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The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. United Methodist Women is an active participant in this annual global gathering, especially through its Church Center for the United Nations. 

Peace Forum Calls for Equality and an End to Militarism

United Methodist Women hosted a Peace Forum celebrating 15 years of United Nations Resolution 1325. Advocates for equality call for an end to militarism and stereotyping. 

On the evening of October 28, 2015, to a standing room only crowd, peace activists, diplomats and international feminists shared their hopes for a more peaceful and equitable world. The Peace Forum commemorated the 15th anniversary of UNSCR 1325, a United Nations (UN) resolution calling for peace, security and gender equity. The three-day event was held at the Church Center of the United Nations, the building across from the United Nations, owned by United Methodist Women.

Photo: H.E. Jan Kickert, Mission of Austria, calls for more women leaders in the United Nations. "Overcome discrimination, stereotyping."

The theme of the opening panel, “Men on the Stand,” acknowledged that the pursuit of peace and equality belongs to and benefits all genders. In several forums, activists called for increasing the number of women diplomats, a field like so many, dominated by men.

By including men and boys as allies in gaining worldwide strategies to implement Resolution 1325  – of 193 member states 50 have national action plans (also called NAPS) --  the equality and peace movement moves one step closer to an end to segmenting by gender. We cannot generalize on the peaceful nature of one gender, i.e., women, just as we cannot expect the violent nature of men. “Just as men are not homogenous, so, too, not all women are wonderful,” joked Cora Weiss at the opening panel. Ms. Weiss, dubbed a ‘midwife’ to the resolution and long-time peace activist, moderated the opening session.

A recurring theme at the opening panel was a call to end militarism. Matt Howard, veteran of the two tours of duty in Iraq in the U.S. Marine Corps said, “Iraq and Afghanistan are the not the root cause of our problems.” The reason for our on-going wars is our dependence on militarism and companies and countries that profit from war. “As long as we see war profiteers, like McDonnell Douglas, who have tripled profits in four years, we will see wars.”

Dean Peacock, another ‘Man on the Stand,’ and cofounder and executive director of Sonke Gender Justice from South Africa said, “Go beyond the easy blaming of community men and look at the arms industry. When we talk about violence and masculinity, challenge harmful notions.” He advised people to push leaders to end violence, not community members or soldiers.  

At the end of the evening after nearly a dozen speakers called for new routes to peace, sharing stories from around the world, Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdury, the soft-spoken architect of the resolution and former ambassador from Bangladesh, took the floor. He said he was “proud to be a feminist.” And, “we cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace unless men and women are equal. Peace is inextricably linked with equality between men and women.”

At this forum and throughout the next two days of panels, presentations and advocacy workshops, the international activists educated one another on the things that make for peace, equality and democracy.

| 11/5/2015 10:07:34 PM | 0 comments
Filed under: CSW, united nations


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