By Anu Lama
On March 16, 2022, Global Peace Foundation (GPF) in collaboration with Global Peace Women (GPW) Uruguay, the Latin America Presidential Mission, and Red Politicolis conducted an webinar on the ‘Role of Women in Global Crisis.’ The webinar focused on women’s leadership, challenges, access and representation in the public and political sphere. H.E. Laura Chincilla, former President of the Republic of Costa Rica, Dr. Nibia Pizzo, Global Peace Women Uruguay Country Leader and Dr. Matilda Munhoz, Director of Social Inclusion of the Organization of American States (OAS) were the speakers for the webinar.
H.E. Laura Chinchilla expressed concern for and solidarity with Ukrainian women. The global dimensions of the conflict have revealed the fractures in our current global governance. It has also confirmed and aggravated the vulnerability of women in conflict. H.E. Chincilla iterated that recovery and peacebuilding are unimaginable without women. “Women leaders tend to be more compassionate, supportive, and empathetic,” she noted, describing how women’s collaborative leadership style is essential for peace and crisis response that overcomes division and fosters political cohesion, and dialogue.
Nibia Pizzo emphasized that women’s leadership extends from the home and expands to global affairs. Quoting former President Jaime Zamora of Bolivia, Dr. Pizzo, the “heart of a woman” in women's leadership in both national and global affairs “ has the power to change humanity...unleash an irreversible and irresistible force which is…now love.” She described service-minded women leadership as one deeply rooted in a woman’s strength of conscience, heart, character, and empathy.
Dr. Matilde Muñoz addressed the challenges facing women leaders, particularly discrimination in media coverage, social media harassment and concerns for privacy. Dr. Munoz said, “For women leadership to grow, normalize presence of women in public and political spaces,” said Dr. Munoz, “Women and men with democratic principles of equity and human rights [need] to work together and guarantee women representation.”
She shared strategies as creating social networks, safe spaces, and media space to facilitate discussion that revalue women’s contributions and change conversations reducing the cost of exposure of women in the public sphere.
The women also shared their reflections and experiences as women leaders. H.E. Chinchilla spoke on differentiated socialization that fed prejudices and limited conditions for women leadership. She called for collective action from families, social networks and media to become “allies” for women to practice leadership. Likewise, Dr. Nibia reflected the need to change awareness on women’s role in society from a bottom-up approach starting from homes to break mutual learning roles. Dr. Munhoz took a positive perspective to see the glass as half full, looking at current challenges in the light of progress being made.
Women have indispensable roles and qualities in crisis response and peacebuilding in private, public and political spheres. The forum put a spotlight on the value of women, identifying obstacles and encouraging individuals, families, media, and governments to all play a role in supporting women engagement.