Women`s Contribution to the Culture of Peace” on the occasion of the 64th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women 10 March 2020, Tuesday | New York
The Journalists and Writers Foundation has organized the CSW64 Parallel Event “Women`s Contribution to the Culture of Peace” on March 10, 2020. Due to the wide spread of the COVID-19, the Commission has decided to cancel all the sessions and parallel events. The JWF, therefore, held this important discussion as an online engagement over Zoom.
The panel aimed to discuss the contribution of women to the culture of peace through different areas and their role in creating peaceful societies. Experts passionate for women’s empowerment from different parts of the world shared their expertise, discussed successful women-led peace initiatives and presented best-practices from the field where women peacebuilders have made a positive change.
The online discussion started with the opening remarks of Cemre Ulker, the UN Representative of the Journalists and Writers Foundation. Ms. Ulker stated that “the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action is one of the most influential gatherings in the timeline of the UN that had set 12 critical working areas for the women’s empowerment and girls’ education.” Ms. Ulker has also underlined “peace is not only the absence of conflict. It requires that stakeholders are mutually active to sustain equality in promoting the culture of peace and its areas of education, social development, human rights and participation of women in all sectors of society.”
The first panelist was Angela Fernandez, the Commissioner of NYS Division of Human Rights. Commissioner Fernandez discussed the importance of promoting women`s rights to create peaceful and inclusive societies. She also underlined several of the NYS Division of Human Rights policies to prevent sexual harassment against women in workplaces. Commissioner stated that in order to promote inclusive workplaces, “the definition of gender identity was added as a protective category to the jurisdiction. The NYS Division of Human Rights has commenced a statewide outreach and education to promote this landmark change”. Commissioner Fernandez indicated that the NY state is being more dedicated every day to protect all New Yorkers from any kind of discrimination so that they can live in peace and harmony.
Following the Commissioner remarks, Sasha Butler, the Executive Director of the Changing Destinations: Journey to Excellence, discussed the role of education for young women leaders to create sustained youth participation in peace-building. Ms. Butler started her remarks by presenting an overview on the status of women from several different parameters including violence, pay gap, lack of women`s leadership in decision making positions and discriminatory laws. She then discussed how SDG #4, quality education, is interlinked with SDG #5, the gender equality. Ms. Butler later underlined youth`s voice and their role in making a difference. Ms. Butler said that “I do challenge organizations, governments, schools and businesses to include youth in their discussions, initiatives and opportunities as their voice is a fresh perspective”.
Next speaker, Iysha Arun, the Director of the Center for Hizmet Studies located in UK, has discussed the women’s contribution to culture of peace: women inspired by the Hizmet Movement. Ms. Arun started her remarks by presenting 3 different Hizmet Movement inspired civil society organizations from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. Ms. Arun introduced the Hizmet Movement as a “faith and Islamic inspired civil society organization that exists to create a culture of peace within the universal human rights values”. She also discussed several best-practices of Hizmet Movement in creating peaceful societies through promoting girl’s education. Ms. Arun talked about Tahmina, an afghan student graduated, who achieved the top score on her university entrance exam.
Aaliya Khan, is an Associate Research Fellow at the United Service Institution of India-Centre for Armed Forces Historical Research (USI-CAFHR) in India. In her remarks, she has underlined the role of women in peace building and presented best practices from India. Ms. Khan said “In the Indian context, despite the absence of high intensity warfare, we still deal with violence in several areas”. She discussed the contribution of several women-led civil protests which caught the international society`s attention to the violence against women in India. Ms. Khan indicated that women`s efforts to promote their rights pressured Indian government to revoke restrictive and unjust policies. She lastly underlined the social involvements where women are the leaders are enabling secure environment for the whole society by bringing stability.
Next panelist, Mariana Guedea, the Founder and CEO of Meraki located in Nicaragua, discussed how to empower young women through emotional education and entrepreneurship to cultivate a culture of peace. Ms. Guedea introduced Meraki`s spiritual education and guidance programs and underlined that they “guide the students to discover their true self, the highest version of themselves. We have hidden talents and that needs to be shared with the world, and for the world.” In her presentation she introduced the six characteristics of the entrepreneurial mindset and indicated that any young women “thinking in the right way with a correct guidance of mentors, can accomplish anything”.
Lastly, CeCe Cole the Founder and CEO of Silke Endress, Lifestyle of the Lady CEO, underlined the importance of economic empowerment of women for the culture of peace. Ms. Cole has discussed two critical areas of concerns that are hindering women`s empowerment: the thread of global armed conflicts and the lack of social justice in the society. Ms. Cole said “The only way of building a sustainable and a just society is by empowering women which is a prerequisite for achieving political, social, economic security among all people.”
The panel session ended with questions and comments from the online audience. The full record of the JWF CSW Parallel Event “Women`s Contribution to the Culture of Peace” can be accessed at the JWF`s YouTube Channel.