Peace means women’s citizenship

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The goal of our Brazilian PeaceWomen Association, located in São Paulo, is to promote a culture of peace based on the extended meaning of UN Resolution 1325, citizenship and human rights. Its purpose is to value the assumption of gender equality, by promoting activities from two programs: education and educommunication, which I would like to present you here because they are really having an impact on the lifes of violence affected women.

Talita Oliveira, a transsexual who was a victim of international human trafficking when younger, provided the deepening of the theme from her personal example.Program 1 – Education has been developing activities such as workshops, seminars and conferences in different Brazilian regions, with women and men, focusing on the amplified meaning of peace, interconnected with the meaning of masculinities and the reality of domestic violence, human trafficking and sexual violence, under the perspectives of gender, social class, race, ethnics, sexual orientation and generation. All the activities are based on the feminist popular education methodology.

Program 2 – Educommunication is devoted to an effective intervention on mass media, including digital media, aiming to gain a wider audience to become sensitized to gender issues, especially men and young people. Another activity is the Exhibition “1000 PeaceWomen Around the World”, with photos and biographies of 1000 women nominated for the 2005 Nobel Prize of Peace, including 52 Brazilian women. The main purpose is to give visibility to women’s work, as well as the important role they play in the achievement of peace in this broadest sense of human security and justice.

Violence against women (VAW) is a universal problem considered to be the cruelest symptom of gender inequality, which is socially constructed, culturally accepted and historically maintained. We consider VAW as a consequence of gender inequality and developed methods and tools to work on gender relationships and VAW in groups of both genders in a participative way. From 2011 to 2012, the focus was domestic violence. Then, from 2013 to 2015, the entity has extended its method of popular education to work not only on domestic violence but to work on women trafficking and sexual violence.

In Brazil, 85% of the victims of human trafficking are women. They end up fueling the international networks of prostitution. According to data from the International Labor Organization, Brazilian women are among the main victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation. According to the United Nations, this is the third most profitable form of crime in the world, following the trafficking of drugs and weapons. Brazil is considered to be the cradle of trafficking of women, both due to the large number of neighboring countries and for being the Latin America “exportation” basis for Europe and North America. Human trafficking is definitely one of the worst expressions of gender and social class inequalities.

As a result of our activities in several Brazilian cities, namely workshops and public panels, we have been seeing some of these impacts in Brazilian society:

  • Refinement of feminist perspective on a specific methodology to work the issue of Women Trafficking and Sexual Violence with both sexes.
  • Contribution to the accumulation of discussion on the issue of women trafficking within the feminist movement and in society as a whole.
  • Contribution in the struggle for addressing violence against women that is embodied in domestic, sexual violence and women trafficking.
  • Strengthening of services network against human trafficking, consisting of governmental and nongovernmental actors.
  • Interference in the deployment and implementation of public policies to fight women trafficking and sexual violence.
  • Increased sensitivity of the media and the public about the seriousness of these issues, as a result of gender inequalities.

Summarizing, we can say that more women and men will be representing in decision making levels on addressing VAW; women and men, including the youth, will be engaged together contributing to reducing VAW; gender stereotypes will be challenged by local men and women, including youth.

Author: Vera Vieira, Executive Director of Brazilian PeaceWomen Association

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