One area in which women have gained very little
access is at the highest levels of diplomacy and political
decision-making related to peace and security. While women
have been very active calling for an end to war and the arms
race, they have been less visible at the negotiating table.
Yet, ironically, it is women and children who suffer the most
in today's wars.
countries, often a significant amount of the male population
is lost to conflict. The remaining women are forced to flee
to areas of safety with whatever of their family remains.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that typically
75% of displaced people due to war are women. They become
both the breadwinner and primary caregiver to their families.
In many countries, women are not given the training and skills
needed to secure jobs that adequately provide for their family.
Their dislocation often brings them to poor, insecure regions,
where they no longer have access to health care, proper nutrition,
or education. These women may fall further victim to systematic
gender-based terrorism and violence.
- In 1994 the
country of Rwanda experienced a genocide that left 300,000
parentless children. 60,000 children became the providers
of their brothers and sisters. Of these 60,000 children,
two thirds were young girls.
- In the aftermath
of Bosnia, economic recovery is slow. Women with no work
experience and little vocational training are being forced
to find jobs to provide for their families. To make matters
worse, women are unable to inherit land or property and
married women cannot pursue employment without permission
from their husbands.