The following article written by Bekir Güneş covers DPI’s online comparative study event entitled ‘Celebrating Women’s Participation in Peace and Conflict Resolution: Overcoming Challenges and Putting Peace Back on the Agenda’.
The Philippines Government’s Chief Negotiator, Prof Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, and the Executive Director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, Dr Emma Leslie, spoke during DPI’s online comparative study event, which brought together a diverse group of participants from Turkey.
Despite there being many challenges to the inclusion of women the peace processes, Coronel-Ferrer argued that women should be part of the negotiation and women’s participation should be normalised. “Indeed, you always see men in the negotiations all over the world,” said Coronel-Ferrer, “In many places women are not given the chance to speak. We have included women in the process and normalised it. Normally women always sit in the back of the room, but we sat opposite each other. This also allowed men to get used to the idea of having women in the negotiation table.”
“WOMEN SHOULD BE INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS”
Dr Emma Leslie drew attention to the importance of Coronel-Ferrer’s work and presented the difficulties women face at various stages of the process. Dr Leslie said, “It is not enough for women to sit at the table. Their presence should not be symbolic. During the negotiations, there was a perception that women were not supposed to talk, as if we should only talk during breaks and when sharing meals. Women have to set their own tables, help each other.”