Leadership of Women for a Culture of Peace


Women’s equality is essential to the culture of peace.  When we sent the draft Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace from UNESCO to the UN General Assembly in 1998, we made it clear that the linkage is essential between women’s equality, development and peace: “Only this . . . can replace the historical inequality between men and women that has always characterized the culture of war and violence.”  In fact, at the dawn of humanity the monopolization of war and violence by men led to the historical exclusion of women from political and economic power (see my study Why There Are So Few Women Warriors for a scientific explanation).   In order to achieve a culture of peace, the inequality must be reversed.

This month’s CPNN bulletin shows that the reversal is well underway:  the leadership of women for a culture of peace is more and more recognized, and the equality of women is being increasingly achieved.  Of course, much remains to be accomplished, but what is important is that the process is underway.  From time to time, there are setbacks, but for the most part, the process is irreversible.  Women are gaining equality, and they are in the leadership of the Global Movement for a Culture of Peace.  Their leadership is being recognized  throughout the world.  In this month’s bulletin, there are women recognized by peace prizes from Yemen, Liberia, Kenya, Iran, Myanmar, Ireland, Guatemala, United States, Egypt, Tunisia, Indonesia and Bolivia.

At the United Nations, Resolution 1325 was adopted by the Security Council under the leadership of Anwarul Chowdury  from Bangladesh in 2000  to provide a role for women in UN peacekeeping and peacebuilding , but ever since then, it has been difficult to get it implemented.  There are some successes, but the struggle goes at the UN, as described in this month’s CPNN bulletin.

There is an intrinsic relation between the culture of war and violence against women.  It is evident that rape has always been a weapon of war, but that is not all.   There is a consistent finding by social scientists, both political scientists and anthropologists, that there is a high correlation between the frequency of warfare of the state or non-state society and the frequency of local, including domestic violence, at the lower level.  These studies also show that the causal relationship is one-way, that it is the higher level that influences the lower level.  This consistent finding is understood to be the result of the fact that the state or tribe trains young men as warriors to be violent, and that violence by the state or tribe serves as a behavioral model for  the family and community.  Hence, the struggle for a culture of peace must include the struggle to end violence against women.