Women, Gender and Peace Building
20 – 22 January 2009
Given the context of
wars, civil wars, heightened terrorist attacks, glaring injustices and the
double speak of governments, civil society organizations are being galvanized to
take up ‘peace building’ as a core intervention, integral to the process of
human development and societal transformation. It is necessary to
constantly ‘beat an old drum’ for women bear the brunt of wars and poverties.
It is crucial to mainstream gender in every social intervention leading to
Peace is not the
absence of war.
“ Peace, in the sense of the absence of war, is of little value to someone who
is dying of hunger or cold. It will not remove the pain of torture inflicted on
a prisoner of conscience. It does not comfort those who have lost their loved
ones in floods caused by senseless deforestation in a neighboring country. Peace
can only last where human rights are respected, where people are fed, and where
individuals and nations are free. The XIVth Dalai Lama.
In the Judeo
Christian tradition peace as shalom includes just relationships.
Peace cannot be separated from justice. A terminology gaining popularity,
over the last decade is ‘justpeace’ and this is self explanatory. Lasting
peace cannot be found unless justice is done.
Countries in South
Asia are reeling under aggression and violence of civil wars, terrorist attacks,
proxy wars. Some of this engineered by external forces for profit.
The military industrial complex has to be featured into our attempts at doing
social/gender analysis. In as much as we need to see peace building as
crucial for development, we must from the outset see gender as a cross cutting
perspective and integrate gender equity concerns into peace building.
Goal of the
Creating a forum
for ‘just-peace’ initiatives within the Soth Asian Gender Alliance (SAGA)
The specific objectives are listed below:
conflicts in South Asia.
of conflicts and peace building processes
and applying frameworks and tools for mainstreaming gender in
scope and methodology for future interventions towards ‘just-peace’ through
The methodology will
be participatory and will include role plays, case studies, theatre workshops,
input sessions and group discussions.
Women, Gender and Peace Building
20 -22 January 2009
Day 1, 20 January 2009
lamps, reading, songs etc. Cards & categorizing
barriers to peace (Mapping conflicts in the region)
Self and the other – towards peace building
socialization : consequences for violence and peace
discussion and preparation of presentations
Presentations and summing up
Day 2, 21 January 2009
social relations and institutions : Implications for peace building
– countrywise & presentations
mainstreaming in peace building : Introduction of frameworks / tools
Group work Theatre
of future plans & summing up and evaluation
Workshop – SAGA
“Women, Gender and Peace Building”
Mahabalipuram, 20th-22nd January, 2009
(Rapporteurs : Ms
Monalisa, Dr Deepali Bhanot, Ms Krishani)
The South Asia Gender Alliance Workshop on Women,
Gender and Peace Building, supported by
CASA and NCA was held at Mahabalipuram
from the 20th-22nd January, 2009
representing different NGOs from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka
participated in the Workshop.
The Goal of the
Workshop was to create a forum for ‘Justpeace’ initiative within SAGA with the
following specific objectives:
conflicts in South Asia,
of conflicts and Peace Building processes,
applying framework and tools for mainstreaming gender in Peace
scope and methodology for future interventions for ‘Justpeace’ through
January, 2008 (Day 1)
session began with a multi-faith prayer.
Dr Shiela Jones,
Regional Head CASA, welcomed the participants and informed them about the
structure and objectives of the Workshop. She also read out the message of
Mr Stephen, NCA,who could not be present at the programme.
The Chief Guests for
the day were
Ms. Jayanthi, District Magistrate and Ms Kannagi, Commissioner,
in her inaugural speech spoke about the importance of Peace and emphasized that
Peace should begin at home. Women have an important role as Peace makers
because God has created her for this specific purpose. These days even the
women are being trained as terrorists. But the need of the hour is to
train people for peace.
Women are targeted
for all kinds of violence despite the constitutional provision of equality for
all. It is the duty of all of us especially, the women to establish peace
and justice. The choice is ours whether we want to become a terrorist or Mother
Teresa. She added that this workshop was an wonderful opportunity to learn
about ‘justpeace’ and each participant should be worthy of this workshop and go
back as messengers of peace.
said that God has created women to complement men so that could work
together. The women today are working for their empowerment. Especially,
SHGs is a silent revolution through which women are strengthening themselves
economically. Women are capable of standing up to any challenge in
the form of alcoholism and other social evils. She too was of
the opinion that Peace should start at home and it is important to stand up for
Peace with Justice.
Session I :
Ms Mercy Kappan
, Gender Trainer, representing ,Visthar was the facilitator for the
session. She started the session with an exercise of mix and match cards so that
participants could introduce each other in pairs. From this individual
introduction of participants, she summed up that all the participants have some
common identities but each one of has multiple identities. In order to establish
Peace, we need to identify the barriers to building peace. Co-existence is
very important in establishing peace as this involves not only learning to deal
with and live with differences but also to celebrate differences. It also
involves learning about different identities and about different perspectives of
This was followed by
a group activity in which the participants in six groups were asked to
match 15 concepts regarding Gender Basic Terminology with their
definitions in order to deepen the understanding of Gender. Discussion was also
held on PGN, SGN and on the Access and Control of resources.
from the workshop were listed in the following four categories:
in the Region:
were divided into six groups in accordance to their countries to discuss the
following question in experience sharing:
conflict you have worked on
What are the
gender-specific vulnerabilities that women/men girls/boys faced in the
How did you
Were you able to
address both the PGN and SGI of the affected women/girls and men/boys and
what were the constraints?
What are the
gender stereotypes you encountered while working with government?
What are the
internal organizational changes you made to make the response gender
Do you have any
program for conflict transformation/peace building? Specify.
By the end of the
day two groups from Sri Lanka and one group from Bangladesh made presentations
Violence, Ethnic based discrimination and others
Gender Specific vulnerability:
control over resources
system ( not women friendly)
participation in decision making process
Response of the RDRS & CCDB:
Awareness raising / Capacity
Policy change / Advocacy
(enforcement of the existing laws and advocating for new law
Practical / Strategic Needs:
Lanka Group 01
Ethnic / Religious
conflict that has turned into a war for the past 30 years. Women and
children have been the worst sufferers.
21% women headed
households, women suffer trauma, insecurity in IDP camps that shelter around
8,00,000 displaced persons, Family life structure has been disturbed especially
in the conflict areas. No Assets / Properties. Children have been
orphaned- are insecure- no education – child marriages and there are forcible
Relief work –
Integration camps / exchange programmes – psychological support – Training &
Capacity building / livelihood/ awareness – Inter-religious dialogue – Human
rights / legal aid / advocacy – Inter faith nurseries.
Being provided support within our means.
Minimal – should be done by the government. Women’s participation was nil
in negotiation and decision making when the CFA was signed.
The majority in all
communities do not approve of division on ethnic lines. They aspiration is
to live as Sri Lankans in peace and unity while preserving their ethnic
lanka Group 02
Conflict within the family
Patriarchal attitudes – power imbalance / control – suppression of women &
children within the family – economic hardships- effects of prolonged war –
social status – Gender expectations.
raising / gender sensitization through electronic & print media ,
judiciary, law enforcement, government, health , society at large and school
empowerment by income generation (IG) and skills training
Counseling, legal aid, shelter, IG activities, medical aid, Policy level
strategies: NCW, Judges’ training, women’s desks in police, PIL, Research
& influence in policy , Medical officers’ training.
Attitudes of law
Judges towards gender issues
Women are the
weaker sex /men stronger( stereotypes)
DV is a family /
January, 2008 ( Day 2)
The day began with
the chanting of a Tamil devotional song.
had come prepared with individual presentations regarding the work/projects
being carried by their organizations. Due to paucity of time, it was
decided that all the participants will receive these presentations in a CD along
with the report.
Types of Conflicts:
caste conflicts and regional conflicts between the refugees and the host
countries. Conflicts occur as the donor agencies wish to provide relief
for the refugees and not for the host communities. Due to this conflict
problems like rape, trafficking, violence, abuse, psychological problems, poor
health, physical disabilities,school drop outs etc occur.
What they have done:
Vocational skill training has been provided not only to the dalit community but
also to the host community. Support to the refugees has been given for the
last 18 yrs. There is no refugee law in Nepal for the vulnerable women and
refugees. Therefore now the government is being forced to pass the Refugee
Law to provide them with Human Rights and Land Rights.
A number of
institutions have already been established to deal with conflicts.
Distribution of food and other relief material to the refugees has been
systemized. Information desks for safe migration and to deal with trafficking
have been set up.
The social norms and
values stand in the way of welfare initiatives for the women.
Inheritance laws of the Nepalese government favour the daughter if she is
unmarried. But if she marries, then she has to return the
property. Moreover, even though the law exists it is not
The environment is
insecure. Different political parties operate in their own personal interests.
Initiatives undertaken by LWF:
Monetary support of
Rs 500 per month is available for 2 yrs to girls to go for higher studies.
Peace committees have been formed to mediate between the conflicts between the
host communities and refugees. The LWF, Nepal provides infrastructure to
the host communities like rooms, water supply, toilets etc in order to minimize
conflicts among the host communities and refugees. Skill training is also being
Each year about
1,20,000 girls are being trafficked to other countries. In Kathmandu
sex-workers are increasing. There are more female headed households. Violence
still persists. Men and women do not have the same access to resources. But the
women are being trained who train other women. The property captured by
the Maoists is not being returned and the people have lost faith in the police
and administration. The Law also supports the transit point for Tibetan refugees
in Nepal but the government does not get involved in this politics.
A Group Photo
was taken after the morning session and all the participants received the photo
later in the day.
India Group 02 :
issues of government
Gender specific vulnerabilities:
Women and girls,
especially, pregnant, elderly, disabled are targeted
The women have
no privacy in relief camps / hospitals
Local Groups ( Panchayats)
Working with women,
Internal organizing, Gender empowerment, Conflict sensitivity, Assam Riots
rehabilitiation, Action for non-violence.
They also spoke
about PDI (Post Distaster Incidents) _Example Cyclone NISHA after Tsunami – the
local panchayat emerged as the strong group and it is male dominated .- In order
to counter it local youth were trained- local panchayat leaders found it as a
threat- they also had training programmes for fishermen and dalits to
empower them. Similar experience in post Tsunami situation where the traditional
panchayats took away all the relief material given to women and
distributed according to their own decisions.
Relief work needs to
be culture/gender specific. People’s participation in planning relief is
important. IAG (Inter Agency Groups) came together for relief work. In the
Kandhamal, the government infrastructure was not prepared to deal with conflict.
Discussion: after presentation
are they gender specific or gender blind? Do they only support men?
to injustice, violence, is bad. However, conflict is seen as raising a
voice as it leads to resolution/transformation (Resistance)
India Group 01
Post Tsunami (survivors were kept in masses and women did not attend meetings,
caste/ patriarchal/gender issues created conflicts and deprived the Dalits from
We will not have
programs without women.
will be in joint name.
issued in the name of women.
To use culture
to benefit women.
interventions still continue.
Has the government
supported UN Res. 1325, etc.
Self help groups:
space provided for women to come together. It has been the case that the
political parties manipulated the situation. In Andra Pradesh, resources
were mobilized by women but were manipulated by the government for instance.
Practical problems were not considered.
the session – by Mrs. Mercy Kappan
In our responses,
there are several UN responses, etc are we working disregarding the above or are
we using the provisions to make our state responsible on daily basis(structural
to a certain extent – Sphere standards were used. UN resolutions are
ratified but not followed by the governments. We do not lobby for it.
Do we see relief as
charity or right? It’s their right and they are not objects. In
Rights Based Approach, there is a Rights holder and a Duty Bearer. Are we
making the duty bearers accountable?
to Food in the Indian constitution – Article 21, many civil society groups
involved. Many provided affidavits, etc. There are nine Social
Security Schemes and state is accountable. Universalisation of this scheme
is discussed. All donor agencies should be aware that there are enough
resources and advocacy is important.
of RBA could be done after a certain extent of empowerment.
While we are meeting
practical needs we need to look at strategic needs.
Post tea break
conflict: Understanding the links:
Exercises included –
walk, talk, cry, laugh like a man/woman
Socialization of a
man and a woman is different. – If all are socialized in a feminine manner what
would be the result? Although there will be no physical violence, care and
nurturing .But it will also have negative impact. As an example,
woman is supposed to
be patient and sacrificing – depriving her of her rights.
Therefore both of
these qualities of masculinity/femininity should be inculcated in all
identification: Who does what ? (24 hrs day list of activities for
both men and women can be made and then analysed as an activity). The roles that
women follow – Productive, reproductive, community role- Women do productive
work but their work is not recognized.-Women are earning for the family and
contributing towards to the family income – but their income is considered as
Gender analysis is needed for Gender mainstreaming.
identification, reproductive work also includes caring, nurturing, cooking,
helping etc for a woman and Community work is voluntary work and they are
very rarely paid for the work they do.
In Community work
both men and women are involved
Thus women have
triple role : Reproductive, Producive and Community work while men have
only double role.
Control – Who has access and who has control ?
List out under
following headings as to who has access to resources and who has the control
Access w/m Control
Needs profile /
identification ( for Gender analysis)
List under : PGN /
SGI (Practical Gender Needs / (Strategic Gender Interest)
Many NGOs are
involved in income generation programs for women and are involved in assisting
in Practical needs
or do they come with constraints.
: People have different aspirations as persons, human beings --- an agricultural
laborer/farmer has different aspiration than a rural woman’
Self – there is a
potential in all individuals for aspiration
In all societies it
is the men, the upper caste and the rich who rule.
Gender Equity &
Gender Equality is very important for Gender mainstreaming—Now we are in
‘Male-stream” – we need to create society with women and men with same rights
(There is an
oppressor within each one of the oppressed
: Welfare approach, Anti Poverty, Efficiency approach, Equality app, Empowerment
Equity was explained
through the story of fox and crane story –ending how both of them could be
served the soup – the fox in the plate and the crane in the jar – This is called
Substantive Equality or Equity.
benefits could be distributed men and women for equitable access. We need
to be aware of the specific needs of men and women and their biological and
Need to look at
policies, program /projects and budget- at the level of practice not only at the
level of perception/perspective
We need to look at
every stage how gender has been mainstreamed.
It should be
considered as to what is the outcome, who is the ultimate beneficiary.
(Presentation by Ravi – Dan Church Aid – New Delhi, India) See attachment.
Basic issue of welfare needs to be looked into when thinking about empowerment.
Knowledge about access to production, services and benefits is important.
Four dimensions of
being a Human Being :
“have” and “relating”
Control – over
sexuality, mobility, resources, fertility,(do women have control over the above
Force field and
institutional approach to gender planning ( See attachment 5.3) Consider
Religion as the enabling forces (opportunities) and disabling forces
Constraints- enabling factors / disabling factors
Game : nine dots
It usually does not
occur to us that we need to go out of the box for finding a solution. Same
is with our life in relation to co-existence.
See attachment on
developing a sense of self, individual confidence and capacity, and undoing the
effects of internalized oppression.
Developing the ability to negotiate and influence the nature of a relationship
and decisions made within it.
Including involvement to change oppressive structures. Collective action
based on cooperation rather than competition.
Liberation and Transformation are all aspects of the same process. It is not a
marginal activity. It is the core of all creative human living” – TFT
Feed back from
such as Gender Analysis Tools)
the programs and projects through a Gender lense
visuals could be used
useful and relevant
Topics can be
applied at the level of planning, implementation and monitoring
for the workshop/ Time Management
More than one
facilitator could be explored
presentations could be structured
should be planned ahead of time
studies could have been inco-operated
Be specific on
Building in depth
could have been included
participation of male members/participants.
Resolution should be discussed at length.
January ( Day 3)
At the end of the
strategic planning workshop the SAGA network members would:
Have a clear
understanding of implications of recent developments in South Asia on
three gender issues confronting marginalized women in the region that the
network would like to address at regional, country and organization level
upon six actions on the three gender issues at regional, country and
vision and mission of the SAGA network formed in 2002
The day began with
an unique interfaith prayer led by Rev Packiam Samuel who encouraged the
participants to enact a small story from each faith tradition that showed how a
woman with immense faith and devotion was able to move the heart of a prophet or
The session included
Introduction to the one day SAGA strategic planning and introduction to
the participants and resource person. The resource for the day was Ms Ranjani
This session dealt
with the development in South Asia and implications for marginalized women.
The methodology used was through brainstorming in cards and Regional group
discussions on implications for marginalized women.
The two main issues
that emerged from the cards were Conflict and Poverty. The participants in
groups discussed about the Gender implications of poverty and Poverty – impact
of economic recession.
The implications of
the regional development for marginalized women and girls were identified as
trafficking and migration.
The causes for
Conflict were acknowledged as political agenda, feeling of superiority (in case
of religion), limited resources-unlimited needs, discrimination,
majority/minority issues, unequal distribution of resources, segregation due to
language, caste/class conflicts, national identities/border disputes, bullying
based on economic power.
Sessions 3 & 4
The theme chosen for
action programmes were Conflict and Poverty.
Gender based violence – rape, exploitation, sexual harassment etc (The
participants were asked to also look at the UN Security Resolution1325).
- Harmony and promoting respect for diversity
- Discrimination of women in the family with regard to education,
health, nutrition and assets.
Four issues were
Violence against women in
conflict ( public and domestic)
Promoting harmony and respect
Discrimination in health,
education, nutrition and assets
Trafficking and migration
The Vision and
Mission of SAGA evolved in 2002 was re-examined. ( Revised Vision & Mission will
be circulated later)
In the wrap – up
session, Dr Afroz Mahal of Bangladesh was chosen as the focal person
for the next SAGA workshop to be held in Bangladesh.
The meeting ended
with a vote of thanks to the resource person, Ms Ranjani Murthy,
the outgoing focal person from Sri Lanka and to Dr Shiela Jones and her team.
( The detailed
report of the workshop held on the 22nd January (Day 3), will be
circulated later by the Rapporteur for the day, Dr Afroz Mahal).