If all the presidents were women …

Passy Mubalama
Posted September 9, 2013 from Democratic Republic of the Congo

If the presidents of all countries in the world were women, would the Democratic Republic of Congo be at war? Women are so sensitive to the problems and suffering of others that they would never tolerate the suffering experienced by people in countries where we see repeated wars today. I am reassured that they would do all they can to find a solution, quickly. Are men aware of the suffering experienced by people in the countries they lead? Do they have a heart? Why do they not seek a lasting solution to end the wars that traumatize people; most of whom are women and children. In the last week of August, new clashes were reported in North Kivu in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between M23, an active rebel group in eastern DRC and the loyalist army, called the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) . The day after the clashes, six shells fell in the town of Goma, the provincial capital of North Kivu, killing seven and injuring around twenty civilians. A shell fell just 100 meters from my house and killing civilian "So until when we continue to live in such conditions? We are tired with these wars ," complains Bibishe Bashige, a woman aged thirty, years who saw the child of her neighbor die. Incidentally, we had met just a few hours after the detonation of the shells. The consequences of war in eastern DRC are increasing. According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), from 1 January 2009 to 25 June 2013, the Province of North Kivu had a total workforce of 967,050 internally displaced people (IDP's) following multiple wars in this region. Unfortunately, the majority of the displaced and the survivors are women and children who live in difficult conditions in IDP camps. As the statistics show, the consequences of all the wars in the world are many and devastating. Every day the number of people dying injured or displaced rises. . Since 1994, the DRC has known a situation of ' political instability and ethnic conflict due to the presence of several armed rebel groups and national as well as popular foreign rebel groups such as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of self-defense of Rwanda (FDLR). Many war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed by the rebels. Reports –The maping report released by the UN and Human Rights Watch state that armed groups like Movement of March 23 (M23) are supported by neighbors of DRC, including Rwanda and Uganda. Indeed living in the eastern DRC has become stressful and tough for many people. These wars cause numerous violations of human rights simultaneously including sexual abuse of women and girls, killings, abductions, sexual slavery, genital mutilation etc. Unfortunately, the search for solutions to end all this is going to slow down. But the question often comes to mind is: If the DRC President Joseph Kabila was a woman, would the situation be the same? Would the DRC be having internal conflicts?

It is true that Congolese customs and African culture tend to underestimate the woman and consider her a "lowly" being. But what solutions have men, supposedly, the "strong" beings, brought to the plight of women and children, who eagerly await peace and quiet? What do men of the Congo, Africa, the United States of America, the United Nations and worldwide,, done to resolve conflicts That cost human lives? "We always tend to say that women act with their hearts and not their intelligence. But if men could act for a minute with their hearts, like women, will things not be different? Would not the problem of war would be solved long ago as women would not bear to see others suffer? ", Masika Denise. a resident of Goma questioned. If the Democratic Republic of Congo, the United States, the United Nations and the UN Security Council were chaired by a woman, geopolitical realities might be different. I am convinced that it is possible to end the wars that ravage our world. If men think with their souls instead of only their heads and minds, a lasting solution to the conflicts that characterize the world will finally be found.

This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future a program of World Pulse that provides rigorous new media and citizen journalism training for grassroots women leaders. World Pulse lifts and unites the voices of women from some of the most unheard regions of the world.I

Voices of Our Future 2013 Assignments: Op-Eds

Comments 9

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Olanike
Sep 09, 2013
Sep 09, 2013

Your words conveyed your passionate concern about the senseless war in the DRC and a yearning to see it end. I agree with you on how the situation will be different if women were in the driving seat of power.

In recent times, I have towed your line of thought as I follow the heart wrenching news of the fate of women in war torn and affected countries- Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, DRC, Somalia, Central African Republic...... It is a sad tale and women and children continue to suffer. I sometimes want to think that men refuse to think with their heart because the onus of putting life to birth lies on women. Ofcourse, no woman would readily take up arms against anyone, knowing what it takes to birth life.

Women would not be asking for too much, if we were to ask for a go at the Presidency, the world over. PEACE will surely thrive as evidenced by the situation in Liberia, South Korea, Germany, Malawi, Brazil, Bangladesh....

Thank you for your thought provoking opinion. I look forward to hearing news that peace has returned to DRC.

Best Wishes, Greengirl

Patricia Lindrio
Sep 10, 2013
Sep 10, 2013

God bless Congo! I pray for you! If all presidents were women?? There would probably be more loving!

good Job!

Yvette Warren
Sep 11, 2013
Sep 11, 2013

Our wombs are our most powerful weapons. Have you ever read Toni Morrison's "Beloved"? We women have the power to stop producing children for their war machines. Thank you, Passy for opening up this conversation.

pelamutunzi
Sep 11, 2013
Sep 11, 2013

If indeed all the presidents were women there would be peace and unity and less abuse of women and children. I pray for DRC and the women whose lives and livelihoods have been destroyed by the war whilst a few leaders gain power and riches. What a pity.

Mukut
Sep 11, 2013
Sep 11, 2013

The world would have been a better place if we realized women's worth and accorded them the dignity they deserve.

But one thing I know, DRC is a better place because of women like you. Shine on !

Love,

Iryna
Sep 20, 2013
Sep 20, 2013

Passy, you said beautiful words, women act with their hearts, and their strength is in this. I wish with all my heart that women of the world could unite and stop wars forever. My name "Iryna" from Greek means "peace" and this is really the greatest part of my soul. Wishing you and your people only peace, Warmest regards, Iryna

sallyhedman
Sep 25, 2013
Sep 25, 2013

Hello Passy,

This is a compelling op-ed. Nicely written. It made me want to learn more about matriarchal societies and why we don't have more of them in our world today. I see women as peace-makers. And you make strong arguments through your questions and information that the world would be a better place with more women leaders. That sounds like a wonderful solution to a world wracked by conflict and injustice. How do we get there?

Bless you for your insight about women as leaders whose very nature could serve to end conflict. May peace come to you and the DRC soon.

Keep up with your fine writing and clear arguments.

Best regards,

Sally

Zoe
Nov 08, 2013
Nov 08, 2013

Whoa! I am impressed with your BOLD call out of female leadership and the potential for it to lead to a paradigm shift of peace.

Thank you for writing!

I am curious to hear your perspectives on the recent news in the Congo? What do you foresee for the future?

mrbeckbeck
Nov 21, 2013
Nov 21, 2013

Hi Passy, This is really an interesting question and one that I've considered for some time now. If women were in charge of governments, businesses, and associations, would things be different? Surely they would be different! I think that there is plenty of room for women at these tables, and there is also room for men to wake up and act with their hearts and souls too. Though sometimes, when women are in charge, they keep up with the same patterns. To me it's not a male/female question as much as it is a way of thinking about leadership.

But... your argument is spot-on--- let's say enough of this nonsense and get some heart-felt leaders! Thank you!