Gender, War and Peace Building Essay

Submitted By otacbateman
Words: 1463
Pages: 6

Gender, War and Peace building When the complex disputes of war and peace building are called to attention, the general populace envisions the archetype of strong and powerful men debating over social, political, cultural and economic issues that inevitably are the residual effects of war. Women are too often an afterthought; however, their involvement in such issues is essential to the success of the furtherance of peace and prosperity. Women are often thought of as the victims, as opposed to the leaders. Too often are heinous crimes committed against women. However, women hold the power to be resilient and stolid leaders. Strong female leaders are what many countries in the Middle East and East Asia are in desperate need of. In these countries, women suffer at the strong and restrictive hands of men, but women are beginning to find their voice. Women such as Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar are pioneers of learning and increased roles for women in their societies. They both have fought peacefully for better conditions for women, as well as all of humanity in their country. Both Yousafzai, who so far has been unsuccessful in her fight for women’s education and Suu Kyi, who successfully made a change for the better in Myanmar, have been influential, and peaceful women leaders (1, 5). The suppression of women’s rights in Middle Eastern countries has been found at the core of countless conflicts and wars. In countries including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran, women are forced to be submissive and docile to any male figure, and are expected to shroud their body, face and hair with cumbersome garments. Radical groups such as Al Qaeda and the Taliban go so far as to encourage the whipping of disobedient women, and have attempted the complete discontinuation of education for girls and women. When the Taliban exercised their violent and totalitarian rule in the area of Pakistan called Swat Valley, they destroyed upwards of 200 schools, the majority of which were for young girls. Although the Taliban’s rule over Swat Valley terminated in 2009, the fear they created would resonate for years to come. Even today in 2012, they seem to be omnipresent in Swat Valley, still attempting to keep women from gaining any rights that western women take for granted every day (1, 2).
The young, ambitious and audacious Malala Yousafzai stood up against these atrocities, and spoke as an advocate for girls and women’s education. Yousafzai began an activist blog at the tender age of eleven, has led numerous assemblies for children’s and women’s rights, and was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2011. In addition to her long list of accomplishments, Yousafzai was the recipient of the first National Peace award for Pakistan (1). This vocal teen was easily made an enemy and ultimately a target by the aggressive and ruthless Taliban. The Taliban wishes to hold absolute power, and educated women do not fit in to that concept. This is the Taliban’s reasoning for the violent and unnecessary attack on Yousafzai. The innocent girl was shot twice, once in the head and once in the shoulder by Taliban thugs wishing to assassinate the young visionary, at only 15 (2). Although she is expected to make a near full recovery, the world’s response to the shooting has been explosive. People everywhere are outraged by the cruel actions of the Taliban, once again. Although it is evident as to why the Taliban’s actions are atrocities against women and all humans, Taliban leaders cannot fathom the world’s response to Yousafzai. They do not have the perspective of the rest of the world who sees her as a daring advocate for women’s rights in a country where the term “women’s rights” is often scoffed at. The Taliban does not view her as a heroic peace builder, but as the opposite, a radical and dangerous adolescent with