Push: On Your Face Or On Your Feet?

As we get ready to push our advocacy into full swing for the 16 days of activism, will we be falling on our face or landing on our feet?

Violence greatly impacts the lives of everyone and has destructive capabilities. Women and girls however, are more highly affected as we are more prone to sexual violence, physical and financial violence and in light of this we are often times referred to as the ‘weaker sex’. With all evidence pointing towards our susceptibility and vulnerability towards violence, women still remain systematically marginalized in efforts at all levels to prevent, resolve and recover from the abuse we encounter or witness. Also our participation in peace, justice, gender equity and security processes and institutions remains rather limited.

In an effort to address this, the Jamaica Community of Positive Women will embarked on a journey on the 16 Days of Activism towards sharing our hope of ending all forms of violence against women and their children. Throughout this journey we seek to utilize our empowered women to uphold their rights – and those of other women who have not yet arrived – to never tolerate nor excuse violence perpetuated against them. The women are also provided opportunities to identify their roles and responsibilities in ensuring peace, justice and security for all women and by extension the general population.

Since the adaption of the international campaign from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991, there has been visible achievements. Twenty two years after the 1994 genocide, Rwanda has a ratio of 64% female parliamentarians, the highest in the world.

The impact on women’s lives and their formal role in the decision making process has however, been sporadic; and while there has been significant progress in women’s participation in the advocacy movement to end violence against women overall, women represented less than 10% of persons involved. An Oxfam study of 23 known Afghanistan peace talks between 2005 and 2014, for example, found that during talks between the international community and the Taliban, not a single Afghan woman was involved. Women remain excluded even where evidence has shown that patriarchy efforts to find solutions or justify violent behaviors have failed for decades.

At various level women’s participation continues to be limited or rendered less meaningful by multiple factors to include poverty, social and economic discrimination and inequality as well as lack of technical capacity which is often times caused by the lack of access to education. Threats and acts of violence caused by political marginalization or manipulation contributes to the lacking in participation and recognition of women’s participation.

How do we address these damaging issues around the world especially with no transparency and political accountability for the actions of government’s inconsistency, and the dire need for greater efforts are needed to prevent gender-based violence?

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