Women and the reconstruction process
Women have an important position in the post-war or post-conflict reconstruction process. Despite of victimization and persecution, they can play an important role for rebuilding the society. They know the socio-cultural priorities. Their role as mothers, wives, daughters and sisters can be effectively used for restoration activities. The dilemma is that women are kept away from the policy making activities and their role is generally under estimated. Even when decisions are made regarding gender, peace and security they are not on the table . There is a dire need to recognize importance of women for peace building and reconstruction process.
I personally believe that women are the culture. If we look at cultures of different areas then the difference that we usually observe is not just dressing and eating habits but actually it is about the role expectation, interaction and integration pattern of women in that society. Females usually comprise of about half of the society, therefore, without understanding them and utilizing them in policy making activities we cannot expect proper implementation.
The challenge that we face is not only to make women a part of the process but also to acknowledge their cultural and societal role in the war or conflict torn society. Every culture has its own implications (good or bad is a question that should be dealt separately) and unless we allow ourselves to look for prospects we will find ourselves at a direct confrontation. Our job should be to explore the possibilities that we can utilize for peace rather than making native people feel that we are invaders. Therefore, it is required to understand role of women in the given culture to develop policies and strategies that can be effectively implemented and have long term effect.
1. The point raised by Sarah Taylor in International Conference on Gender, Peace and Security 2010 Held in Munich from 9th-10th July 2010.