Scaling the summit for women’s rights

When: 30th November 2021 at 18:00 CET / 17:00 CET. Check hour in different time zones here.

Where: University of Luxembourg and online 

You can join the lecture by:

  • coming to the online event on Zoom – REGISTER HERE
  • following livestreaming from the event at kapuscinskilectures.eu
  • asking your questions to Bandana Rana via Zoom or Twitter using #KAPTalks hashtag

Finding your voice and identity for many women in South Asia including Nepal is likeclimbing Mt. Everest the highest peak in the world – not an easy task with deeply embedded patriarchal values and gender norms. Violence against women particularly domestic violence is the biggest deterrent to women’s advancement and development.  However, with a vibrant women’s movement and civil society activism scaling this mountainous hurdle can be possible. It is a shared collective vision of inclusive development that is required to make gender equality a reality.

Inclusive empowerment and equality must be at the heart of all efforts to ensure sustainable development. The talk will feature valuable examples of bottom up movement building, breaking the culture of silence, harnessing the potential of the media and enhancing critical and collaborative partnership for transforming the roadmap to inclusive development. It will highlight experiences of linking efforts from local to global and global to local for scaling the hurdles of rising inequalities. The journey continues – to achieving transformative change that is fair and sustainable and building a future where no rights are trampled and no one is left behind. 

The lecture is hosted by the University of Luxembourg and Aide à l’Enfance de l’Inde et du Népal (AEIN). 

Why securitization only works in Star Wars

We live in the complex world with security becoming a more pressing issue every day. In the face of security crisis, migration challenges and health-related issues, people are often caught in the crossfire in our attempts to frame our security. The response seems to be securitization of health, migration and other humanitarian disasters.

One response for sustainability and peace is through communities. By strengthening local leaders, women in particular, we give them tools to change their communities from within.

Alaa Murabit, one of world’s leading voices for gender equality, addressed these issues, challenge the way we look at them, and frame sustainable development in light of currently emerging trends.

From war to development – women leading the nation

Violence is the order of our world. The « Wars in our World website listed 584 militia groups globally a few months ago. Now there are 56 countries in the world in armed conflict and 676 militias, anarchy and resurgency groups. Africa has the most countries in crisis (25 countries and 197 armed groups); there are 8 countries and more than 200 armed groups in Middle East: Mexico accounts for more than 10,000 deaths per year due to drug trafficking and related violence. The US at war with itself due to mass shootings. Is there any hope ? In West Africa, the problems are systemic. HIV, security, refugees, exploitation of natural resources and mining… these are now characteristics of West Africa. The burden of the Liberian civil war was born by women : rape, keeping the community together, gathering food amidst a rain of bullets. But this lso occurred in other countries. Women knew that despite suffering and rape, if these countries were leave that terrible place, go from war to development then we needed to step in. Most men didn’t know why they were fighting. War started, they had guns, it was fastest route to economic gain. Women needed to intervene to stop the killing.

Three examples :

First, the Wajir in Kenya : women negotiated with different actors to start a mediation committee to end the conflict. The Wajir Peace and Development Committee was formed. Now, these women have established a Trust and University of Peace. Second, in 2000 the Somali Peace Talks were organized around clans and this excluded women from the peace process. In response, Somali women developed a sixth clan- the clan of the women- and they were given a seat at the table. This led to representation in Parliament in Somalia Third, in 2003 Liberia was in its 14th year of civil war- one observer called the Liberian situation from bad to worse to rediculous. There were 3 reasons :

1) Liberia had one of worst dictators in Africa

2) It was a police state

3) Liberia hit rock bottom in the14th year of war

Liberian women started the peace movement with 10 dollars in resources. The movement started a letter-writing campaign, spoke with foreign delegations in Liberia, and confronted perpetrators. It was able to bring peace. Women bringing Africa from war to development is not a new phenomenon, we just never stopped to write our stories sot hey have not been hear. In 1929, the Aba Women’s riots in Nigeria occurred.25,000 women participated; 50 were killed ; 50 more were arrested protesting colonialism. However, the women won and showed the ruling power that they must be accounted for. These women were powerless but determined.

Moving back to modern times, in 2003 Liberian women brought peace and were told to relax. However, these wome refused because they decided that they were never going back. They knew that the fight did not end with peace. For example, domestic violence is prevalent in peace-time through the objectification of women. When Ms. Gbowee began as a social worker, she worked with child soldiers- a 16 year old said that he never raped a woman because he did not understand what rape is. Now, through the work of the peace movement and through the work of women lawyers, Liberia has one of strongest rape laws inthe world. It also has laws protecting indigenous wives who are commodified through property law.

This journey also needs to take advantage of moments of opportunity. Following the end of civil war and the establishment of free elections in Liberia, we began a campaign to register women to vote. People ask : How did Liberia get a female president ? It is not rocket science : more women are registered to vote than men in Liberia. We cannot separate peace from politics and development. This is an error of the development community Now women’s issues are treated like pieces in a puzzle in development. Instead, women need to be part of the solution in war time, transition and development agendas. We now have the Sustainable Development Goals: How do we begin to implement them? In Syria, peace is considered too complicated for women. In South Sudan it is the same. If war and peace are considered too complicated for women, how do you expect them to lead development? Peace is part of transition from war to development. Women active combatants in war when they are raped and suffer, they are not observers. Why should they be limited to observers in peace processes ?

The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 is pathetic because all of the funding for women, peace and security is tied to counter-terrorism. However, if a women has seve children and cannot pay for their education, who do you think will be the first recruits in terrorist organizations and militias ? Women need to be considered as active participants in peace and development processes. Donors, like Luxembourg, should give any development funding unless women are active parts of the solution and not simply restricted to being observers.

Development blind spots: rethinking gender inequality

„Why it is considered reasonable to intervene when the Taliban in Afghanistan organizes to stop girls from attending school? And why do we hesitate when millions of girls are prevented from attending school by the private decision of millions of individual fathers who are spread over large areas?” – asks Deepa Narayan ahead of her lecture in Budapest.

How can we address gender inequalities that still persist in rich countries and in poor countries? In the USA, with an overall ranking of 20 on the Gender Gap index (World Economic Forum), the pay gap between men and women will take a century to close.  The United Nations may have already given up.  In the current UN efforts on developing Sustainable Development Goals, gender equality is about the only goal that is not time bound, a direction without commitment. It makes gender equality more difficult to achieve than climate change, which has time bound targets. Given these difficulties, how long then will it take India with more than 500 million girls and women, and an overall ranking of 114 on the gender gap index, to achieve gender equality?

Given this context, we need to fundamentally challenge existing development policy and practice to achieve greater gender equality more quickly.

Drawing on data from the USA and new research on India, a case is made to re-consider the primacy given to economics rather than culture, the public rather than private, and the external rather than internal in our policy thinking.

Women rights in Afghanistan

Afghanistan has gone through 37 years of war, the parties to the war have changed during these years, but the violation of human rights and women’s rights continued in different levels without any type of accountability and justice for most of the time.

During the conflict and war, usually women and children, people with disability and elderly are the victims. Because it is always easy to control women (as half of the population), under the banner of respecting culture and traditions, honor of the family and community, religion and protection. It is harsher in countries where the majority of the people are uneducated.

Discrimination against women in Afghanistan continued, particularly during the first 25 years of the war. After 9/11 and the international community’s involvement in Afghanistan, the situation on human rights and women’s right have improved a lot, but it is still far from the full equality between men and women.

When: 22nd April 2014 at 5:00pm CET / 3:00pm GMT (check time around the world).

Where: University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences, Kardeljeva ploščad 5

You can join the lecture by:

  • coming to the event in Ljubljana
  • following livestreaming from the event at kapuscinskilectures.eu
  • asking your questions to Sima Samar via Twitter using #KAPTalks hashtag

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Women in development

Text of the full speech (check against delivery)

The lack of trust in leaders and the urgent challenges of poverty, inequality, conflict and climate change demand a new model of leadership and development. The 21st century is the time for inclusion and women’s full and equal participation. An effective post-2015 development agenda requires a focus on promoting human rights, ensuring public participation and tackling structural inequalities.