The Women Building a Just Peace Circle was born of the recognition that women and girls pay a heavy price for the growth of militarism around the world. We want to see a more just and peaceful world, and we believe that women are key to making this happen. Use of military force as the dominant response to conflict is not viable. Violence perpetuates violence. Women and children are disproportionately impacted. Our vision is to build an international movement of women leaders focused on ending our current culture of aggression.
Initially formed as a partnership with the Global Fund for Women (GFW), the Circle’s members have focused on women’s efforts around the world to resist militarism in their communities, with the goal of gleaning effective methods of dismantling militarism, and scaling those methods up to be implemented on a larger scale.
Through our work with the Global Fund, the Circle’s initial activities included an energizing evening discussion with the Global Fund’s grantee partners from Guam, Brazil, and Colombia working on the front lines to challenge military expansion in their communities; an informative call with Global Fund staff to learn more about how women are confronting militarism around the world; and a Global Fund Retreat with Isabelle Allende in the Bay Area in 2010.
More recently, the Circle’s activities have included calls and discussions on:
- Effective strategies for women confronting militarism, including strategizing about what the Middle East uprisings mean for women;
- Women’s experience of militarism and aid in the context of natural disasters, looking at Haiti, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan as examples; and
- Women’s experiences in war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Women Building a Just Peace Circle has recently decided to explore taking collective action, and is studying 5 areas of work, including convening, influencing the philanthropic sector around security issues, and framing and messaging around security and militarism.
We believe women’s experience from the grassroots must inform all peacebuilding venues, and that women’s leadership at formal peacebuilding tables is essential in building just, sustainable peace. We want to nurture movements that value and respect women as leaders in building a nonviolent, resilient, and just world. To that end, the Circle’s first collaborative funding initiative is focused on the development of materials that highlight the critical importance of empowering women’s participation in all phases of conflict prevention. These materials, including a pamphlet and a compelling “pocket guide,” will be distributed to funders to encourage greater awareness and funding of women’s participation in and contribution to conflict resolution and peacebuilding.
Our Circle joins with women worldwide who see what is possible and believe we can, and must, set things right in an unbalanced world. Through these strategies, our goal is to support women peacebuilders worldwide and advocate in the US for aid and national security policies that include women’s full participation in all aspects of society.