INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S CONFERENCE ON NONVIOLENCE AND PEACE
« If nonviolence is the law of our being, then the future is with women... Who can make a more effective appeal to the heart than women? »
Gandhi in Young India, 10-4-1930, p. 121
Peace is needed more than ever before. Social unrest, opening of global markets and planetary crises are all interlocking vectors that compel us to look for nonviolence in governance, economy, society, the environment and education. The complexity of the world order leaves people feeling that they are in a gridlock controlled by “top-down” global structures of real politic, corporatisation of the market, mass media and formal education.
This is why an International Women’s Meet on Nonviolence and Peace has been organised in Jalgaon, India, in October 2016 -the biggest to ever take place in the country.
This event, gathering 150 women activists from 17 states in India and 41 women peace leaders from 24 countries, opened up the doors for sharing of experiential learning of nonviolent action with international and Indian peace activists.
This Meet brought together the local and international, the activist and the academic, the Gandhian and the feminist ; all of whom are using nonviolence in its broader sense of being action-oriented, holistic and context specific.
Women can play an enormously important role in the pacification of our world.
They have been integral to several struggles for freedom and rights alongside men. There is Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, Ellen Johnson of Liberia, Shirin Ebadi from Iran, Tawakkol Salam from Yemen, Gro Harlem Bruntland from Norway to name a few well-known women leaders. But there are also countless and invisible women across the globe doing daily peace work. Many women who have experienced violence know how “to contain conflict” and have developed strategies of handling violence without it haplessly going out of control.
The world has been too long dominated by ‘‘masculine’’ aggressive qualities and it is time that the ‘‘feminine’’ qualities come to the fore.
Yet, they have remained largely invisible and unrecognised. The forms of action they have found to turn violence towards constructive purposes and direct it towards positive political change is a forgotten narrative. It is this that needs to be unfolded and applauded and it was the purpose of this Women’s Meet.
The Women’s Meet led the way to a new wave of grassroots women activists involved in nonviolent action for social change, who shared their experiences and strategies to peacefully solve violent crisis. During the three-days meeting, they discussed how they are facing global crises; how to bring communal harmony; ways in which marginalised women and youth work together; and how to build women based peace armies. These are all strategies being taken up by women in dealing with conflict.
Women’s leadership is believed to be on the threshold to move to the next level of capacity building. To take forward this movement, a Jalgaon Declaration has been endorsed, a text that we hope will be heard and took up by many. This meeting was a success and a starting point for building an international women’s activist network, towards global peace and the Jai Jagat 2020 campaign.
Read the Women's Conference Jalgaon Declaration !
Watch the after-movie of the Conference made by Sandra Gysi