Betty Reardon’s 2001 publication, Education for a Culture of Peace in a Gender Perspective, can be downloaded for free via UNESCO’s digital library.
Betty Reardon expresses the basic rationale for including a gender perspective:
“War also reinforces and exploits gender stereotypes and exacerbates, even encourages, violence against women. Changing these circumstances, devising a peace system, and bringing forth a culture of peace requires an authentic partnership between men and women. Such a system would take fully into account the potential and actual roles of women in public policy and peace-making as advocated in UNESCO’s Statement on Women’s Contribution to a Culture of Peace. Such participation would indicate an authentic partnership, based on the equality of the partners. Equality between men and women is an essential condition of a culture of peace. Thus education for gender equality is an essential component of education for a culture of peace.”
Reardon, B. A. (2001). Education for a Culture of Peace in a Gender Perspective. UNESCO.
The overall goal of this Study Unit on education for a culture of peace in a gender perspective is to assist teachers in their efforts to educate ‘caring and responsible citizens, open to other cultures, able to appreciate the value of freedom, respectful of human dignity and differences, and able to prevent conflicts or resolve them by non-violent means’ (Declaration and Integrated Framework of Action on Education for Peace, Human Rights and Democracy, UNESCO, 1995). As a training manual, it is primarily directed towards pre-service and in-service preparation of teachers in upper secondary schools, but may also be used at other levels of the formal school system as well as in non-formal education. We hope that the examples used by teachers and the interaction in the classroom will contribute to the broadening of the socio-cultural context, which is beyond the possibility of this manual.
UNESCO is proud to be the first to present an educational tool for the transformation towards a culture of peace that fully integrates a gender perspective. We hope that the manual will be broadly used and contribute to the development of skills and competences in non-violent and gender-responsive conflict resolution and peacebuilding throughout the Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001–10) and beyond. Indeed, the strategy for the Decade includes two main aspects: first, educating for a culture of peace and second, strengthening the global movement for a culture of peace.
Like the International Year for a Culture of Peace (2000), the International Decade has as its basis the United Nations Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 1999. Equality between women and men is one of the eight domains for action highlighted in the Programme of Action. Consequently, we would hope that the use of this Study Unit would be an important step in the implementation of the Programme of Action. This training manual is also developed in order to help implement the Beijing Platform for Action (1995), notably Strategic Objective E.4: Promote women’s contribution to fostering a culture of peace, as well as Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (2000).
The Director-General of UNESCO, Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura, has stated in the report of the conference on Higher Education for Peace, Tromso, Norway, May 2000: ‘UNESCO believes that the principal challenge facing peace education is that of ensuring justice in everyday life as a guarantee for a sufficiently broad basis for democracy. Education, both formal and informal – in schools and in the family, through mass media and social institutions – is the most important process by which we can promote the values, attitudes and behavioral patterns that are consistent with a culture of peace.’
This manual was elaborated by Dr Betty A. Reardon (Teachers College, Columbia University, New York/International Peace Research Association (IPRA)) in co-operation with the Women and a Culture of Peace Programme, Social and Human Sciences Sector and the Division for the Promotion of Quality Education, Education Sector as well as with the support of the Division for Women, Youth and Special Strategies, Bureau of Strategic Planning, UNESCO, notably through its director, Ms Breda Pavlic.
UNESCO would sincerely like to thank Dr Reardon both for her unfailing commitment to the goals of this organization and her intellectual and moral contribution to its work.
Finally, we see this manual as dynamic in the sense that it is expected to evolve and develop through a continuing dialogue with its users. We therefore encourage you to transmit to us constructive comments and feedback that will be considered for integration in future editions
INGEBORG BREINES, Director
Women and a Culture of Peace Programme
KAISA SAVOLAINEN, Director a.i
Division for the Promotion of Quality Education