We closed the day yesterday with two panels and a round of
The first panel was held by Rebecca Stubblefield, advocate person for medica mondiale Liberia. The point of discussion was if Liberia is a unique best practice example or a repeatable exercise. Stubblefield started by telling about how Liberia is really almost one of a kind in the amount of laws, institutions and monitoring organisms created to implement the UNSCR 1325, which she described as a “very important tool that shows the importance of women as agents of change, shifts the focus from women as victims and gives them an outlet to extern their claims”. She did not hesitate to extern that even apart from the resolution, there are plenty of organisations working towards the same objectives even if they do not use the resolution as flag. But this panel was about being open to criticism and Stubblefield gave an insightful review of how many of the instruments that they have have yet to be set in place. She then shed some light about the biggest problems that are to be tackled on the field: she regretted the lack of importance given to cultural issues when criticizing implementation, issues such as a long history of patriarchy that has made of women’s silence a cultural practice or the “paralysis of initiative” that is a mark of a culture used to concentrating on surviving the day and not more. Finally she refered to the limited training of women in Liberia to be mediators and the support of the UN that copious as it may be, can sometimes be considered feeble and in many cases lacks of proper gender training amongst its peacecorps.
Panel two, which was aboutIsrael/Palestine: Civil Society Cooperation Beyond Borders was held by Zahira Kamal, Minister of Women’s Affairs from Palestine and Anat Saragusti, Journalist, Executive Director of Agenda and Member of IWC from Israel. Zahira started with a very comprehensive historical background, up until the current situation of Palestine, as an introduction to the question of the situation of women rights and the lack of awareness among palestinan women about UNSCR1325. “One month after the passing of 1325 the second Intifada started and during the next five years the women were too busy dealing with their kids, their disabled or killed husbands”, she explained. Zahira explained that currently she is involved with Jerusalem Link, a grassroots organization established in 1992 that seeks a two State solution. Their main goal is the establishment of an international women commision for just peace between palestinians and israelis. Jerusalem Link already met with the palestinian president to pressure him into adopting the UNSCR 1325.
Anat, who is also a member of Jereusalem Link and works together with Zahira, was up next and she gave a very articulated and powerful review of things on the other side. Israel was the first UN member to integrate the resolution and turn it into law of the land. However, Anat said, “Israel refuses to abide its own law”. The lack of feminine representation in government institutions opens the room for many other questions, among the most pressing are the selection criteria from groups that are varied as the women that form them and the goals they pursue. How do we promote women of diverse groups? How do we NOT promote the already strong women? Who can bring a feminine voice and perspective ? What is a feminine view at all? These where only a few of the polemic questions she raised before urging us listeners to realize the importance of getting educated women to the decission tables, not only women per se. She closed with another challenging question: seeing that the number of women at the decision table in Israel does not amount to a quantity that can really influence or balance the decision making process in an organism that is dominated by “alfa male military discourse”, should we accept female representation even if in the praxis it is a mere token? Or do we choose to stay outside? What do you think?
Questions, questions, questions...