Role of Women in Conflict Situations and Conserving Peace in Northern Areas of Pakistan: An Experience of AKRSP
Publish date: 28 Nov 02
Attached file: akrsp.rtf (full report)
The above discussion brings out the facet that conflict needs to be examined from a gender perspective. However social interdependence, the link between social structures and perceptions because the influence of ideologies and beliefs, cannot be ignored. The conflict basically weakens social relations and decreases communication and cooperation between conflicting parties. Women as a group are structurally disadvantaged, have less access to resources than men, and have to carry the burden of reproductive work. Their rights are often given less weight than those of men and they are marginalized in decision-making processes. Therefore are more vulnerable if they loose the support and protection of men.
AKRSP has managed to steer a process that has brought women on board. Realizing the dual role of the WO in aiming towards fulfilling practical as well strategic requirements of women, empowerment gained through the latter needs to be should be transferred beyond the limited boundaries of the WO setup, to the household level and advocated for at national level.
The inequality in access and control and power exacerbates violence and conflict, which becomes the basis of economic exclusion, erosion of institutions and fuels extremism/fundamentalism. All the more there is a need to stress and ascribe importance to women’s human rights; the coping strategies in conflict take into account security and protection of women. During the peace process women have to be represented in negotiations and support given to development of wider civil society and social organization that encourage awareness of human rights of women, protection and participation of women.
AKRSP has contributed to gender equity and enhanced the role of women in dealing with the management of conflicts in public sphere through their involvement in WO’s but due to enormity of the situation compounded by its complex dimensions it is a long way. Significance of developing ‘Networks’ at different levels become apparent. This would help to tackle the situation on long-term basis and take into consideration the mentioned levels of conflict discussed earlier.
The opportunity for AKRSP exists in the form of ‘ affirmative action ’ taken by government of Pakistan in line with its devolution plan where a good percentage of women have managed to become the local representatives. The positive aspect is the presence of WO members from the local communities as representatives in these forums . It is an encouraging sign and conveys the gender mainstreaming agenda of the government. AKRSP also endorses its commitment in the Strategy Proposal 2003-2007. The capacity of this group needs to be build considering low literacy levels and little exposure and confidence these women have to tackle the future challenges arising from conflict situation at different levels where patriarchy, insecurities and poverty govern as a norm.