Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Importance of Women in Development, Peace, and Security

An important aspect of Friends of Humanity is our commitment to striving toward's equal rights for women. An article posted by the UN Chronicle highlights the paramount importance of female involvement   of in development and maintaining peace and security.

The article states, "By failing to take advantage of women’s thinking and contributions in rural economies, and by underestimating the role women can play in averting the economic collapses that are often at the root of cycles of conflict, we miss important parts of the peace puzzle and risk investing in peace and security solutions that are likely to fail." These statements are made on the basis of binding UN Security Council Resolution 1325This resolution recognizes the unique impact of conflict on women’s lives and highlights their often overlooked contributions to resolving and preventing conflict. It also calls on the international community to involve women fully in every aspect of our work for peace and security.

While the need for female involvement in international relations is more than apparent, many women still remain without a voice.  Facts provided by DoSomething.org point out the need for change.

  1. Women perform 66% of the world’s work, but receive only 11% of the world’s income, and own only 1% of the world’s land.
  2. Women make up 66% of the world’s illiterate adults.
  3. Women head 83% of single-parent families. The number of families nurtured by women alone doubled from 1970 to 1995 (from 5.6 million to 12.2 million).
  4. Women account for 55% of all college students, but even when women have equal years of education it does not translate into economic opportunities or political power.
  5. There are six million more women than men in the world.
  6. Two-thirds of the world’s children who receive less than four years of education are girls. Girls represent nearly 60% of the children not in school.
  7. Parents in countries such as China and India sometimes use sex determination tests to find out if their fetus is a girl. Of 8,000 fetuses aborted at a Bombay clinic, 7,999 were female.
  8. Wars today affect civilians most, since they are civil wars, guerrilla actions and ethnic disputes over territory or government. 3 out of 4 fatalities of war are women and children.
  9. Rape is consciously used as a tool of genocide and weapon of war. Tens of thousands of women and girls have been subjected to rape and other sexual violence since the crisis erupted in Darfur in 2003. There is no evidence of anyone being convicted in Darfur for these atrocities.
  10. About 75% of the refugees and internally displaced in the world are women who have lost their families and their homes.
  11. Gender-based violence kills one in three women across the world and is the biggest cause of injury and death to women worldwide, causing more deaths and disability among women aged 15 to 44 than cancer, malaria, traffic accident, and war.

As you can see above, female inequalities persist primarily because of unequal access to education and and unequal treatment, particularly in the form of gender based violence.

Friends of Humanity supports holistic education for young girls in rural India, providing them with spiritual and practical skills through the Alice Project.  FOH brought this initiative to be discussed in a high-level UN meeting about holistic development and education. Friends of Humanity also supports  proving young girls who are victims of violence and sexual abuse in Brundi through Maison Shalom with education, health care, and legal support in bringing their attackers to justice.  By supporting these causes FOH underscores its commitment towards working toward a future where women are fully engaged in maintaining international peace and security.

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