Women’s Issues Are Global Issues
While the Economic Policy Institute’s 2015 Economic Agenda is bold and wonderful, I can’t help noticing that the Women’s Economic Agenda is all about women.
Here’s what I mean. We talk about how many women are living in poverty, about gender based wage disparity, about the paucity of opportunities in upper management for women, and especially how 14 million children are affected.
Lots of people consider these to be women’s issues, and as such, somewhat less important than other issues such as fighting terrorism and securing American interests abroad.
Women are systematically excluded from peace negotiations.
But what are “women’s issues”? Interestingly they extend way beyond the issues mentioned above. For example, women are systematically excluded from peace negotiations, even though for the most part women and children are by far the most numerous victims of war.
This leaves the very people who went to war in the first place to be the ones who now negotiate the peace.
According to a report by Inclusive Security peace agreements that were forged by negotiating teams that included women are 35% more likely to last 15 years or more than treaties where no women participated.
Donald Steinberg, Ambassador to Angola, said that the exclusion of women from the peace process in Angola in 1998 was responsible for the failure of the process.
In countries affected by chronic war, when at least 35% of legislatures were women the probability of relapse to war declined to almost zero, while similarly conflicted countries whose legislatures contained few or no women invariably returned to war.
Women are critical players in the fight against terrorism.
According to a 2014 Brookings foreign policy report women are critical players in the fight against terrorism. Brookings cites two particular cases, Morocco and Bangladesh.
When women in these countries were actively empowered and recruited into their country’s counter-terrorism programs, certain predictors of violence such as poverty declined, and along with them violence itself.
What the world needs now is the realization that women’s issues are global issues, including war, planetary degradation, and economic collapse.