The biggest misconception that a lot of people have is that the end of a war means total peace. Most, if not all of the time, post-conflict can be one of the most trying times for the people of any country, particularly for women. Post-conflict means the restoration and the rebuilding of communities. It’s that time when many, especially women and children, struggle to get over the trauma wrought by widespread violence.
It’s sad however, how very few member states of the United Nations are actually supporting the National Action Plan, a resolution on heavily involving women in the peace building and peace keeping process. Now in its 9th year, the resolution has only managed to get the support of 16 member states and that’s not even half of the entire United Nations.
I can’t quite understand why it has taken many of the member states this long to contemplate whether or not to support the National Action Plan. One thing is for certain: what is not written on paper doesn’t necessarily exist. Support expressed through nothing but words may easily be well forgotten and forgone.
According to the United Nations, women generally occupy less than 10% of the decision making seats in terms of peace keeping and conflict resolution. This is extremely alarming, if you ask me, considering that many of those who suffer in war torn areas are women and children.
More seats in decision making bodies should then be allocated for women considering that a woman’s point of view is essential when solutions are created to be able to rebuild peace and put together the broken pieces of shattered lives.
Women are the ones who can best represent what the needs of women are in terms of economic independence, physical security, access to health and other social services, access to education, and justice. This highlights the need for women to take a more dominant and active role in helping rebuild communities that have experienced the ravages of war.
Women’s groups must also be present during donor meetings such that more focus is given on supporting the establishment on women’s cooperatives and in offering more opportunities for women post war.
The United Nations must be relentless in its push for member states to support the resolution because it is often the violence against women that persists post war that isn’t spotted on the radar.