The role of women in conflict resolution and peace processes is internationally recognized. The UN has issued multiple resolutions affirming the pivotal role of women in peace and committing to measures that study and ensure the continued involvement of women.
For example, UN Resolution 1889 affirms two levels of women's critical involvement: one, in "prevention and resolution of conflict and peace building," and two, "re-establishing the fabric of recovering society."
During the session on "Women in Leadership" at the 2013 Global Peace Convention, wife of Vice-President of Nigeria and founder of I-CARE Women & Youths Initiative, H.E. Hajiya Mrs. Amina Namadi Sambo told participants, that in order to cultivate peace, societies must encourage women "to perform their roles as natural peace builders and peacemakers." So, why are women crucial to the peacemaking process? Hajiya Mrs. Sambo offered two reasons.
First, according to Hajiya Mrs. Sambo, is that women possess unique God-given qualities that "facilitate peace building and conflict resolution." She described women as innately empathetic, aspiring to lend a helping hand to others. Women are also honest, forthright, patient, and compassionate. These unique characteristics equip women to be better facilitators and collaborators.
Second, is that women play a pivotal role in the family, “the basic tool for peace." Within a family, women have a "God-given role to be mothers" who raise “a happy and healthy family." Hajiya Mrs. Sambo describes motherhood as the most important role for a woman. Furthermore, she observes that mothers are more likely to "rise above self-interest," placing the interests others before her own. Thus, as mothers who educate the next generation, who secure the peace of the home, women have a central part in creating peace starting from the most basic building block of society, the family, and extending into the community and world.
As Hajiya Mrs. Sambo said, "[…]the importance of women in building sustainable peace in the world can no longer be overlooked." Women and men are complimentary to each other, and both are important to peace and development. The absence of women slows down the process. However, despite the obvious need to include women, women have often been left out. Hajiya Mrs. Sambo encouraged societies to make space for women to be mothers and also work in the public together with men.
Watch her address: