Peace work : Women, Armed Conflict and Negotiation
This book discusses the experiences of women peacemakers in areas of conflicts and the role they can play in promoting peace. Ritu Menon writes on how women's peace activism can play a positive mediatory role in conflict-torn areas. The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the 'state of emergency' in which we live is not the exception but the rule. - Walter Benjamin The general failure of states across our region to reach politically negotiated, peaceful resolutions of the conflicts in their countries, has had one unexpected outcome. It has propelled NGOs, civil society groups (including businessmen and industrialists), professionals, academics, women's organizations and sundry peace activists into being more proactive on peace. Together they have initiated a range of activities, both within their countries and across borders, that include everything from research and dialogue to track-two diplomacy and actual relief work.
Men make war and women make peace. This has the kind of cliched associations that are difficult to shake off, perhaps because there is a kernel of truth in the statement. Women are generally supposed to be nurturing and caring, naturally maternal and therefore predisposed towards peace, just as men are supposed to be the opposite. Women are more open to mediation, to negotiation and compromise because, it has been suggested, they are obliged to carry on the business of survival and sustenance when all social and economic supports have broken down, and they are often obliged to do so in the absence of their menfolk.
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