Bangkok, Thailand: International Women’s Day
The Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok has seen an increasing number of women receive Global Peace Fellowships since the program’s inception ten years ago. This high participation of women is in stark contrast to formal peace negotiations globally where there continues to be an imbalance in the representation of women. According to a study by UN Women, between 1992 and 2009, fewer than four percent of signatories to peace agreements and less than ten percent of negotiators at peace tables were women.
This International Women’s Day, Global Peace Fellows call for a change and equal representation of women at the peace table. ‘Peace agreements developed with the inclusion of women have proven to be more effective and more sustainable”, reports Canadian Susan Hartley, a 2016 Global Rotary Peace Fellow.
They hope that the world is already witnessing a shift. This year, more than half of their class is made up of women from diverse backgrounds and experiences, all coming together for sustainable peace. Today the 14 women fellows participating in the Rotary Peace Fellowship at Chulalongkorn University have been invited to tell their stories as part of the 1,000,000 Peace Women around the Globe initiative. George Kimani is a 2016 Global Rotary Peace Fellow from Kenya and he states, ‘as an advocate for gender parity and equality, I highly recommend women’s involvement in peace building and resolution’.
‘If you are serious about peace, you need to take women seriously’, said Irene Santiago convener of international campaign Women Seriously. Yet today, women are a conspicuous absence from Syria peace talks.
Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said: ‘Women, who know the price of conflict so well, are also better equipped than men to prevent or resolve it. For generations, women have served as peace educators, both in their families and in their societies. They have proved instrumental in building bridges rather than walls’.
Susan Hartley, Director with Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (CW4WAfghan) and a 2016 Rotary Peace Fellow, encourages women to apply for the 2017 fellowship, “We can use this experience to make a real impact internationally and locally, and make a sustainable difference through collaboration across the globe”. CW4WAfghan is a Canadian NGO which promotes human rights and access to quality education in Afghanistan.
To mark International Women’s Day, Rotary Peace Fellows at Chulalongkorn University are hosting a Twitter Chat #Peace2016 on Wednesday 9th March from 7pm-8pm (GMT +7). Applications for the 2017 Global Peace Fellowship close in May 2016. See https://www.rotary.org/myrotary/en/getinvolved/exchange-ideas/peace-fellowship-application for more information.
Name: Susan Hartley
Why women in the peace process?
Between 1992 and 2011, fewer than four per cent of signatories to peace agreements and less than 10 per cent of negotiators at peace tables were women.
Women’s participation increases the probability of peace agreements lasting at least two years by 20 per cent. It also increases the probability of a peace agreement lasting 15 years by 35 per cent
In conflict and post-conflict countries, maternal mortality is on average 2.5 times higher.
More than half of the world’s maternal deaths occur in conflict-affected and fragile states, with the 10 worst-performing countries on maternal mortality all either conflict or post-conflict countries.
Leadership and political participation
30 per cent is widely considered an important benchmark for women’s representation. As of January 2015, 41 single or lower houses were composed of more than 30 per cent women, including 11 in Africa and 9 in Latin America . Out of the 41 countries, 34 had applied some form of quotas opening space for women’s political participation. Specifically, 17 use legislative candidate quotas; 6 use reserve seats; and in a further 11, parties have adopted voluntary quotas.
More women in politics does not necessarily correlate with lower levels of corruption, as is often assumed. Rather, democratic and transparent politics is correlated with low levels of corruption, and the two create an enabling environment for more women to participate.
Violence against women
It is estimated that 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives. However, some national studies show that up to 70 per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.
What is 1,000,000 PeaceWomen?
Across the Globe (PWAG) is an organization created after the nomination of 1000 women from more than 150 countries for 2005 Nobel Peace Prize. PWAG’s main goals in the last decade have been to support deeper and sustainable connectivity of PeaceWomen across the globe, to increase the visibility of their work, to expand their bodies of knowledge and skills, and to disseminate their expertise outside their own spheres of influence.
PWAG are currently taking nominations for 1,000,000 women from all over the world whose stories will be uploaded to the WikiPeaceWomen website. The idea is to call international attention to the vital role played by women from all walks of life in challenging harmful established social/cultural boundaries, institutions and ideologies and in creating and promoting peace in their communities and the world. While their work will be made visible and recognized, their expertise will also be disseminated outside their current spheres of influence, so as to contribute to different levels ranging from the communities to the global.
What is the Rotary Peace Program?
Rotary is a global community organization whose members embody their motto ‘service before self’. They support philanthropic causes around the world such as promoting peace, improving education and literacy and eradicating polio.
The Rotary Peace Fellowship is a scholarship for people passionate about peace building and is funded by Rotary. There are two kinds of scholarship available. 1) A two year Masters program based out of six international universities. 2) A three month intensive Certificate for mid-career practitioners based out of Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, with some travel around the region. The program is facilitated by international guest experts who teach participants through classes and also through immersion in the field about a variety of peace and conflict related topics. The idea is that participants will take home these learnings and adopt them in their respective work.
What is the application process for the Rotary Global Peace Fellowship?
Applications for the 2017 fellowship are due in May 2016 - https://www.rotary.org/myrotary/en/get-involved/exchange-ideas/peace-fellowshipapplication.