Exploring methods beyond the narrow focus in women’s quota will transform patriarchal structures to improve on their participation in governance and maintain peace on the job and in the family.
That was one of the conclusions arrived at the end of a three-day (May 21-23) conflict resolution seminar, held at a local hotel in Monrovia, with 20 participants.
The three-day gender and peace-building workshop brought together female and male decision makers within key institutions responsible for security and peace building in Liberia and in the West African sub-region.
These bodies included the Independent National Commission on Human Rights, the Liberian Ministry of Defense, Liberian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working on peace and security issues, media houses and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Organized by the Cape Town, South Africa-based Centre for Conflict Resolution, the participants examined gender balance on the job and in the home and recognized which eventually leads to peace and security.
Also examined were tension and masculinity inherent in a society in which harbors ‘The Rule of the Fathers,’ which also creates injustice against women, in several aspects of their lives.
They learned the need to urgently encourage the creation of the ‘new masculinity’ in which a boy’s role in society should not center on what ‘society’ expects a man to achieve, as well as a new feminism in which a girl is expected to learn issues that society considers as her role.
Interactive discussions centered on the respective roles that society expects each sex to perform, and the body realized that for a better society, devoid of violence, either male or female can equally perform well, for instance, in the kitchen and on the football field.
The participants better understood ‘patriarchy, gender socialization and their effects on men and women, how to develop a sense of empathy for the other gender and the means to apply them in their various places of work,’ as well as in their homes.
They learned to increase their voices and participate in building peace and gender equality, as well as using their knowledge from the seminar to transform the inherent patriarchy system in Liberia to ensure gender equality.
The participants were drawn from the Ministry of Defense, ECOWAS, AU, Peacebuilding Resource, LBS, INCHR and the Daily Observer.
The facilitators included Ms. Netsai Mushonga, senior manager (at the CCR), Mr. Okumba Miruka, (Consultant), Antonia Porter, (CCR) and Ms. Fiona Lunda (CCR).
The workshop will be followed by another one in July 2014 in Accra, Ghana to bring together key decision makers to ensure that more women are meaningfully involved in peace processes, conflict resolution and peacebuilding activities across Africa.