On May 30, 2019, US Institute of Peace organized an event, How to Advance Inclusive Peace Processes: Mobilizing Men as Partners for Women, Peace, and Security. The speakers at the event talked about how men in positions of authority could help ensure that women are included in peace processes and decision-making. Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini from the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) stated that their organization had given $2 million as grants to support projects focusing on the role of women in peace processes. In her opinion, women are the most cost-effective and impactful agents in peace processes. The event also discussed how lack of economic opportunities and jobs force some men to join fundamentalist organizations. Men’s behavior should be changed to reduce misogynist and patriarchal views in society. The panelists discussed how men who engage in domestic violence often do so because they do not have positive role models to look up to. They emulate other male family members who also perpetrate domestic violence to vent out their frustration. Men who are involved in the lives of their children are less violent. Positive role models can make a huge difference in the upbringing of men and their attitude towards women. As a result, men can act as agents of change promoting inclusivity and gender equality in peace processes. Ambassador Melanne Verveer also emphasized the need to include women as equal partners if we want to prevent conflict and promote lasting peace.
While the event raised important points on how to change people’s patriarchal attitudes and behavior, it did not delve into concrete steps to be taken to include women in peace processes. The literature handed out at the event mentioned low women participation as chief mediators on peace agreements and lack of Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) legislations. However, this point was not fully discussed in the actual discussion. We attended this event expecting speakers to focus on a specific country or context such as Afghanistan, but most of the discussion was generic, highlighting the need for a focus on context-specific peacebuilding interventions.
This blog post was contributed by Abhi Slathia, who is currently an intern at HasNa Inc.