Peace processes in the World: The Role of Women's Participation

The Turkey Antenna of the Mediterranean Women Mediators Network organized an online meeting entitled “Peace Processes in the World: The Role of Women's Participation".

At the conference, Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, Muna Luqman, and Betty Bigombe presented their papers on the role of women in world peace processes.

At the opening session of the meeting, Irene Fellin, Co-founder and President Mediterranean Women Mediators Network Irene Fellin stated that the Turkey Antenna has done important work since its establishment and before.

In the first session, Sanam Naraghi, founder of the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN), conveyed ICAN's work and experience in peace processes. In her presentation, Naraghi expressed the current situation regarding the exclusion of women from conflict processes from a global perspective. According to Naraghi “The mediators do not see the inclusion of women in negotiation processes as a priority. In some countries, political parties resist the participation of women because women are culturally excluded there. The legitimacy of women's non-governmental groups is questioned, and women are ignored by saying that ‘the process is too sensitive, we cannot overcome it.’ In these countries, the actors argue that the negotiation processes are related to technical or military/security issues and make excuses by stating that women/civil society maybe can participate in later processes. There is also an underestimation that the negotiating table is not the place to deal with 'women's issues' or gender equality.”

At the session, Muna Luqman, the founding president of Food Humanity, Co-founder of Mediterranean Women Mediators Network, peacebuilder, and activist, also shared her experiences. In her speech, Luqman criticized the United Nations for not encouraging women's participation in peace processes and noted that they prevented the recruitment of 75 children with their work as women peace advocates in Yemen. According to Luqman “The only issue that men agree on is discrimination against women. For this reason, women's solidarity is extremely important. In addition, the participation of women in peace negotiations is substantial to represent all social segments on the table. The characteristics of countries should be also taken into consideration in peace processes.”

The last speaker of the meeting was Ugandan politician and mediator Betty Bigombe discussed the negotiations in South Sudan in her presentation.

Bigombe, who served as chief mediator in the State Ministry for peace and Humanitarian Affairs in northern Uganda in 1990 and 2000s, expressed her satisfaction over meeting with women mediators, by saying: “Sharing our experiences and knowledge strengthens our voice as women."