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"KIGALI, Rwanda – Marie shuffled seven chairs to fit around the table in her courtyard, placed down a tray of tea, and poured water into glasses. When her friends arrived, she hugged each of them.
“If they won’t let us in,” Marie paused, “We’ll have to find another way.”
“They” were the Burundi government, and the women were members of a 300-strong, women-only advocacy group, ‘Women and Girls Movement for Peace and Security in Burundi.’
Led by Marie Louise Baricako, a 64-year-old Burundian activist, the group hopes to help stop the bloodshed in Burundi, a country teetering on the edge of genocide."
Read article by Rossalyn Warren from The New York Times.
"Last week, a terrible act of hate killed four people, including policeman Keith Palmer, right in the heart of Westminster. The damage cannot be undone; 13 are still in hospital, and investigations continue. But in times of crisis, the true character of a city emerges.
The heroes. The kindness. The tube signs. The world saw London at its best — defiant, compassionate, and united. The people paid their respects, and sent a fearless message to all: nothing can divide us. Unimpressed by terror, London didn’t stop for a second — and the stories of solidarity keep flooding in."
Read article by James Hitchings-Hales from Global Citizen.
"The Trump transition team asked the State Department last week to submit details of programs and jobs that focus on promoting gender equality. Maybe it’s for benign purposes — or better, a signal that the administration wants to make women’s empowerment a cornerstone of its foreign policy. But this seems unlikely, to put it mildly, given that such a commitment was absent from Donald J. Trump’s campaign, and alongside Mr. Trump’s vow to defund Planned Parenthood.
Whatever the reason for their request, Mr. Trump and Rex W. Tillerson, his pick for secretary of state, should remember that women’s rights are tied directly to national security. The State Department’s gender equality programs are not just politically correct fluff — they deal with matters of life and death, like rape during war, genital cutting, forced marriage and access to education. The State Department provides essential funding to combat these problems.
Nongovernmental organizations around the world that work with survivors of rape and sexual violence are supported by small grantsfrom the State Department, for example. One program in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh trained 450 imams to extol the importance of girls’ education in their Friday sermons and, when officiating at marriages, to ask for the bride’s age and proof of her consent. The United States Agency for International Development helps girls purchase books and pay fees so they can finish grade school. This kind of work is important not just for the women and girls who directly benefit from them, but also for the security of their countries."
Read article by Valerie M. Hudson and Dara Kay Cohen from The New York Times.
"The past few months have been characterised by a retreat into base emotions, predominantly anger and fear.
From the campaigns of Brexit and Donald Trump, conducted as if facts were no longer relevant, we have been subjected to narratives of “othering”: migrants, Muslims, splits and vilifications on the left and on the right, a violence in our discourse that is inimical to democracy.
We are right to fear. China has joined in the conflict in Syria and Iran is openly supporting Russian bombing. Yemen, Libya, Ukraine, Isis, terrorism – the list could go on. And, of course, it makes us scared.
There are two responses to this. We can retreat into nationalism and direct our fear at others, or we can consider an alternative. Nationalism never ends well, but politicians of all hues seem intent on repeating the failures of the past."
Read article by Madeleine Rees from The Guardian.
"Former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan once said, “For generations, women have served as peace educators, both in their families and in their societies. They have proved instrumental in building bridges rather than walls.” All very true. But, as it turns out, the world of peacebuilding and conflict resolution is a male-dominated one.
Just how deep does this dominance run? According to Kathleen Kuehnast of the United States Institute of Peace, “Out of some 585 peace treaties drafted over the last two decades, only 16 percent contain specific references to women.” Meanwhile, the U.N. Women’s 2012 report, Women’s Participation in Peace Negotiations: Connections between Presence and Influence, found that of 31 major peace processes between 1992 and 2011, "only 4 percent of signatories, 2.4 percent of chief mediators, 3.7 per cent of witnesses and 9 percent of negotiators" were women.
The disconnect between Kofi Annan's elementary insight and the actual practice of peace building worldwide is deeply troubling. "
Read article by Sue-Lynn Moses from Inside Philanthropy.
"From Ukraine to Mexico, women across the world are finding creative ways to break cycles of violence in their communities.
Whatever their cause, cycles of violence require tenacity, courage, and understanding to break.
And violence takes many forms: pernicious abuses behind closed doors, hidden by family members in the name of honor; structural and economic violence that disadvantages certain groups, condemning them to lifelong marginalization and insecurity; the encompassing devastation wrought by war.
The Institute for Inclusive Security, an NGO that supports women’s contributions to peacebuilding, brought these 16 women together for its 2016 annual colloquium to talk about how they stand up to violence in all its myriad forms."
Read article by Kristin Williams from Uplift.
Gendercide Awareness Project is a nonprofit dedicated to increasing awareness of the problem of gendercide, the elimination of females.