We are proud to share the story of our UN Intern in Geneva Chiara Dedeken, who has just won an essay contest on the topic of "Enhancing the role of women in peace and security", organized by Leiden University and The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague. Her essay, which explores an often-neglected aspect of the Women Peace and Security agenda i.e. prevention, focuses on the role of mothers - and the imperative of involving fathers - for peace education in the home.
The goal of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda is both to promote peace and to protect and empower women. However, most discourse on WPS has to date focused on meaningful participation in conflict resolution and negotiations, as well as on the protection of women since they are disproportionately affected by conflict and war. While the WPS agenda builds on the argument that including women is necessary for sustainable and lasting peace, the focus of the agenda tends to be around political and economic empowerment while neglecting the aspect of conflict prevention and the addressing of root causes and structural problems that underlie the conflict and/or violence.
Chiara’s essay aims to reconnect with the two essential goals of the WPS agenda by putting forward recommendations that empower local women as well as contribute to peacebuilding, in particular, conflict prevention, and to creating sustainable peace. Arguing that peace begins at home, her essay highlights the importance of peace education, both for children and their parents.
Acknowledging the significant impact of a child’s immediate environment during early childhood development, as well as the unique position that mothers have long after that, the essay proposes to empower local women, and in particular mothers or other female caretakers, through educational programs. Tailored to the context and nature of the conflict or security threats in particular countries, these programs can empower women in contributing to sustainable peace through a role they have taken on long before: as a caregiver.
But the essay also highlights that these educational programs should not be limited to the empowerment of local women or mothers, but should aim to include men as much as possible, in order to prevent further stereotyping and inadvertently putting an additional burden on women.
Read the full essay
Chiara is currently supporting MMM in developing advocacy tools to promote the role of mothers for peace and security, not only at the individual and family level, but also at the community, national and international levels.
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