(Original article: The Express Tribune, Nov. 30, 2015)
PESHAWAR: A network of women peace builders called the Khawateen Aman Ittehad was launched on Monday in the city where its efforts will be concentrated. Khawateen Aman Ittehad is an initiative of the Peace, Education and Development (PEAD) Foundation to bring together women from different faiths and communities to one platform.
A ceremony was held at the PUTA Hall of the University of Peshawar and was attended by women activists including MPA Dr Meher Taj Roghani, Meraj Humayun and women district councillors. The network aimed to enhance the participation of women in peace-building initiatives.
Addressing the audience, Roghani said women were facing gender disparity in society. “Unless they are empowered and educated, they will continue to face problems,” she said.
“I believe women are more dedicated and responsible than men, but unfortunately they lack development opportunities.”
The MPA added women were an active part of peace-building structures and their skills in conflict resolution and mediation must be utilised.
Khawateen Aman Ittehad will focus on mobilisation, capacity building and engagement of potential women peace builders. Roghani is the symbolic head for the network. The initial structure consists of one advisory and one working committee.
PEAD Foundation Executive Director Sameena Imtiaz said the foundation considered the role of women mandatory for peace building and reforms. She added educated women should be engaged in the process to build a more pluralistic society.
She also shared PEAD conducted issue identification sessions and capacity building workshops for the youth with prominent women in their fields including parliamentarians.
Norwegian Church Aid country head Hannah Mollan was of the view there were hurdles for women not only in Pakistan, but the rest of the world. “We need to remove the glass ceiling for them to grow,” she added.
PEAD Senior Manager Shagufta Khalique asserted with the cooperation and willingness of all women members, they were able to launch the network.