Gawharshad Institute of Higher Education, in collaboration with the Institute of Women Peace Across the Globe, conducted a national dialogue on Women’s Participation in Peace Process on October 24th, 2016.
Dr. Muhammad Jawad Salehi, GIHE chancellor, in his opening speech, marked the event as an important step towards institutionalizing peace in the country. After elaborating on Galtung’s theory on peace, he stated that it is very unfortunate that due to low level of general awareness in our society, peace- related concepts have not yet found the due grounds in our academic environments. However, GIHE has taken a pioneering role on this by achieving the followings: placing two-credit subject of Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution into the curriculum, publishing two issues of an academic journal on peace, establishing the Association of Young Leaders of Peace and compiling a textbook on peace.
Mr. Hakimi, the program coordinator, stated that lack of peace and spread of injustice mostly prey on the women of a society and true peace can never be built without the women of a society playing an active role in it.
Ms. Habiba Sarabi, noted the unprecedented revision in the strategy of the High Peace Council towards women by electing eleven members from learned women of the country which reinforces the presence and the share women can have in important political decisions.
Ms. Shanki Krokhil, another panelist and lecturer, acknowledged that so far women have not been able to play an effective role in social and political arena. However, this cannot be construed that they should be neglected in decisions that are being made in the country; women form fifty percent of the population and in Afghan culture, they stand as emblem of peace and tolerance.
“Defending women’s rights is something symbolic” said Dr. Spanta and explained that as no democracy can be built without democrats, securing women’s rights cannot be realized without women themselves. He recognized the root of violence and unfairness against women in the third world countries as a certain kind of interpretation of religion and the weakness of the states.
He emphasized that patriarchy is the deeply-rooted conventional mindset among the very women of these societies, hence all the movements defending women’s rights are nipped in the bud. He observed all the discussions on women’s rights and peace as insufficient and expressed the dire need for talks on women’s active and strong presence in these movements.
Dr. Samar elaborated on how the prevalent mentality of our society escalates violence against women. She explained that the conventional thought values patriarchy which inevitably results in belittling and in the end violence against women. She pointed out that having sustainable peace requires self-development and increasing our capacities; a real change begins from within ourselves and we need to work on that.
Dr. Jafar Ahmadi, the last panelist, after explaining the term “glass ceiling” in industrial psychology, illustrated how our men have set invisible limits for our women in their presence in social and political spheres. He maintained that women are physiologically far better suited for negotiating than men and can play significant roles in the process of peacebuilding in our country.
The dialogue concluded with students posing their questions to the panelists.