A gendered approach to peace

Cynthia Cockburn, a feminist researcher and writer on peace and conflict, once wrote that “violence-free homes make violence-free communities and violence-free communities make a violence-free world.”

This same sentiment is expressed in the article “Mother’s Day is Peace Day” written by Tamara Lorincz and Theresa Dunn. The authors call on Mothers to play an important role in creating a culture of peace and ending the war in Afghanistan.

Connecting women to peace is not a recent phenomenon. Women’s Peace movements have mobilised around the world to have their voices heard at local, national and international levels concerning peace and conflict.

Dunn and Lorincz cite the work of the Nova Scotia Voice of Women for Peace and the Halifax Peace Coalition who support the Canadian Department of Peace Initiative (CDPI) in advocating for the establishment of a Federal Department of Peace.

A Department of Peace would “refocus our defence and security policies on peacekeeping and peacebuilding and not war fighting.” According to a report released by the Rideau Institute, Canada had a 1000 military personnel on UN missions in 1991. Lorincz and Dunn note that today there are fewer than 200 Canadian peacekeepers on 10 UN missions.

Positioning Mothers as the catalyst to lobby the government to “bring home our troops from Afghanistan, establish a department of peace, show greater leadership for disarmament and take more action for this decade of peace for our children,” the authors support a gendered approach to peace and ask mothers to value their role as caregivers and nurtures of their children and families.

While a gendered approach to peace reveals another level of analysis for peace activism, focusing on women and the role of mothers should not be the only form of activism. This is not the time to divide Canadians along the lines of gender, women and men, mothers and fathers must unite to end the war in Afghanistan.

For more information, visit www.hfxpeace.chebucto.org and on the CDPI, go to www.departmentofpeace.ca.

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