen to women from the local population.
“It’s very hard to reach out to local women in peacekeeping operations; they are simply not involved in the processes of these missions. Therefore, it’s important to develop strategies to meet women and take in their experiences and needs”, said Lindwall.
Women as role models
Lisa Eriksson, who is active in the political party Feminist Initiative, argued that women’s entry into decision-making processes also has a symbolic value. When she interviewed women in Rwanda, there were many who expressed that a single woman in decision-making can serve as a role model for other women. “If she can be in politics then I can start a business” one woman said.
“Increasing the number of women in politics does not necessarily change politics but it has an important impact on what women believe they are capable of achieving”, said Lisa Eriksson.
At the same time, many of the participants emphasised that the implementation of 1325 should not be limited to women.
“There is a general misconception that women are better suited to work with the resolution but that is not true. In order to implement the resolution it is important that both men and women receive proper training”, said Ida Lindwall.
Important to reach out to other actors
Sundus Abass who is active in a 1325-network in Iraq, said her organisation has been working actively to reach out to other actors than women’s organisations. Today the organisation has managed to gain supporters within the media and even in the ministry of defence.
“The greatest challenge in Iraq is to raise awareness about the resolution. Right now the knowledge of 1325 is extremely low, especially in the parliament and government”, said Sundus Abbas.
Nury Yagarí who works for the Colombian organisation OIA spoke about the role that women have played in the struggle to defend indigenous territory from armed groups.
“Women have been key actors when negotiating with Colombia’s armed groups. Some time ago we even managed to drive away the Colombian army from one of our sacred territories, by uniting together as women and protesting for a month”, Nury Yagari said.
The Colombian government yet to assume responsibility for 1325
The most important task still remains, according to Nury Yagarí; getting the Colombian government to take responsibility for the resolution’s implementation.
“Peace initiatives that take into account the role of women come only from civil society, not from the state and this is unacceptable. The state must assume its responsibilities to include women’s perspectives in peacebuilding”, said Nury Yagarí.
Nury Yagarí concluded the seminar by expressing her desire to teach women from Colombia’s indigenous people more about the resolution and its significance for peace.