Women, Peace, and Security – A 21st Century Perspective

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator css=”.vc_custom_1592076377183{padding-top: 15px !important;}”][vc_column_text]Bringing Women to the Peacebuilding Table

On May 7th, 2021, the Bangabandhu Centre for Bangladeshi Studies in Canada (BCBS) hosted a webinar on Women, Security and Peacebuilding.

Perspectives ranged from the global affairs department of Canada to those with experience on the frontlines of international peacekeeping missions. Countries represented included Bangladesh, Canada, Brazil and Norway. Among the distinguished guests present included Mohammed Shahriar Alam, Senator Mobina Jaffer, Jacqueline O’Neill, Yasmin Ratansi, Major General Kristin Lund, Commander Carla Monteiro de Castro Araujo and Dr. Khalilur Rahman. The conference was moderated by Dr. Kawser Ahmed.

Some speakers, like Mohammed Shahriar Alam, the Honourable State Minister for Foreign Affairs in Bangladesh, highlighted the Bangladeshi government’s commitment to empowering women through education and representation in peace-building institutions.

“Women have indispensable roles in nation and peacebuilding,” Alam said. “It gives us satisfaction that Bangledeshi female peacekeepers have become symbols of hope and security for women, girls and children in many conflict ravaged and war torn societies.”

Meanwhile, other guests, such as Commander Carla Monteiro de Castro Araujo of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), brought firsthand accounts of how women can positively impact peacebuilding missions. She highlighted that bringing in gender and protection mainstreaming as part of training in military sectors and task forces has been one of the main focal points of MINUSCA’s gender inclusion plan.

“It brings a different perspective to the mission,” Monteiro de Castro Araujo said. “They are able to engage with the local population and to perform in a different way (than) what is being done by the male military personnel.”

In the time of COVID-19, women’s economic empowerment has been compromised internationally. For this reason, some speakers discussed the importance of ensuring the correct policies and programs are in place to ensure that progress in gender inclusion in is not set backwards.

In Norway, where Major General Kristin Lund, the former Head of Mission at the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) hails, implementing gender quotas has proven to be a viable strategy to increase representation and participation.

Above all, the message was clear: women are not only an asset to international peace-building campaigns, rather they are essential.

“When you bring women to the peace table, you bring the heart of the community to the peace table,” said Jaffer.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]