If we look at the conflicts around we will notice that the entire dynamics of warfare has undergone a dramatic transformation. Conflicts have become protracted, intractable, deeply complex and multilayered. Noticeably conflicts are invading private spaces touching people’s lives physically, emotionally, mentally, psychologically, politically and monetarily. The cornerstone of today’s conflicts is not the battlefield where men went and fought wars, whereas women and children stayed at home, the war has entered kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms, lanes, by-lanes, mohalla and villages. These spaces have become violent encounter sites. While these conflicts are impacting men, they are impacting women and children the hardest and in a disappropriate manner. They are influencing children, feeding their imagination, shaping their psyche and destroying their mental well-being. They are being most often drawn into conflicts either as victims of violence or conscripted as a participant.
Conflicts are also entering our lives in another way! Global media, technological advances in communication systems have brought the brutality of the conflicts and their stark reality into living rooms and workplaces, thereby raising awareness about the scale of destruction, human loss, pain and suffering of civilian casualties. Not only the practice of war has changed but there has been a tactical shift in the root causes as well. While the wars immediately after World War II were nationalist wars or political wars based on political ideology, many of today’s wars are religious or ethnic in origin. They are firmly rooted in the realm of identity politics and in their most extreme form, deeply conservative and reactionary. The rise of non-state actors, violent extremism, radicalization and terrorism, their control on civil populations and use of sophisticated weaponry has proved to be destructive to an unprecedented degree.
Conflict and patriarchal structures which are pre-existing in the society further disempower women. Identity, its social and political interplay are important lived in the experience of women in the conflict that determines her identity. Her sense of nationality, ethnicity, caste, religion, marital status, disability, age, sexual preferences –all these identities, her sense of self and how she associates with them- these identities can intersect to amplify vulnerability. She can be sexually violated, subjugated and marginalized because of her gender.
Her sense of vulnerability and how intersectional identities interplay have to be understood and tapped as a resource to provide unique perspectives for the establishment of peace and security in a world that is full of diversity.
This programme engages with different stakeholders, primarily women to look at:
- i) Women’s participation in peace and political processes
- ii) Empowering Women’s agency for change
iii) Developing a regional state women policy