Role of Women in Peace Movement

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Social Science


Women’s worldview is
basically peace-centric. A basic undertone of women’s culture across the world
is their culture of peace. Actually, women’s motherly attitude  stimulates them to struggle for establishing
peace. History tells us that women were hardly active in conflict ever and we
have reasons to believe that. They have stood always against injustice,
instability of the society. In recent years, we gave experienced women’s
significant involvement in peace movement and their contribution to this
process is really notable and praiseworthy.


A peace movement is a
social movement that seeks to achieve ideals such as the ending of a particular
war, minimize inter-human violence in a particular place or type of situation,
linked to the goal of world peace.  

In the view of Wangari

In fine, peace movements
denotes the promotion of a culture of peace through accepting various necessary
measures towards the welfare of human being.

To examine peace movement
by women profoundly, at first, we need to gain an understanding regarding feminism.

The emergence of feminist
ideas and feminist politics depends on the understanding that in all societies
which divide the sexes into differing cultural, economic or political spheres,
women are less valued than men. Feminism also depends on the premise that women
can consciously and collectively change their social place.

Feminism is both a
doctrine of equal rights for women (the organized movement to attain women’s
rights) and an ideology of social transformation aiming to create a world for women beyond
simple social equality.

As an ideology, feminism
looks upon a women or a female as a human being and opposes all kinds of cruelties,
repression and exploitation of women  in
the male dominated social order, considers both men and women as equal in
respect of their nature as independent beings, seeks to procure equal social,
economic and political rights to women.

Feminism is a movement
desires to arise a class consciousness among women and thus organize them into
different groups and organizations so that they learn to spend their lives in
their own way and to their liking to develop themselves fully. The
movement  of feminism is aimed at
enabling women to play useful and active role in all spheres of life along with
men by freeing them of the burden of the marriage and family.

Relations Between Feminism and
Women’s Peace

Feminism combines both
theory and action. There is a symbiotic relationship between feminism and
women’s peace movement. Women’s peace movement leads to feminism and feminism,
in turn, influences women’s movement.

One of the early peace
groups to draw a connection between feminism and peace  was the Garrisonian wing in the 1830s. For
many 19th and early 20th century women’s rights and
women’s reform societies, the virtues of peace and love were linked particularly
with women. With the rise of the new feminist movements of the late 1960s, new
rifts appeared in the earlier connections between feminism and peace.

In addition, contemporary
feminists have grown much focusing on the connections between feminism and

Feminism fundamentally
rejects the power principle of domination and subjugation. It rejects the
concept of power which says that one side’s victory must be the other side’s
defeat. Feminism must question social structures based on this principle at
every level from the competition of men and women in personal relationships to
the competition of the nations of the globe including the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.
We seek an attentive power principle of empowerment in community rather than
power over and disabling of other. No body wins unless all win. War making has
reached such a level of destructiveness that the defeat of one side, means the
defeat of all, the destruction of the early itself. Feminism today sees its links
with the cause of human survival and the survival of the planet itself.

Basic tenets of Feminism :


in motivation, method, approaches experience and political commitment

of theories and activism and  action/
theory and writings

commitment to bring change in the lives of women

women and for women

all kind of Hierarchy

As an analytical tool,
any feminist perspective means the way women live, think and organize matters.
It means looking at the world through the eyes of women. Bright Brock, the
founder of the feminist perspective of peace also defines peace. She divided
and focused peace from negative and positive points of view. Negative peace
means absence of violence against women’s and 
positive peace to ensure right. In the context of feminist perspective
negative peace means the absence of direct, or personal and physical violence
against women such as rape,  wife
beating, acid throwing, child abuse etc.

Positive peace exists where there is absence of indirect
and structural violence. Feminist positive peace is related with ensuring their
rights, equality, social stability and development, security and women
empowerment etc.

We may illustrate the concept of stable peace by the
following figure:



Perspective on Peace


Stable Peace
Positive Peace


Social justace

Economic equality

Ecological stability


Equality in





Oppose of Cruelties Repression







Mexico City












Total Staff

Women (%)

ONUSAL (El Salvador)



UNPROFOF (Yugaslavia)



ONUMOZ (Mozambique)



UNFICYP (Cyprus)



UNDOF (Gdam Heights)



MINURSO (W-Sahara)








Bertha Non


A tireless
propagandist for peace by pen, such her anti war novel Die Wafter Nieder


Jane Addams


peace on earth with planning for a wise peace to the end of war.


Emily Batch


Justice and
peace and for the rich sense of ethics


Corrigan, Betty Williams.

N. Ireland

diplomacy unleashed in their war torn country




Devoted her
whole life to serving the poorest of the poor.


Alva Myrdal


displayed courage to confront the truth


Aung San


for establishing democracy




of discrimination and protection of minorities.


Jody Williams





rights movement





Importance of
Women’s Contribution :-


UN Women Conference and the Idea of

The women’s peace concepts gradually developed through
the UN women decade conference:

Table: UN women

In the paragraph 288 of Nairobi declaration it has said
that violence against women exists in various forms of everyday life in all societies.
Women are being beaten, mutilated, burned sexually abused and raped. Such violence
are major problem for peace   


Significant efforts had been
made by women which are characterized by-

perspectives in rebuilding security and calling for an end to gender based
brutality and abuse.

Peace activism and creative and effective strategies for peace and development.

of women’s civil society organizations in promoting human security.

Mechanisms for women’s Contribution
in culture of peace:

Women keep their
contributions in culture of peace by the following mechanisms: 

Fostering of a culture of peace
through education

Promoting sustainable economic and
social development.

Promoting respect for all human

Actions to equal genders.

9. Actions to promote international
peace and security

10.Actions to advance understanding
tolerance and solidarity.

11. Actions to support participatory

12. Actions to free flow of
information and knowledge.

The role of women in
peace movement may be categorized as follows:

1. Peaceful Conflict Resolution

Women are not only victims,
they are taking initiatives to play significant role in the conflict resolution
and seek peace. Today women in many pars of the world are already intimately
involves in reconciliation and conflict resolution process to ensure peace such

the beginning of world war I, women for thirteen countries assembled in the
Hague to protest the war and discuss ways to have it stopped.

northern Ireland catholic and protestant women ran an practical community
project together to ensure peace between them.

Sudanese Women’s voice for peace promotes dialogue and reconciliations among
different ethnic groups and guerilla functions in Sudan, and has established
underground link between women in North and South Sudan.

Thus women’s potential in
conflict resolution is largely associated with their mothering attitude.

2. Women in peace- building:

Women are, in absolute
sense, suited to the attempts of fostering peace seating peace loving families;
promoting social justice, developing human and healthy neighborhoods, small and
large. Welfare has always been associated with concerns related to women for
example women as nurses, homemakers, nurtures. International women’s peace
organizations have aims to promote women’s role in peace building through
participation of organization on the ground impacting policy on a global level,
public awareness raising and the award of a peace prize for women.

Actually, women’s
peaceful activities are fostered by the more movement for women’s rights and
gender equality.

3. Women’s in peace research and education :

Women develop and
disseminate the research on the physical, psychological, economic and social
rights and effects of armed comities policies and programs to address the consequences
of conflicts.

They also, consider
educational programs for girls and boys to foster a culture of peace, focusing
on conflict resolution by non-violent means and the promotion of tolerance.

4. Women in defense and Peacekeeping operation

Women’s roles are more
positive then men about defence, security forces, forcing aid, receiving,
playing peace-keeping and decreasing defense costs. Women’s potentially
expanded sole in peacekeeping is largely the result of the expanded role of
peacekeeping itself. Women have recently become a significant proportion  of some armed forces and significant
proportion of locally recruited staff in UNPK missions.

Source: The peace
research vol-4, page-67, published by Canadian peace research institute, Oakville,
Ontario, Canada, 2005.

5. Contribution through socialization roles :

Every woman contributes
to socialization roles which are related to community works. The roles

contribution to gender sensitive socialization

Training for non-violence and

Egalitarian partnerships with a
specific focus on boys and young men.

6. Women and sustainable development / environment

To achieve a sustainable
peace, the process of sustainable development should go on without sustainable
there can be no sustainable peace and development. For example, Wangari Mathaai,
Kenyan women peace activists, was awarded peace prize because of her
contribution in environmental peace movement.

Women have shown
leadership in promoting human security which is conducive for environmental and
land security by calling for complete ban on landmines and nuclear testing.
Such as, women have played critical role in Cambodia where landmines cover
roughly 36,000 km. 

Disarmament Process:

The signing of the CTBT,
the Biodiversity conventions and the destruction of any remaining nuclear stockpile
are designed by their contributions.

They advocate with a
clear understanding of the detrimental effect of continued unclear dumping on
fragile island ecosystem and environment and the consequences of environmental

7.  Women’s participation in NGO’s:

Women’s NGO’s have made a
significant contribution in countries where internal violence has crusted. They
not only call for a cessation of the hostilities and condemning violence but
also heal the rifts that have developed in rebuilding sheltered communities.

8. Women’s organizations for civil society:

Strong women civil
society organizations cultivate skills and broaden opportunities for women to
gain entry into political and peace process. They also (i) articulate new
social  agendas linking to peace to
initial development issues

(ii) Use gender to bridge
deep political, ethnic and religious divides, lumens civil society
organizations have also contributed to the development and realization of
women’s full capacity for leadership.

9. Democratic movement:

Women have and had both
different working methods and political agendas. Women work more easily than
men across pasty boundaries. Values and issues are traditionally linked to
women that are higher on their political agendas, such as; social welfare,
health care, education, environment and international co-operation and

10. Women in extra- parliamentary activity :

Women play their roles in
this field by the following ways-

a. demonstrations b.
Campaigns c. Organizing movement d. Coalitions e. Secretariat centers for
research as well as relief f. Networking within and beyond national borders or

Women work to provide
alternatives to violence and wars that are related in civil society and often
relates to daily life experiences.

11. Disarmament process:

The signing of the CTBT,
the Biodiversity Conventions and the destruction of any remaining nuclear
stockpile are designed by their contributions.

Women’s party for
survival, founded by Dr. Helen Caldecott, Changed its name to women’s Action
for Nuclear Disarmament (WAND) devoted itself to disseminating information on nuclear
arms and development. The WAND organized to publish news letters, convene
membership conferences and initiate demonstrations in favor of nuclear disarmament.

In 1984 women’s peace initiative
was organized in the USA to support the Nuclear Freeze Movement. The women at
Greenham common in UK served as a rote model for the development of other peace
movement designed to confront nuclear arms build-up by using non-violent,
uniquely feminist means of protest. The Seneca women’s group in USA comprised
of students, publishes,  army captains,
elected officials, women clergy, teachers, social workers and farmers invigorated
worldwide nuclear disarmament movement.

Women advocate with a
clear understanding of the detrimental effects of continued unclear dumping on
fragile island ecosystem and environment and the consequences of environmental

12. Women to foster the peace process:

There are many examples
of efforts by women to foster the peace process through building bridges and
promoting development among them are-

* Sri-Lanka- Where
several women’s groups are focusing on building peace and democracy at the
community level, especially in the Tamil dominated areas of the North and the

* North-eastern
India-Where women groups have continued to express their desire for peace and
condemn the violence accompanying the ethnic conflicts  in the region.

* Cambodia-Where women
have created a vibrant civil society movement with assistance of international

Women’s actions for peace
are manifold and provide a huge encouragement. some excellent examples are-

women refusing to give birth as long as violence prevails, inspired by
Lysistra, the mythological figure from ancient Greece.

of Russian soldiers refusing to spend their sons to war and rejecting the hero
status medal.

women initiating a broad disarmament program.

South African women insisting on gender
equality in parliament.

The mothers of the plaza del Mayo in Business Aires,
demonstrating for human rights and justice.

Women’s participation in
international peace and security process is a prerequisite for achieving an
enduring and authentic peace. Women are highly invested in preventing conflict
and they are often themselves targets of war. Great feminist peace heroes
believed that women have a special role to play in the creation of peace.
women’s contributions are important because-

a. Women bring to the peaceable distinctive
experiences and perspectives.

b. As negotiators
they are often good lustiness, more concerned about finding a resolution
than providing a point. They generally seek collaborative and practical
solutions based on social justice and equity.

c. Being half of the population, women form the
backbone of their communities when it comes to the reconstruction,
rehabilitation and reintegration of their communities.

d. Mostly invisible and working at grass roots level,
women have proved themselves to be remarkably resourceful in rebuilding their
societies in practical and innovative ways.

There are some barriers
which are-

of women at decision making levels with regard to conflict

lack of support and encouragement for
full participation of women

lack of adequate training to
strengthen women capacity to take on leadership roles.

religious domes and fundamentalist
concepts of the society.

lower rates of women education and
increasing less awareness of women

social prejudice about women and impediments
of social norms.

To ensure women’s role in
peace we should take some measures which given below:-

state should take appropriate and effective measures to over come all forms of
gender based violence and discrimination.

due security should be ensured in their working places.

should be motivated to protect their children families and communities from

should take measures to established equal rights for men women sphere of the
state. So that women can bring up themselves as a capable and independent


Women are significant and unavoidable
part of our lives. No measures or steps can produce desired values denying
women’s involvement. Actually, peace can’t be attained without developing a
culture of peace. This culture is quite impossible to promote by denying the
participation of women. Because we experience that women have been the
principal target in violence or war. Their story is a story of complete loss.
Death and destruction are not all of women’s sorrows in conflict. Owing to
gendered nature of conflicts, they face physical violence, oppression, prosecution
solely aimed at them. Women are often subjected to the most degrading treatment
in the hands of the aggressors. Hence, women should, at first, come forward to
take various measures for peace. Though, they  are getting themselves involved in peace
movement, it is not yet satisfactory due to various impediments and set-backs.
But it is absolutely true that peace movement can never reach its ultimate goal
without the proper participation of women at all level.

and peace, author Chris Mark, Oxford University Press, Published in 1999.

in 21st century author Harry Morison, Published in 2003

Journal, vol. 64, Canadian Peace Research Institute, Canada