On 5th June 2000, Kofi Annan, U.N. Secretary General at the opening of the special General Assembly stated "much remains to be done to achieve equality for women...not only do women belong on this planet, but the future of this planet depends on women." Never have these words been so true.
2016 has been a year of war, displacement and increasing global warming. This humanitarian crisis is particularly detrimental to thousands of women, struggling to survive and keep their families together.
With this historic number of conflicts and climate change it is crucial that women are in a powerful role supported by men from the grass roots level upwards.
Sexual violence and rape are part of war and part of crimes against men, women and children. George Bush identified that respect for women is one of the non-negotiable aspects of human dignity. Countries where women are empowered are vastly more secure than those that are not; whether it is food security or violent extremism, or disputes between nations - it is vital to include women.
There is clear data that when women are at the Peace Table, peace is significantly sustained.
When women are at the Peace Table the following can be achieved:
- Long term medical support for men, women and children.
- Education, not just basic education, higher education. Part of peace keeping is to reach out to other countries for support in their universities. If we do not educate, we will have a period of terrorism due to greed and people not understanding what they can achieve through education.
- Investment is key as part of the agreement. Without investment it is not possible to rebuild society. Investment brings training and jobs.The British government is committed in all negotiations that have women at the Peace Table. It is indeed the right thing to do to make peace on earth a reality.