Lessons from Women’s Programs in Afghanistan and Iraq

 

United States Institute of Peace
Special Report by Kathleen Kuehnast, Manal Omar, Steven E. Steiner, and Hodei Sultan
March 2012

 

During 2011, the Center for Gender and Peacebuilding at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) brought together a “community of practice” focused on examining lessons learned from conflict and postconflict programs of support for women in Iraq and Afghanistan. This community comprises representatives of U.S. government agencies and departments, international and domestic NGOs, along with members of congressional staff and the U.S. armed forces, and representatives of allied embassies.

This review of lessons learned is in the context of the recent executive order (EO) from President Obama (December 19, 2011), which emphasizes that it shall be the policy and practice of the executive branch of the U.S. government to have a National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security. Most relevant to this effort, the EO recognizes that “promoting women’s participation in conflict prevention, management, and resolution, as well as in postconflict relief and recovery, advances peace, national security, economic and social development, and international cooperation.”

To read more about this report, click here.

To download the Special Report (SR-302), “Lessons from Women’s Programs in Afghanistan and Iraq,” click here.

 

 

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A More Peaceful World if Women Were in Charge?

Joseph Nye
CNN Global Public Square
February 8, 2012

Would the world be more peaceful if women were in charge? A challenging new book by the Harvard University psychologist Steven Pinker says that the answer is “yes.”

In The Better Angels of Our Nature, Pinker presents data showing that human violence, while still very much with us today, has been gradually declining. Moreover, he says, “over the long sweep of history, women have been and will be a pacifying force. Traditional war is a man’s game: tribal women never band together to raid neighboring villages.” As mothers, women have evolutionary incentives to maintain peaceful conditions in which to nurture their offspring and ensure that their genes survive into the next generation.

Skeptics immediately reply that women have not made war simply because they have rarely been in power. If they were empowered as leaders, the conditions of an anarchic world would force them to make the same bellicose decisions that men do. Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir, and Indira Gandhi were powerful women; all of them led their countries to war.

But it is also true that these women rose to leadership by playing according to the political rules of “a man’s world.” It was their success in conforming to male values that enabled their rise to leadership in the first place. In a world in which women held a proportionate share (one-half) of leadership positions, they might behave differently in power.

To read the full article at CNN.com, click here.