Women’s participation in public life a prerequisite for lasting peace: India
India has today moved from a paradigm of women’s development to women-led development
India at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Tuesday said that women’s participation in public life and elimination of violence against them are pre-requisites for promoting lasting peace and security around the world.
A statement by India’s Permanent Representative at UN Ambassador TS Tirumurti at the UNSC Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security said that India firmly supports women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in political processes and decision-making to promote an inclusive society.
“India has today moved from a paradigm of women’s development to women-led development,” he informed the Council at the Open Debate ‘Protecting Participation: Addressing Violence Targeting Women in Peace and Security Processes’.
“We now have more than 1.3 million elected women representatives at the grassroots level who have taken up leadership roles in their local communities. We even have all-women Panchayats, the village-level elected local bodies, at the grassroots level,” Tirumurti stated.
Twenty Indian states have made provisions for 50% reservation of total seats in legislative bodies at the local level for women, he told UNSC.
“During India’s struggle for freedom, women were at the forefront in practically every aspect of our effort. This tradition continues to the contemporary times as well,” India’s envoy to the UN said.
“In 2007, India created history by deploying the first ever all-female Formed Police Unit (FPU) for UN Peacekeeping in Liberia,” he noted.
“This unit served in Liberia for a decade and through their work served as an example of how the deployment of more women uniformed personnel could help the UN in its efforts to combat sexual exploitation and abuse,” Tirumurti added.
In order to strengthen women’s participation in peace and political process, and to eliminate discrimination and violence against women, he highlighted six points.
“First, Member States should identify and address barriers to women’s meaningful participation in the prevention and resolution of conflict, and in post-conflict peace-building efforts and programs,” India’s Ambassador to UN pointed out.
“This requires devising a legislative and judicial framework, providing economic opportunities, undertaking institution and capacity building, ensuring accountability and checking impunity of those perpetrating violence against women,” he added.
“Second, Member States must provide conducive environment for the participation and inclusion of women in political processes and decision-making,” Tirumurti observed.
“A political environment based on principles of democracy, pluralism and rule of law is conducive to furthering role of women in nation-building and development,” he said.
“In this context, we underline once again the importance of inclusive and representative governance in Afghanistan, with the meaningful participation of women in accordance with UNSC Resolution 2593 adopted on 30 August 2021,” India’s Permanent Representative to UN highlighted.
“Third, in addition to political participation, we must also equally focus in a holistic manner on socio-economic empowerment of women, including their access to credit, finance and technology,” he maintained.
Arguing that a growing digital divide could have the potential to alienate women from the mainstream agenda, Tirumurti said India has not only undertaken numerous citizen-centric digital initiatives but has also focused these services towards women to minimize the gender divide.
“We opened online bank accounts for over 440 million people of which more than 55 percent of account holders are women. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this initiative helped in direct benefit transfer to nearly 200 million women,” he further said.
“Fourth, terrorism and violent extremism continue to be the biggest global threat to peace and security and invariably women suffer disproportionately,” Ambassador Tirumurti reasoned.
“Violence against women and girls perpetrated by terrorists remains rampant. It deserves strong condemnation and our special attention. It is important that the Council focuses its attention on the impact and consequences of terrorism on the rights of women,” he said.
“Fifth, the women police officers and peacekeepers play an indispensable role in furthering Women Peace and Security agenda. They are better able to gain the trust of a large but marginalized section of society,” the Indian envoy to UN said.
“We, therefore, need more women in peacekeeping. India welcomes the Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy to increase the number of women peacekeepers,” he argued.
According to Tirumurti, India also supports increasing the deployment of Women Protection Advisors for effective monitoring, analysis and reporting arrangements on conflict-related sexual violence in the field.
“Sixth, the UN should provide support to Member States for institution and capacity building in post-conflict situations to address meaningfully and institutionally the inequalities and violence faced by women and to ensure their full participation in decision-making,” he argued.
“Focus on women in the process of Peace Building is crucial,” the Indian Ambassador said.
“Last but not the least, news media, especially social media, has emerged as a platform increasingly being used by various actors, including terrorists, for amplifying discriminatory ideas and promoting violent radicalization,” he explained.
“Women are often the victims of these online criminal acts. To counter it, we require a sincere, committed, non-discriminatory and collective effort through a whole of society approach,” Tirumurti maintained.