NFGL Field Trip: ‘No women, no peace!’

Last week NFGL students got the chance to attend a workshop with Kvinna till Kvinna, a women's rights organization. NFGL member María José Velásquez Flores talks about the experience.

NFGL Field Trip: 'No women, no peace!'

(picture of Kvinna till Kvinna employees)

“No women, no peace” is the slogan of the UN resolution 1325 but, what do I mean by this?

The last Friday the Network for Future Global Leaders (NFGL), a network of young scholarship holders of the Swedish Institute, had a unique and productive day.

When I say Stockholm, you probably think of museums, Gamla Stan, and the famous Ericsson Globe. But what if I tell you that in Stockholm we visited the Swedish Parliament? Yes, we did! And the memories of the place where important decisions are made (and is also totally stunning!) will remain in our minds forever.

But that wasn’t the main course of the day. In the afternoon Anna Sundén, the Program Manager from ‘Kvinna till Kvinna’, gave us a very useful and dynamic workshop about women, peace and security.

But let’s start from the beginning.

What is Kvinna till Kvinna?

Kvinna till Kvinna (Woman to Woman) is an organization that supports women in conflict-affected regions. The organization takes advantage of all the globalization tools for development, promoting exchanges and networking within civil society organizations.

Besides advocating for women, ‘Kvinna till Kvinna’ promotes a culture of peace with no gender restriction. The organization works all around the world in places like the Western Balkans, South Caucasus, the Middle East, and Central/West Africa.

 ‘There is little protection if there is not participation’

In 2000 the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) launched the resolution 1325 that strives to provide women with three assets: Participation (Involvement of women in peace-making processes), Protection (assistance during and after conflict), and Prevention (avoiding violence and transforming conflicts peacefully).

But who is responsible for enforcing this?

Many answers arose when Anna asked us about what people need to feel secure. Many of us mentioned that the protection of the state is important and this is also an institution responsible for enforcing this resolution. But not only the state: organizations like the United Nations function as a regulator for this resolution to be fulfilled. Let’s not forget that to have the three aspects (participation, protection and prevention) endorsed in our everyday life, we, the civil society, are also responsible to maintain and shelter these rulings.

Why do we need women to participate in decision-making for peace and security?

To close with a flourish, Anna invited us to play a game. With the question above in mind, we had a selection of answers posted on the wall from which we had to choose the one that we liked most and then stand beside it. The four arguments were Justice and Democracy, Conflict of interest, Efficiency argument and other arguments (open corner). 

After a long discussion about why one of those is more accurate than the other, many people changed position, locating themselves in the center of the four arguments.  I think we all understood the importance of placing women, peace and security issues on the national and global agenda.

And what about you – why do you think we need women to participate in decision making for peace and security?

Text by María José Velásquez Flores