We believe that peace requires the equal participation of all members of society, including men, women, girls, boys and gender minorities.
To mark International Women's Day 2015, we are sharing the stories of our inspiring peacebuilders around the world – both men and women – and their views on peace and gender equality.
Nathalie Bekdache, Lebanon
Why did you decide to work in peacebuilding?
"I decided to work in peacebuilding because I see it as a broad field that encompasses my interests in political change and statebuilding generally, the mode of which can have a great effect on building peaceful, content societies or not. In the same vein, I see peacebuilding as providing a lens that can be placed on other fields to consider the implications of activities in those fields on the promotion of peace. For instance, I hope, at some point, to explore the interplay between urbanism (design of cities) and statebuilding and its impact on peacebuilding."
Why is International Women's Day important to you?
"Women's Day is important to me because it is a day that celebrates and values women’s contribution to the world we live in, which is important in efforts to move towards equality between men and women in the social, political and economic spheres of life. Such equality opens the door for women to achieve their full potential, equalising the playing field with men and ultimately reconfiguring power dynamics that shape less violent and more peaceful societies."
Why in your opinion is gender equality important for peacebuilding?
"Gender equality is important for peacebuilding because much of the problems in the world are a struggle or a conflict of various types of inequalities, one of which is gender. Gender inequality disempowers one group versus the other and this disempowerment in the home, work or in the public spheres transcends beyond the immediate relationship between genders on a personal level to a social one, and ultimately a generational one that reinvents itself perpetually. This reinvention then recreates and reinforces conflicts over time. Seeking gender equality opens the door for better power dynamics, less abuse, less trauma, and healthier, happier individuals and societies."