Women, Military and Converging Leadership Roles in the New Decade

yvoneakoth
Posted January 8, 2020 from Kenya

The holidays have come to an end. It is another new year with lots of expectations, hope, and promises. Families came together to celebrate with one another. Some were not privileged to have this opportunity. As a woman working in the field of peace and security, I am always thinking of how I can contribute to making every new year safer for women and girls, men and boys and especially those who are most vulnerable in our society.  My work has exposed me to so much joy and sadness at the same time. When a conflict is resolved amicably, lives are saved, and relationships are restored. However, sometimes the result is pain, broken relationships and loss of lives. I feel like it was just yesterday when I graduated with a degree in peace and conflict studies. My passion in life has always been to pursue a successful life in the arts and write life-changing inspiring stories while working towards a violence-free society. My graduation would strengthen my resolve to immerse myself in a life of compassion, love, and hope for my community.

As I begin to draw my action plan for 2020, I am thinking of my uncle’s family. More specifically, his wife especially at this time of the year. My uncle works in the Kenyan army. For the last couple of years, he has been based in our neighboring country of Somalia, making a significant contribution to peace in the war-tone country and contributing to regional peace. In 2019, I was delighted that he graced my graduation ceremony. It was one of those rare occasions when he came home on leave to visit with his family. We got to talk briefly about war and the impact it has on a country’s citizens as well as on the lives of soldiers and their families. During our conversations, my aunty was listening silently and keenly most of the time. Contributing little or nothing at all. I looked at her and wondered what was on her mind. As our conversations continued, I noticed the gaze in her eyes and listened quietly when she finally chose to speak. She spoke of their day to day lives without my uncle. At that time, the big role women play in their families while their husbands are deployed abroad was emphasized in my mind. In this new age of emerging conflicts and wars, they take on a significant leadership role that is impactful to their family and the society, instantly becoming a contemporary leader in a world where women are increasingly playing a significant role in the outcome of tomorrow's citizens. For instance, my aunty organizes forums and meetings with fellow military wives where they provide emotional and psychological support to each other and their children. This support extends to their extended families where they become mentally and physically present to their in-laws, especially in an African setting.

The new year will see many military officers from all over the world return to work after the holidays. An increase in conflict is an increase in the number of women taking on leadership responsibilities in their homes and in their communities.  Africa alone has experienced more than 15,000 conflicts in 2019.  According to the latest United Nations Peacekeeping Report 110,000 peacekeepers have been deployed globally to maintain peace in fragile states. In the spirit of building and strengthening women's leadership, it is my hope that we will work towards recognizing and support military wives as well as women serving in military spaces. These are women who have gone out of their way to promote peace and ensure that communities are left standing on their feet. It is our duty to stand with them during this difficult and trying time. 

 

This story was submitted in response to Moments of Hope.

Comments 21

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Chinyere Kalu
Jan 09
Jan 09

Woah! Really thought provoking.

yvoneakoth
Jan 10
Jan 10

Thank you Chinyere!

Anita Shrestha
Jan 09
Jan 09

good work

yvoneakoth
Jan 10
Jan 10

Thank you Anita.

Spiritedsoul
Jan 09
Jan 09

Hello,
I like your aspirations for the coming year. I wish you all the best in them, keep continuing doing great work that you do towards peace.
Hugs,
Jess.

yvoneakoth
Jan 10
Jan 10

Thank you Jess for the support.

Tamarack Verrall
Jan 09
Jan 09

Hi Yvone,
Thank you for writing about the reality of women in countries deep in war bearing the brunt with efforts largely unrecognized, and for the reminder that there is so much conflict, in so many countries. Your aunty is doing such important work. As a global community of World Pulse members hopefully we can create stronger international pressure to bring peace and find ways to support the women in those many areas where wars are raging.

yvoneakoth
Jan 10
Jan 10

Thank you Tamarack for your kind words. I have always wanted to speak out on the important role military wives play in our world today.

Jill Langhus
Jan 10
Jan 10

Hi Yvone,

How are you? Thanks for sharing this interesting, as well as informative viewpoint on military wives and service women, too. It's important to look at different areas from different perspectives and to also be enlightened about, and discuss, areas that aren't really highlighted. I agree that they need to be recognized and supported more. Your aunt, and so many other women are playing such a large part in so many lives.

I hope you're doing well and that you have a great weekend.

yvoneakoth
Jan 10
Jan 10

I am fine Jill. I hope you are well too. I appreciate your enlightened view and will continue championing support for military wives and service women.

Jill Langhus
Jan 11
Jan 11

I'm glad to hear it:-) I'm doing well, thank you!

Great to hear! Looking forward to hearing more about it!

Hello, Yvone,

Wow! Thank you for sharing this perspective on the effect of conflict to women esp the wives of military men. This is a powerful statement, “ An increase in conflict is an increase in the number of women taking on leadership responsibilities in their homes and in their communities.”

Thank you for writing this! Hope you’ll have a blast this 2020!

yvoneakoth
Jan 10
Jan 10

Thank you Karen for your kind and supportive words.

You're welcome, dear. :)

Charity Birla
Jan 10
Jan 10

Thanks for sharing. The strength of every society is a woman. We hope peace returns as women take the lead while serving.

yvoneakoth
Jan 10
Jan 10

I agree with you, Charity. Let us continue working for peace and supporting military families.

lizzymark
Jan 12
Jan 12

Hi sis,this truly is a great vision, thanks for shearing about your aspirations for the new year,especially for women in deep areas of war like that. I wish you success.

Kika Katchunga
Jan 14
Jan 14

Great news, you have been truly fantastic at having this Heart God bless you. Thank you for sharing, my best wishes to you, may this year be for you a Years of success in all your projects
love much

Lisbeth
Jan 14
Jan 14

Hi dear,
Thanks fo sharing, I was very much keenly on how your Aunty was listening to you whilst you are talking.
How lovely it is to have such keen Listener.
Hope you are having a great day.
Warm regards

Lily Habesha
Jan 15
Jan 15

Dear Yvoneakoth,
I do feel what kind of burden your aunty and her friends are carrying. She's really dong a great job. As a neighbor, we hear the stories everyday and we worry for them and sympathize.
Thank you for bringing this issue here and encourage women to work towards peace.

Lily

ARREY- ECHI
Jan 24
Jan 24

Hello Yvonne,
Thank you for shinning the light on this often neglected topic.
The emotional and pyschologicla trauma in military families especially in conflicts is one that cannot be over emphasized.
We pray and wish for a time when wars and conflicts will be things of the past.