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Gender and Race in Peace-building Endeavors

How Race and Gender Help in Peace-building Strategies

Gender and Race in Peace-building Endeavors

Introduction

From the time when the Cold War ended, different countries in the world have always asserted that peace is important for development and growth. A major actor that is recognized the most for persistently addressing the importance of security and peace via different integrated programs, strategies and policies is the United Nations. The word “peace-building” can be defined from the post-conflict reconstruction era and it broadened during the 20th century to include different peace agendas in the support of conflict management and prevention. Peace-building can be defined as the creation of important relationships between nations, religions, groups, classes and races while trying to use nonviolent means of ending injustice. The aim of peace-building is to transform structural conditions whose tendency is to cause deadly conflicts (Tishirgi 1).

Different theoretical models are used in resolving conflicts as well as realizing justice among the modern societies. Additionally, different peace-building strategies are lumped with different theories of conflict resolution. These strategies ought to be adopted in addressing vital issues that include economic development, environmental prosperity and human rights among others. As such, it is important to adopt the right strategies in order to meet the set objectives. Formulating peace-building strategies is a subject that concerns our society. Several countries or societies have been unable to use nonviolent ways in ending conflicts by involving stakeholders in the formulation of peace-building strategies. The fact that race and gender aspects have not been included by most societies in the formulation of peace-building strategies is an issue of great concern. The aim of this paper is to analyze how gender and race help in the formulation of peace-building strategies (Tishirgi 1).

How Race and Gender Helps in Peace-building Strategies

How race helps peace-building strategies

To sustain peace in a society, it is important to understand things’ nature. Among the factors affecting the process of peace-building are ethnic equality, race, class and gender. Racial differences are among the factors whose contribution to conflicts and tension occurrence in the modern society is significant. Understanding that race is a factor that causes conflict is important in the formulation of the right peace-building strategies. Tishirgi (1) notes that, peaceful coexistence is a conflict’s locus. Additionally, this has a bearing when it comes to reaching a long-term resolution. This author also contends that in most nations more so in Africa, conflicts are based on races.

As such, it is possible to effectively resolve these conflicts by using a sophisticated and creative approach that considers race as an issue. This approach ought to penetrate deep into the racial relationships because these promote conflicts. This will help in the realization of genuine reconciliation. According to Stover and Weinstein (24), peace-building strategies are only appropriate when they adopt innovative means of engaging the conflicting races as well as their affiliations. There should be a mechanism for engaging the conflicting races. Understanding racial variations is important in the formulation of peace-building strategies. Promoting vital harmonious societies is important in supporting creative expression among all races because this helps in the development of the right approaches while handling conflicts as well as other global problems. The major challenge that peace practitioners face in the modern society is offering freedom to different people with varying racial backgrounds so that they can participate in the peace-building processes. Understanding and considering the strengths of different races is very important. It is important to allow individuals with specific strengths to participate in this process as peace-builders and caretakers (Richmond 12).

Understanding all human beings without considering their color plays a vital role in peace-building (Conteh-Morgan, 76). As such, opinions and ideas of different races or individuals ought to be considered while formulating or designing peace-building strategies. Nevertheless, this is not what has been happening in some states. For instance, in the US, the color of women is fraught with prejudice as well as bias and the whites’ savior complex while attempting to promote justice and peace. Among the women acknowledged for promoting peace internationally, the efforts of the black women have not been recognized. Basically, race cannot be neglected by the peace-building members of the contemporary world (Richmond 22).

Comprehending race discourses helps in building peace internationally. It enhances stakeholders’ creativity while formulating peace-building strategies. This bridge racial divides chasms in an innovative manner (Conteh-Morgan, 80).

Gender and Peace-building Process

Involving both genders is very important in peace-building. Nevertheless, this is not what happens in most countries or societies. There is limited involvement of women in peace-building. This trend can be attributed to a common belief that only people who carry gun can be included in a peace table. This opinion or belief is provocative. Mostly, active combatants and peace negotiations are dominated by men. It should be understood that peace-building is inclusive and therefore it affects women. Making decisions without engaging every individual that is affected by the made decisions is indecisive. Gender being a tool for analysis helps the peace practitioners in understanding varying peace-building dimensions within the society. Various gender elements ought to be emphasized in the strategies for building peace because this ensures that all issues are addressed properly. Gender is a vital analytical tool that creates a platform via which peace and conflict are analyzed properly.

Hinton (22) notes that most formal activities, policies and strategies of building peace do not have adequate comprehension of various communities that are included in a conflict. Incorporation of gender in the peace-building strategies is important because it brings out the vast experiences that both women and men have had during the times of peace and conflict. Analyzing gender aids peace practitioners in assessing different needs that the affected individuals or people who are likely to be affected by conflict in the future have. Hinton (43) notes that analyzing gender helps in determining gender relations’ changes after and during conflicts. This provides a platform for addressing different issues.

Incorporation of gender in peace-building strategies plays a very significant role since it gives peace practitioners a better understanding of certain concerns for both women and men especially in relation to gender-based violence. Failing to address the issues of gender during the post-conflict reconstruction duration can cause a reemergence of the conflicts in the future. Gender-based violence continuation has a tendency of propagating post-conflict settings which cause long term adverse impacts on the crucial peace-building processes. Gender incorporation in peace-building strategies facilitates safeguarding of the “weaker sex” interests in the society. Apparently, young girls and women are dissuaded by the negative impacts of conflict from pursuing objectives and goals.

In extreme cases, girls and women have been denied the freedom of owning businesses or property as well as the right to work hard to reach higher corporate positions within the labor market. Women have been confined to domestic duties that include preparing food and raising children by conflicts. This economic setback should be addressed properly. To address such issues properly, gender should be incorporated in peace-building strategies. Families tend to be affected by conflicts negatively and in different ways. Conflicts foster impunity within societal and family settings. As such, analyzing gender is a vital way of dealing with stereotypes and impunity in the modern society. Gender analysis makes it possible for peace practitioners to comprehend different gender problems and therefore make appropriate recommendations for peace-building strategies (Stover & Weinstein 45).

According to El-Bushra (7), the bases of the associations of different members in a society in regards to the strategies of resolving conflict are usually assumptions. For example, the belief of many people is that young girls and women are affected the most by conflicts. The view of other people is that women are usually the peace advocates in a society. As such, women are considered stronger than men when it comes to the efforts that are aimed at realizing peace. The actions of women in most communities also speak clearly. Therefore, one can argue that generally, women are peaceful. Their opinions and views can be important in the process of building peace in a society.

According to El-Bushra (8), understanding gender identities clearly is important in the formulation of peace-building strategies. Tshirgi (3) also supports this view by pointing out that women have a vital role to play in the process of building peace. It is important to empower women in order to promote peace. Women are important because they help in the entire peace building process in varying and effective ways. The society should not neglect the role of women in peace-building. According to statistics, women are more willing to reach reconciliation with enemies than men. This quality of women should be considered while designing strategies for a peace-building process. It is surprising that there are few institutions for women’s peace-building that have been created. Even the ones in place get little support and attention. The role of women in mediating families or societies’ localized conflicts is very critical. They play a great role in bringing together the estranged communities or families as well as supporting mechanisms and systems that aim at resolving conflicts (International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance 11).

Women are usually process-oriented and non-partisan in peaceful negotiations. This ensures that varying needs of different stakeholders are handled. In some cases, the agendas of peaceful negotiations are about violent protagonists. Supporting and creating women’s organizations should be included in the peace-building strategies. This enhances the support that women get in their efforts towards the realization of reconciliation at the community level. Although the belief of most men is that the effect of women’s role is secondary, their work impact on the process of resolving conflict significantly (El-Bushra 10).

Gender equality is a component of peace

There is a clear description of the aspired peace-building vision in the framework for peace-building by Alert. This vision is described as “a society where contradictions and conflicts are resolved in an inclusive and constructive fashion making it immune to systematic or mass violence” (El-Bushra 11). Gender values which include promotion of equality ought to be part of a peace-building strategy because these are inherent in ensuring peace on long term basis. Peace-building should be a transformative process that promotes women rights and their empowerment (Lederach 56). Peace-building should have a broader scope which ought to be employed as a means of change levering in a society.

To achieve this, women should be accorded prominent opportunities during the peace-building process or even post-conflict reconstruction. There should also be security reforms. It is important to include gender equality in the peace-building strategies because it aids in the process of creating peaceful interactions among the society members. It also ensures equitable resource management in the community. This promotes sustainable peace. Favorable environments for women should be created by peace-building strategies within the society (Laderach 76).

Conclusion

As a process, peace-building does not work alone. This process helps in the establishment of a basic foundation which is important in bringing the conflicting groups or people together. To achieve peace-building, effective or appropriate strategies must be adopted. Peace-building approaches have a checklist and every element ought to be considered. Race and gender are among these elements and their effects on peace-building strategies are far-reaching. More conflicts arise when gender and race elements are neglected. Therefore, it is important to consider these factors while formulating peace-building strategies.

 

 

Works Cited

Conteh-Morgan, E. Peacebuilding and Human Security: A Constructivist Perspective. International Journal of Peace Studies, 10.1. (2005): 70-85. Web. 20 Nov. 2013 <http://www.gmu.edu/programs/icar/ijps/vol10_1/Conteh-Morgan_101IJPS.pdf>

El-Bushra, Judy. “Gender in Peacebuilding: Taking Stock.” 2012. Web. 20 Nov. 2013 <http://www.idea.int/asia_pacific/burma/upload/Women_and_Peace_building_Workshops_Report.pdf>

Lederach, Paul. The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace. USA: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Hinton, Laban. Transitional Justice: Global Mechanisms and Local Realities after Genocide and Mass Violence (Genocide, Political Violence, Human Rights). Rutgers University Press, 2010.

International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. “Women and Peace Building.” 2003. Web. 20 Nov. 2013

http://www.idea.int/asia_pacific/burma/upload/Women_and_Peace_building_Workshops_Report.pdf

Obiekwe, Kenneth. “In search of Appropriate Peacemaking/Peacebuilding Paradigm with Africa’s Intrastate Violent Conflicts: Considering Lederach’s Faith-based Conflict Tranformation and Peacebuilding Approach.” 2009. Web. 20 Nov. 2013 <http://www.bradford.ac.uk/ssis/peace-conflict-and-development/issue-13/Issue-13-article-11-formatted-pdf.pdf>

Richmond, Oliver P. Palgrave Advances in Peacebuilding: Critical Developments and Approaches. Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

Stover, Eric. & Weinstein, Harvey. My Neighbor, My Enemy: Justice and Community in the Aftermath of Mass Atrocity. Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Tschirgi, Necla. “Peacebuilding as the link between Security and Development: Is the Window of Opportunity Closing?” 2003. Web. 20 Nov. 2013 <http://www.un.org/esa/peacebuilding/Library/Peacebuilding_as_link_IPA.pdf?

 

 

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