7 women peacebuilders you should know

Conflict is rising, with more countries experiencing violent conflict last year than at any time in 30 years.

While women are deeply affected by the impacts of war, they are often completely excluded when it comes to official peacebuilding processes.

That’s why this International Women’s Day, we’ve brought together the stories of women working to build peace against all odds.

No women, no peace

Research shows that achieving gender equality helps to prevent conflict and when women are involved in peacebuilding, the probability that violence will end increases by 24%.

Yet despite this evidence, only one woman has signed a final peace accord as a chief negotiator anywhere in the world – the inspirational Miriam Coronel-Ferrer in the Philippines.

Peace agreements that involve women are 35% more likely to last at least 15 years. But most peace accords do not include any female signatories.

Without involving women in peacebuilding, we cannot lay the foundations for lasting peace. And without peace, there can be no sustainable development.

That’s why this International Women’s Day we want to tell you about the women building peace around the world today.

You can’t be what you can’t see

So join us to share the stories of these inspirational women, to inspire more communities to involve women in building lasting peace.

1. Myrna is campaigning for autonomy, peace and development in the Philippines

I dream of more education and economic opportunities for women, I dream of a peaceful and happy life for all families.

2. Fatima supports women who have experienced conflict and violence to find peace in Nigeria

Fatima smiles wearing a white hijab in front of an orange wall surrounded by sewing machines.

I try as much as I can to make women understand that peace starts from within us; especially those that are affected with crisis, so they can be an example to others and help make a positive future for all women and girls growing up.

3. The women and girls building peace across the generations in Ukraine

Peace education camps in Ukraine can ensure children become part of the solution.

4. Safari is building peace in collaboration with women traders across the Rwanda-DRC border

Safari wears a red hat and white t-shirt with red short sleeves. She is sitting on a small wooden stall surrounded by large white sacks of corn and flour. A blue plastic tarpaulin sheet hangs in the background.

As a cross-border trader, my work allows me to build a peaceful future, to help contribute good things towards society and allows us to work and live together in harmony.

5. Massaran is resolving conflict over natural resources in Mali

A close up of a woman smiles. She is wearing a purple headscarf and red top.

I would like to see women act as agents of change in Mali’s social and political context. More than 50% of Mali’s population are women and it is very sad to see that we are still going through several cases of gender-based violence in the country, with very little progress being made by the authorities to prevent such acts from happening.

6. Melinda makes sure women are included in peacebuilding projects worldwide

Melinda Simmons at the podium.

I want more and more women to feel they can speak up and tell us what they are thinking. Whether it is about fears they are harbouring, or ideas they have for change. At the same time, I want men to be listening and providing concrete support for those ideas.

7. Odette has been working for peace since the attacks on the Tutsi community began in DRC

Odette Budari Kamanzi leans on a white car wearing a red and shite outfit, standing in front of a stone wall.

I have been engaged in peacebuilding since 1996. It was during this year that the hunt for the Tutsi community began, and all my family fled to Rwanda. I refused because home is here in DRC and I didn’t have a problem with anyone.

Gender equality for peace

We need more women in peacebuilding and more women leaders to sustain peace and development.