Speakers discuss role of women in conflict prevention, peacemaking


LAHORE: Speakers at a seminar on Thursday said women are not only one of the key drivers of change, but also act as agents of conflict prevention and peacemaking and reconcilers in peace-building efforts in a particular society.

Addressing a one-day workshop titled “Role of Women in Promoting Peace in a Diverse Society” held at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and organised by FemSoc and Hum AaHang in collaboration with the Campus Climate Unit of the Dean of Student Affairs Office, they said the role and contribution of women to the culture of peace is not only important because they represent almost half of the global population, but also because they are one of the key drivers of change of mindsets and cultures.

Campus Climate Manager Hiba Zakai delivered the welcome address, while Punjab Minister for Health Dr Yasmeen Rashid, MNA Romina Khurshid Alam, former MNA Dr Samia Raheel Qazi, Balochistan Assembly former speaker Rahila Durrani, Okara Deputy Commissioner Maryam Khan, Islamic Research Institute (IRI) Director General (DG) Dr Ziaul Haq, Hum AaHang President Fatima Mohsin Naqvi, FemSoc President Nawal Zahra, psychologist Dr Fia Paracha and University of Lahore Dean Dr Rabia spoke on the occasion.

“Women and their empowerment are crucial in advancing the culture of peace in all its vectors – education, sustainable economic and social development, human rights and equality, democratic participation, tolerance and understanding – at all levels in the family, community, country, region and globally,” they said.

“There is no question that the culture of peace requires the participation of women, especially young women. So, their empowerment is vital to ensure that at least half of the humanity is liberated from violence and discrimination, has the power of decision-making, and has the economic muscle to nurture a culture of peace and rollback the tides of extremism and terrorism,” the speakers said.

They also called for improving access to education of girls, providing a secure environment for them to learn, breaking down gender stereotypes in school curricula, advancing understanding, tolerance and solidarity, and ultimately spreading a culture of gender equality which will lead to a culture of peace in the society.

Punjab Minister for Health Dr Yasmeen Rashid spoke about the impacts of hormonal changes on behaviour, especially in women, while former MNA Dr Samia Raheel Qazi threw light on the role of women in promoting peace in the light of Holy Quran and Sunnah.

In their speeches, MNA Romina Khurshid Alam and IRI DG Dr Ziaul Haq introduced “Paigham-e-Pakistan” and “Dukhtran-e-Pakistan” initiatives of the government of Pakistan, launched with an aim to promote the narrative of peace in the country and defeat the forces of extremism and terrorism through unity, brotherhood, tolerance and an inclusive approach.

University of Lahore Dean Dr Rabia discussed the role of women in promoting peace by countering social and cultural taboos, and Balochistan Assembly former speaker Rahila Durrani laid emphasis on the responsibility of the parliament to engage different segments of society, especially women, to promote peace and stability in the country.