International Women's Month
Transformative Piece views international women's month as an opportunity to highlight, center, and celebrate the many women and women's organizations that affect positive change throughout the world. At the same time, we view it as a month for reflection. An opportunity to have honest conversations about the challenges and barriers that still impact women internationally.
Transformative Peace hopes to be a productive part of that conversation and continue working to promote gender equality, gender mainstreaming, and inclusivity in peacebuilding and society. Transformative Peace would also like to use this month as an opportunity to discuss the importance of women's participation and of building inclusive peace processes.
A more in depth discussion on these challenges and barriers and ways to overcome them can be found in Dr. Abadi's most recent published article:
Internationally, women remain underrepresented in the labor force and in major positions of political, social, and economic power and authority.
UNWOMEN states that, at the current rate of representation, gender equality in high positions of power will not be reached for another 130 years.
Women remain underrepresented politically and economically at all levels of analysis.
Politically, women make up only 26.5% of national parliamentarians. Economically, they remain underrepresented at every level. Across the globe, the rate of men involved in the labor force is relatively similar regardless of the region, hovering around 80%. Women are underrepresented in all regions, with only 50% of women participating in the international labor force.
In the MENA region, where Transformative Peace carries out most of its work, women occupy:
only 19.77% of the labor force
only 18% of managerial roles
only 15.7% of parliamentary seats
As an organization which focuses on the MENA region, these barriers to gender equality represent challenges we hope we can overcome.
There are a variety of ways groups and individuals can promote women's participation. Temporary measures like quota's have a positive impact on women's representation but not without concerns of instrumentalization and gender-based backlash.
Women's representation in parliaments where gender-quotas have been implemented stands at 24% compared to 18% where gender-quotas have not been implemented. It is not uncommon for women representatives however to face intimidation or violence in the carrying out of their duties. It is critical that initiatives that seek to empower women and increase women's participation seek ways to generate male buy-in. Not only does this make gendered gains more likely, it also provides a more sustainable social platform for their meaningful and continuous participation.
In the MENA region, surveys demonstrate the utility of frames centering self-interest and family welfare in generating male buy-in for women's political participation. These frames help highlight the ways in which women's participation in economic and political domains, helps to reduce family burdens and strengthen communities.
Gender is a powerful social force that organizes and informs relationships, power structures, ideologies, political and economic systems, and dynamics of violence. Consequently, neglecting its role in conflict and peacebuilding inhibits conflict resolution and transformation.
Gender analysis and mainstreaming is a critical aspect of peacebuilding, not just as an objective, but as a self-perpetuating tool for peacebuilding. The incorporation of women's voices into the peace process is, according to various studies, crucial to reducing conflict, advancing stability and building lasting peace, yet they are often marginalized from decision-making roles within those processes. Due to stereotypes and socio-political constraints, women are often sidelined, or at best, relegated to supporting roles.
This is in spite of a UN study which found that women’s participation in peace agreements increases their sustainability by 35%. Another study found that peace agreements are 64% less likely to fail when women’s organizations and civil society are involved in the agreement and implementation process. Women are important for prevention, playing a key role in creating resilient communities. Various studies point to the positive relationship between gender-equality and a decreased propensity for conflict.
Transformative Peace along helps foster resilience and peace through inclusivity by empowering women, renegotiating gender norms, and transforming societal perceptions of and relationships with gender. Gender is a central aspect of all of Transformative Peace's work.