Men are from Mars. Women are from Venus.
Okay, so that’s a bit of a cop out opening for a blog about a report examining the different roles men and women play in building peace in countries at war but it sums up pretty well the huge differences in the ways the sexes respond when it comes to talking and building peace.
The report 'From the Ground Up' is a joint effort between the Institute of Development Studies, ActionAid and Womankind Worldwide and found that despite increased international attention paid to women’s participation in peace building, not only the challenges that women face but also their achievements have been largely overlooked.
Women are much more likely to focus on the attainment of individual rights and freedoms such as education, healthcare and freedom from violence. They are also more likely to come together for collective change, building trust through dialogue at community level and dissuading male relatives from violent and provocative acts. For women, peace really does start with families.
Men on the other hand have a greater tendency to associate peace with the absence of formal conflict and stability of formal structures such as government and look to work at a more central level.
As the Guardian’s Julian Borger wrote in his article on the report, when it comes to negotiating and signing peace deals, women are almost universally shut out despite their conciliation skills and this is a powerful waste of resources
Oh, and Friday 21st September was International Peace Day, a day dedicated to strengthening the ideals of peace and solidarity with people affected by conflict and violence around the world.
Mars and Venus? Maybe. Certainly peace means different things to women and men because of their unique experiences as a result of war and of how society is structured, to quote Liberia’s Estella Nelson. But perhaps John Lennon also had it right ...let’s just imagine.