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Women’s Representation Could Be the Key to Ending Violence

Violence, war, and conflict. Those three words seem to define the way in which our world operates. Every day, lives are senselessly taken, families are torn apart, and children are abandoned without access to food or education. It has always been this way. As long as humanity exists, there will always be turmoil. At least until our leaders and other politicians can figure out a way to coexist on this planet in peace.

Since the birth of modern government, women have been noticeably absent from peace agreements and meetings where important decisions are being made and new research suggests that the problem may reside in a lack of women’s representation when it comes to global decisions.

Over the last 30 years, women have made up just two percent of mediators and five percent of witnesses and signatories. Consequently, the majority of peace agreements that have been made since 1999 have failed to mention women or address their concerns.

Historically, agreements in which women actively participate are 35 percent more likely to last at least 15 years, according to an Independent article.

It is utterly naive to expect lasting peace if only half of the community affected by conflict are invited to find solutions for peace,” writer Tariq Ahmad stated.

There is no reason for women not be involved in making decisions that will ultimately impact their lives. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is committed to stomping out the gender imbalance that has been the societal standard for far too long.

“Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world,” Guterres said in a statement for International Women’s Day.

There has also been an increase in mediation networks for women. The purpose of these networks is to increase women’s representation in the peacemaking processes at the international level.

It’s important to note that a higher degree of women’s presence at these meetings is not enough. It’s actual participation that will produce the desired results. The opinions of women need to be taken into consideration on all fronts, not just gender-specific issues.

But women should not be invited simply to reach a quota. There is a fear that requiring a certain number of women in attendance will not ensure that their voices are taken seriously. Women have important opinions and ideas to share and should always be valued as such.

The mediation networks previously existed only in the Mediterranean, Nordic, and South African regions but are now being introduced to the Commonwealth countries by the United Kingdom.

The U.K.’s mediation network will provide women in the Commonwealth with support, information, and opportunities to increase women participation in conflict resolution and encourage women to use their voices to empower.

In order for conflicts to be resolved and peace to be brought forth, there must be representation and input from all groups of people. It’s unacceptable that women have not been given a fair opportunity to speak up and offer their expertise in peacemaking situations. The U.K.’s decision to implement these networks throughout the Commonwealth is a crucial step that will help women and girls fight to better their own lives and the lives of others.

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