The Roles of Women in War and Peace
Abigail Disney, along with co-creators Pamela Hogan and Gini Reticker, executive produced Women, War and Peace, a five-part special series on PBS. With narrators Matt Damon, Tilda Swinton, Geena Davis and Alfre Woodard, Women, War & Peace is the most comprehensive global media initiative ever mounted on the roles of women in war and peace. Watch on your local PBS station Tuesday nights from Oct. 11 to Nov. 8. Check local listings for air times.
Five years ago, when I traveled to Liberia with Ambassador Swanee Hunt a few months after the inauguration of Africa’s first female Head-of-State, and now Nobel Peace Prize winner, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, I had no idea that my next role would be documenting and celebrating the lives of women building peace. But after hearing story after story of triumph and struggle, leadership and survival I knew there was something else below the surface of Liberia’s liberation that needed to be lifted up.
Two years later, the documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell was released about a group of brave and visionary women – in plain white tee-shirts – joining forces across region and religion to demand peace. Their leader, Leymah Gbowee (also, now a Nobel Peace Prize winner), was intuitive and innovative. Her strategies brilliant, her tactics simple yet effective, and the message direct: the women of Liberia want peace.After Pray, I knew this was my calling: to tell the stories of women building peace – the invisible side of war. The result is Women, War & Peace, the most comprehensive global media initiative ever mounted on the roles of women in war and peace airing on PBS. In making Women, War & Peace with co-creators Pamela Hogan and Gini Reticker, I have had the privilege to get to know some of these peacebuilders.
From these women and through years of research, I’ve come to understand what it means to be a “peacebuilder”. What connects them is a collective decision to build peace in their respective countries. As individuals they are all remarkable, but as peacebuilders they are rooted in their sameness.
Peacebuilders are action-oriented, ‘do-ers’, makers, creators. Those who build peace look around and not only believe that we can move out of war and chaos, but make decisions to get us there. Peace is an active choice to live in community.
I know that we can all play a role in the movement to build peace. We can all be peacebuilders – small, medium and large. We can watch and share the series. We can push-back on the aesthetic of violence and the ceaseless romanticization of combat that are the staples of our Hollywood industrial complex. We can tell the stories of women leaders not as victims, but as peacebuilders. It can be as simple an act as putting the Nobel Peace Prize link on your Facebook. We can choose to act. Learn more. Do more. We can choose to live in global community by building peace.
Written by Abigail Disney
Photo taken from the above video