We Must Confront Gendered Violence to Achieve Peace in Afghanistan

Written by Taliah Mancini

“During times of conflict, men and women experience war different,” Megan Corrado wrote for Ms. in July, delineating the need to include women at the negotiation table in Afghanistan. “These [gendered] traumas impact every aspect of the social fabric and must be recognized in the creation of accountability and reconciliation mechanisms in peace agreements.”

Later in August, Suzie Abdou critiqued the Trump administration’s new “path forward” in Afghanistan by pointing out how current U.S. foreign policy fails to consider—no less protect the rights of—Afghan women, while Leila Milani urged the U.S. government to stop ignoring gender when constructing foreign policy.

More recently, Miguel Howe and Farhat Popal reported at The Hill about the gendered violence of war and why centering Afghan women in post-war efforts is vital for creating sustained peace and equality:

Importantly, Afghan women’s inclusion in the process of building this future is essential to the effectiveness of peacebuilding, and advancing security interests. Evidence shows that women improve the process and outcomes of peace talks by promoting dialogue and trust, bridging divides and mobilizing coalitions, raising issues that are vital for peace, and prioritizing gender equality. Gender equality and women’s economic empowerment are also strongly tied to prosperous and peaceful societies.

Unfortunately, a 2014 study by Oxfam found that in 23 rounds of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban since 2005, only one woman from the government was present on two occasions. No women have been included in discussions between international negotiators and the Taliban, and it is unclear if, or to what extent, women’s interests were represented by others.

These pieces suggest the importance of recognizing the gendered nature of war, specifically the heightened violence women experience at the hands of both the state and patriarchal norms, and call on the Trump administration to include women in (re)building process. After all, Afghan women should be the architects of their own futures.

This post originally appeared on Ms. Magazine

Photo Credit: ResoluteMediaSupport/Flickr

56 comments

Sarah H
Sarah Hill4 days ago

The unfortunate fact is that we will never achieve peace in Afghanistan. The Russians and the Brits have tried before us, all without success. It just ends in a quagmire.

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Chad A
Chad A16 days ago

Thank you.

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Mike R
Mike R17 days ago

Thanks

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Mike R
Mike R17 days ago

Thanks

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Paulo R
Paulo Rabout a month ago

ty

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heather g
heather gabout a month ago

Nicole Heindryckx has made some good points. With all the historical political interference, Afghanistan seems to have all countries after its mineral and oil wealth.

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Nicole H
Nicole Heindryckx1 months ago

But it is NOW the moment that women are taking their responsibility and demand their fair share in political matters. Men generally consider solving political issues either by just deciding what they want, or to take up the weapons. Women on the contrary believe in TALKING. Listening to each other's issues and debating the pro's and contra's will resolve political issues without bloodshed. They have seen and suffered enough by now. Men at the frontline have NOT seen the daily needs and difficulties in which women had to live and look after their children, the daily fights to provide some food for their children etc.. That's why they now have to FIGHT for their share in political decisions and avoid further useless, religious wars in the future. When women will remain in the shadow, peace will never be obtained, or just for a very small period of time. Violence and war will never guarantee peace for long time. That's why politics should never be the responsibility of men only. They are too narrow minded and have no empathy and compassion for all involved. One can see a good example of how MEN's POLITICS are not working in the U.S.A. for the moment.

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Nicole H
Nicole Heindryckx1 months ago

During and after war situations, huge decisions have to be taken with regard to the future of EACH AND EVERYONE. That conferences and meetings are held without the participation of women is just totally foolish. So men will AGAIN decide, what will be done, and how the society will be rebuild without having any idea of how women did have to fight the daily worries / needs concerning housing, schools, education, facilities for women and children etc.. Men have never been involved in family matters in those countries before. So how can they make serious and good decisions with regard to the future. Everything has to be rebuild from scrap. There is a big need of decent housing and new streets. However schools, either mixed, or for girls / boys separately, sporting facilities for children, health centers and clinics, encounter places for women, where they can have discussions about contraceptive possibilities, education, hobby facilities and other typical "women matters" can NOT be forgotten. It is a good occasion to listen to women and let them participate. Women are the best placed to inform men what was wrong / difficult to match in their lives / that of their children before this war. Rebuilding a society in the old manner will certainly not be favorable for women and children. .../2

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Janis K
Janis K1 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Carl R
Carl R1 months ago

Thanks!!!

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