Concept Paper: Women and Leadership: Voices for Security and Development
Publish date: 18 Nov 02
A Forum on
Women and Leadership: Voices for Security and Development
South Asia Partnership Canada
250 Albert Street, 14th Floor
28 & 29 November 2002
The world community increasingly recognizes the positive contributions women are making to prevent conflict and consolidate peace. Women face insecurity in virtually every aspect of life- at home, in the community and on the state and intra-state levels. Despite studies and pledges, international and grassroots structures still face the challenge of providing a secure environment and ensuring women’s full and equal participation in conflict prevention, peace making and community building.
South Asia is one of the most conflict prone regions of the world. It has witnessed three inter-state wars, two partitions, numerous insurrections, and intermittent low-intensity conflicts and sits on a powder keg of intra-state class, ethnic and nationality and political conflicts. Traditionally women have formed the humanitarian front of the war story. They are mothers grieving for children, dead and missing. They are the widows struggling to survive in female-headed households raising orphaned children. They are refugees displaced from homes. They are raped and murdered in war. Women are visible as the overwhelming victims of war. Beyond the passivity and powerlessness of this image, South Asian women mobilize resistance and confront security forces, government bureaucrats and courts. Women have formed Mothers Fronts and coalitions for peace, women have become guerrillas and soldiers, and they have emerged as agents of social transformation and conflict resolution.
On October 31, 2002, we celebrate the second anniversary of the United Nations’ Resolution 1325 – the first resolution that committed the international community to protect women in war, as well as work with women to build peace worldwide. While the Resolution serves effectively as international law and can be cited in efforts to plan further steps, it only holds meaning if it is implemented at the national and local levels.
During Canada’s tenure on the UN Security Council (1998-2000) the Canadian initiative on the Protection of Civilians provided an opening for integrating a gender perspective into the work of the Security Council. Canadian policies such as gender training for our peacekeepers and the coordination of regional strategies to combat the illicit trade in small arms in South Asia are examples of Canada’s commitment to this issue.
While these initiatives are fundamentally important to security in the national, governmental and institutional spheres, human security for women at the grassroots level in both rural and urban communities is often overlooked. Rita Manchanda, from the South Asia Forum of Human Rights, states, “Women’s experience of conflict is not a homogeneous experience, it is contextual and shifting. Women’s responses are also shifting.” It is not only the fear of inter or intra state conflict that confronts these women but also a conflict that is entrenched in their villages and communities. As women are still marginalized at the negotiating table of formal politics, they see positive change in their security as a result of family, communal and societal change. These conditions have since helped them become agents for ensuring women’s security in South Asia.
Through Women and Leadership: Voices for Security and Development, SAP Canada will bring resource persons from South Asia together with Canadian NGO, academic and government representatives to:
· Learn from South Asian voices about the security dangers to women and the extensive actions they have taken for empowerment to counter them
· Analyse and frame South Asian gender and security issues for governments and non-governmental organizations
· Identify actions and strategies for change
Please find attached the registration form for the event. It may be mailed, faxed or emailed to SAP Canada. Further notices on program and arrangements will be available shortly. For more information, please contact Jodie McGrath, Forum Coordinator at 613-241-1333 Ext. 229 or firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our website at www.sapcanada.org for updates.
Standard Fee ($125)
SAP Canada Members ($75)
Full-time students ($50 –limited seating)
Registration fee includes: Forum Kit with conference papers, refreshments, lunch on Thursday November 28th & Friday November 29th both at the IDRC building.