One of the greatest global policy issues that interest me is Women’s Right and genderising leadership role (Gender Equality) to enhance peace and security. The phenomenon of women’s right has evolved since the beginning of mankind and it has been perceived and tackled using different approaches in different centuries and civilizations. Despite the global attention given to this very crucial topic by world movements such as the United Nations Organization, it remains a point of concern to the world. This issue is currently being debated and talked about over the media, women’s conferences, women and development programmes as well as women empowerment forums. Despite the fact that much has been done in various women’s conferences starting from the 1848 women's rights convention of Seneca Falls, New York to the 1850 National Women's Rights Convention of Worcester, to the 1869 National Woman Suffrage Association and the recent 20th and 21st century conferences of Beijing, Nairobi, Ougadougou, just to name a few little has been achieved to secure the rights of women.
The problem of women’s rights basically originates from the roles and responsibilities men and women handle in basic issues of live such as legislation, land, education, inheritance, healthcare, reproduction, culture and tradition, decision-making, employment, political positions, moral codes etc. Also, global women’s rights contradict local rights in many societies. I grew up in a society where women’s right abuses manifest themselves through actions like domestic violence, discrimination, female genital mutilation, slavery, forced prostitution, forced or early childhood marriages, forced abortion, restricted freedom of movement, forceful seizure of property from widows and orphans, sexual harassment, breast ironing, taboos inflicted on women by customs and traditions especially when their spouse is dead and even infanticides.
What makes the women’s right problem very challenging to address is the fact that it is multifaceted. Abuse on women’s right is not just male chauvinism over women as many have initially believed. Men, women, customs and traditions as well as societal demands contribute to women’s rights abuses. This is what makes women’s rights abuse complicated to address. Female genital mutilation and breast ironing are examples of women’s abuse on women. This can be quite complex to address.
Although there are more pressing issues of concern to be confronted by policy makers, I think close attention should be paid to this particular issue, first of all because women’s rights are human rights too and although women are vulnerable, if given a chance, they can produce outstanding results and can also play the part of good leadership in any given society. Every woman has a dream and a vision and even potentials to provide something unique and beneficial to the society in which she belongs for the sake of peace. But most of these dreams never come to reality due to the above mentioned factors. It is so unfortunate that some societies have so intimidated their women such that many are not even conscious of the fact that they have rights; they do not know that they can be independent, responsible and also become leaders to build peace. This is why the world has the responsibility of creating this awareness in them and connecting women with mentors so that many will not carry these great potentials to their graves. Also, structures set up to address women’s rights and their wellbeing is given less attention. An ignorant woman produces ignorant citizens and this could likely lead to the building of insecure groups or societies out of ignorance. We know of course that when purpose is not known, abuse is inevitable. The United States Office of Global Women’s Issues has opted to facilitate this fight for women’s right by promoting stability, peace, and development through empowering women politically, socially, and economically around the world. The US secretary of state John Kerry stated that, "No country can get ahead if it leaves half of its people behind talking about women. Let’s carry on with our women for a better future for sustainable development. This is why the United States believes gender equality is critical to shared goals of prosperity, stability, and peace, reason why investing in women and girls worldwide is critical” When women and girls are empowered, educated, and equipped to contribute to their societies, their families and countries are more likely to prosper, and be more stable and secure. The efforts of policy makers to make peace are more sustainable when women have a say in how societies recover and move forward from conflict. Women’s progress is human progress. Genderising Leadership Role will foster Sustainable Development in every nation, reduce violence because women are good negotiators and good peace-builders. Women in most nations have been left out in decision making. This is a big problem that exists at the level of decision making in particular especially in Africa. Equal opportunities policies are not given to men and women and this hinders peace and sustainable development. I have been interacting with stakeholders at different levels in my humanitarian work but I have realized that very few women are occupying the post of ministers, presidents and they are not fully involved like men in policy making. The improvement on the number of women just like men in all institutions of a given country will give room for women to participate in conflict management, peace-building processes, decision making, dissemination of the rightful information and implementation of policies at all levels to foster sustainable development. This write up is geared towards the recommendation of gender policy to fight against gender base violence, enhance gender leadership role in peace and security. According to the United Nations, before the Second World War, 90 per cent of casualties in conflicts were combatants. Today, the majority of casualties are civilians, especially women and children. Not only are their needs ignored during times of conflict, but women are often excluded from efforts to make and keep the peace – despite representing half the population.
The continued under-representation of women in peace processes, the lack of institutional arrangements to protect women and the widespread use of sexual- and gender-based violence as a tactic of war, remain major impediments to building sustainable peace.
The UN Security Council called on the international community to take action to address these issues through UNSCR 1325, adopted on 31 October 2000, which was followed by seven additional Resolutions (1820, 1888, 1889, 1960, 2106, 2122 and 2422). However issues can only be addressed by people who value all human beings and these entails building of women’s capacity to take action as required remedying the situation at hand in Africa and the world at large. The best way forward to foster the achievement of positive outcomes in gender issues, women’s rights and fight against violence is taking into account in every engagement gender equality as an objective, mainstreaming gender as a strategy, integrating a gender perspective as a method and gender analysis as a tool.