GENDER AND PEACEBUILDING

ROTARY DISTRICT 5440 PEACEBUILDER NEWSLETTER, NOVEMBER 2019, NUMBER 27

William M. Timpson, Bob Meroney, Lloyd Thomas, Del Benson, Sharyn and Larry Salmen, Fort Collins Rotary Club

Lindsey Pointer, 2017 Rotary Global Grant Scholarship Recipient

In these newsletters of the Rotary District Peacebuilders, we want to invite readers for contributions and ideas, suggestions and possibilities for our efforts to promote the foundational skills for promoting peace, i.e., nonviolent conflict resolution, improved communication and cooperation, successful negotiation and mediation as well as the critical and creative thinking that can help communities move through obstacles and difficulties. See the end of this newsletter for more details about this project and the authors.

QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED AND AN IMPORTANT ROLE ACKNOWLEDGED 

Robert N. Meroney, Ph.D. is a Rotarian and an Emeritus Professor of Fluid Mechanics and Wind Engineering with a long career at Colorado State University.

When one looks for the key to peace building, it is important to search for every available resource and talent among mankind.  Hence, the questions arise:

  • Do women have a special perspective, motivation, or insight to bring to the peace building process?
  • What unique ways have women contributed to peace building?
  • Are there successes in peace building directly attributable to women initiatives or perspectives?
  • What has been women representation among World Nations, National, and Social Issues?

I have been reading about early women peace advocates going back into the 1800s.  These women were all about action, and some were prepared to risk scorn, humiliation, ridicule, and hate to stand up for their principles.

One woman who stood out was Jane Addams (1860-1935) who was active in women’s suffrage, was a settlement activist (founder of Chicago’s Hull House, and an advocate of world peace.[1]  She was the first woman to receive an honorary Master of Arts from Yale University, was co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.

Like Mark Twain she opposed the Spanish American War, fought against the annexation of the Philippines, and became the national chairman of the Woman’s Peace Party in 1915, presided over the International Congress of Women in the Hauge in 1915 and later become the head of a commission to end World War I.  She was also president of the International Committee of Women for a Permanent Peace, which eventually become the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).  In 1917 she became a member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation USA.  When she refused to back down on her criticism of World War I she was often denounced as a traitor and unpatriotic.  She was accused of being a radical, Communist influenced, and unfeminine. But her refusal to be cowed was eventually rewarded by the Nobel Prize, and she gave her share of the award to the WILPF.

When the Norwegian Nobel Committee finally acknowledged the work of Jane Addams, she was ill and unable to go to the ceremony or present a Nobel lecture.  Indeed, on the day of the award, she was admitted to a Baltimore hospital, and after 4 years of failing health died.  Strangely, her co-recipient in 1931 was Nicholas Murray Butler, who had strongly denounced those, like Addams, who had opposed the first world war.

But Professor Halvdan Koht,[2] who gave the presentation speech for Addams, remarked “She held fast to the ideal of peace even during the difficult hours when other considerations and interests obscured it from her compatriots and drove them into conflict.” “Even when her views were at odds with public opinion, she never gave in, and in the end, she regained the place of honors she had had before in the hearts of her people.”   Koht spoke of how women represent “the highest and purest moral standards of society,” acknowledged the special role of women peacemakers whose had “that love, that warm maternal feeling which renders murder and war so hateful to every woman.” “Jane Addams combines all the best feminine qualities which will help us to develop peace on earth.”

Walter Lippman sad “she was not only good, but great”.[3]

Sadly, the work of heroic women have often gone unacknowledged in the rush to honor male leaders in an admittedly male chauvinistic world.  Even the Nobel Peace Prize Chairman, Jörgen Lövland, when referring to activists of the peace movement in 1904 spoke of “the men who had done this work.”[4]  Out of 107 individuals awarded the peace prize since 1901, 17 to date have been awarded to women.  But the youngest Nobel Prize Laureate was female, Malala Yousafzai, who was 17 years old when awarded the 2014 Peace Prize.

We can only acknowledge and praise the leadership of such women.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE AND PREPARED TO SERVE: WOMEN AND WARFARE

Tracey Emslie is a retired journalist with an MFA in Creative nonfiction from Goucher College and a long-time Rotarian.

 Some twenty years ago, two of my male relatives were discussing the then hot issue of whether or not women should be “allowed” to participate in combat.  I listened without comment as each agreed with every point the other raised. Their confident conclusion at the end of a very long hour was that physical, social and psychological factors made the answer a patent, “Of course not.”  At that point, I asked them if they would be interested in what an actual woman had to say on that.  They honest-to-gosh chuckled.  I paused.

“All other things being equal, you could not force me to pull a trigger on another woman’s husband or son.” They nodded, visibly pleased at this verification of their view of traditional female roles. “But threaten my children and I would mow down scores without a qualm.” They stared at me. “Put women in charge of defense. End of problem.”

The upper body strength necessary to wield a sword or longbow has been unnecessary for military victory for centuries.  Nor do we send massed lines of men bearing muskets charging at each other like two rams about to clash their skulls together.  The most important factor in modern military leadership is the ability to develop, coordinate, and implement cutting-edge technology in unexpected, preferably invisible, and hopefully beneficial ways.

The Air Force graduated its first class of “Multi-Domain Warfare Officers” on October 9th.  Embracing Isaac Asimov’s theory that violence is the last refuge of the incompetent, these twenty-seven creative, highly intelligent individuals integrate land, air, sea, underwater, space, and cyber technologies to coordinate unorthodox solutions to extreme problems; ideally, without blowing anything up.

The highest score in the class was earned by a young woman.

 

WOMEN IN THE PEACE MOVEMENT IN NORTHERN IRELAND DURING THE TROUBLES

Sharyn H. Salmen has been a health care consultant. Larry Salmen has helped support business success with technology and systems integration. The following is an excerpt of a longer essay. you can read by contacting Sharyn Salmen (ssalmen@q.com). She and her husband, Larry Salmen (lsalmen@q.com), are both long-time Rotarians.

Two women peace activists in Northern Ireland helped lead a grassroots effort at a peaceful resolution of the “Troubles,” the bloody period that was sparked in 1972 when British troops fired on civilians marching for civil rights and did not end until 1998 when the Good Friday Agreement was signed. This movement disproved the popular assessment that the violence here was “intractable” and beyond resolution given the legacy of British colonization and subjugation, the four plus centuries of oppressive controls, humiliation and violent suppression of native Catholic dissent. These women essentially pronounced to the men and to the world, “Boys, your 400 years of bombs and bullets have not worked to bring peace. We need a new inclusive and nonviolent way forward that will get us past this historic but constructed Catholic and Protestant divide. Continued violence will only deepen those wounds.”

Mairead Corrigan Maguire and Betty Williams were awarded 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for their contributions toward building a popular peace movement. Maguire had three nieces die when an alleged IRA combatant was shot and killed by police in Belfast and his car had swerved into a crowded sidewalk. Maguire declared then and there that her “ordinary life” was over and that she would from then on be completely dedicated to an effort to change the future direction of Northern Ireland.

Betty Williams happened to see this tragedy. She herself is the child of a mixed marriage—her father, a butcher, was a Protestant and her mother, a housewife, was Catholic. She remained committed to the possibilities of building effective interfaith coalitions. Together they defied history and helped forge a new way forward that would stand forever as a beacon of possibility for every community that has struggled with conflict and violence.

Together with others, these two women helped organize and lead weekly marches to “liberate” public parks for all citizens to enjoy, regardless of their religious affiliation or cultural background. Although those first Sunday marches of Catholics and Protestants, mostly women, were small, the word spread and their numbers grew as the media took notice of the anger that some residents hurled at them for daring to “invade” their neighborhoods.  Maguire and Williams and their allies had the audacity to want to reclaim public spaces long segregated by religious background, social class and political allegiances. For her part, Maguire always remained convinced that the most effective way to end the violence was not through violence but through re-education.  Later, she and her allies in would adopt a more global agenda, addressing an array of social and political issues from around the world.

Maguire’s philosophy

In a speech at Santa Clara University, Maguire spoke about Gandhi’s contributions to peace and its call for activism. In fact, he called it a daring, creative and courageous way of living, a hope for the future. Gandhi rejected violence in favor of love and truth, dialogue and reconciliation. As a pacifist herself, insisted that violence is never justified and there are always alternatives to force and threat of force. In keeping with these beliefs and values, she has also called for the abolition of all armies and the establishment of a multi-national community of unarmed peacekeepers in their stead.

In her 2010 book, The Vision of Peace: Faith and Hope in Northern Ireland, she draws on essays and letters to discuss the connections between her political activities and her faith. “Hope for the future depends on each of us taking non-violence into our hearts and minds and developing new and imaginative structures which are non-violent and life-giving for all… Some people will argue that this is too idealistic. I believe it is very realistic… We can rejoice and celebrate today because we are living in a miraculous time. Everything is changing and everything is possible.”

 LEARN ABOUT THE PEACE PILGRIM (1908-1981)

 William M. Timpson, Ph.D. is a professor at Colorado State University in its School of Education and a member of the Fort Collins Rotary Club. What follows is adapted from his 2009 book, 147 Tips for Teaching Peace and Reconciliation, co-authored with an international group of peace scholars that included Ed Brantmeier, Nat Kees, Tom Cavanagh, Claire McGlynn and Elavie Ndura (Madison, WI: Atwood).

“So often in our educational systems, the canon of women’s history has to be recovered by each new generation of scholars. Nathalie Kees insists that this has “definitely been true for me as I have searched for female role models of peace. I have only recently been introduced to one of the founding mothers of the peace movement, Peace Pilgrim. Born Mildred Norman on July 18, 1908, she took the name Peace Pilgrim in her mid-forties.

After many years of physical, spiritual, and emotional preparation, she began walking across the United States in 1953, without possessions or money, ‘until mankind learns the way of peace.’ From 1953 until her death in 1981, she walked across the United States seven times on pilgrimages for peace. She chose not to eat until food was offered to her or sleep until shelter was provided. Her message was simple, ‘Here is the way of peace: Overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love’” (Peace Pilgrim, Steps Toward Inner Peace).

“Peace Pilgrim’s writings have been maintained by the “Friends of Peace Pilgrim” and are available free of charge from this group. A documentary of her life entitled, Peace Pilgrim: An American Sage Who Walked Her Talk, provides an excellent 60-minute introduction to her life and work and is also available, along with other videos and books of her life’s work, from the Friends of Peace Pilgrim, P.O Box 2207, Shelton, CT 06484, (203) 926-1581, or at http://www.peacepilgrim.org.  “After viewing these materials, reflect on the following: What world events happened during Peace Pilgrim’s formative years between 1908 and 1953 that influenced her decision to walk for peace? What kinds of physical, spiritual, and emotional preparations did it take for her to get ready to walk?

“One decision Peace Pilgrim made was to completely balance her needs and wants. She believed there was nothing she needed that she didn’t have and that you couldn’t give her anything she didn’t need. If you gave her anything, even something as small as a postage stamp, that she didn’t need, she felt that it would be a burden to her. She decided to ‘live simply so that others could simply live.’ Ask yourself: How balanced are the wants and needs of your life? How do our choices affect the lives of others in the world? How is everyone interconnected? Although Peace Pilgrim’s life may seem extraordinary, she considered herself a very ordinary person. How might her actions inspire you (32-33)?” 

NATURE AND NURTURE: FEMALE AND INCLUSIVE ROLES IN PROMOTING CIVILITY AND PEACE

Del Benson, Ph.D. Dr. Benson is Professor at Colorado State University.  He learned about management of people and nature in Canada, Africa, Australia, Europe, South America, and the US now offering 6 Online graduate courses about policy, communications, management, and sustainability.

I am afraid of losing my head to discuss gender and peace from my role of linking nature to human nurturing processes of living civilly together; however, I accept challenges. Female black widow spiders and praying mantis are known for biting off heads and consuming males after copulation. Those are very poor negotiating skills, but they foster female genetic “leadership.”

Female nurturing, wisdom, and training are found in elk and elephant groups, dogs and cats closer to us, and with primate and people populations. Most persons were raised and taught at home by females who possess unique roles with gestation (making us), parturition (delivering us), nutrition (feeding us) and to a major extent, negotiation (helping us to navigate within family, friends, and society). Our teachers in early grades were mostly females, then numbers trended towards more men later.

It is easy to find example of women who made big impacts on science, health, animals, and civility:

·      Madame Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and two prizes in fields of physics and chemistry (https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/physics/1903/marie-curie/biographical/),

·      Rachel Carson exposed impact of chemicals on US environments, wrote “Silent Spring” to inform us, and fostered environment movements of the 1960s: (https://www.rachelcarson.org/),

·      Jane Goodall studied and wrote about chimpanzees and encouraged lower impact tourism in Africa (https://www.biography.com/scientist/jane-goodall), and

·      Nadia Murad was the last woman to win The Nobel Peace Prize, 2018 along with a man, “for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict” (https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/2018/summary/).

The last example is a good reason to not isolate women’s accomplishments.  Men contribute also.  The goal should be gender inclusive dialog and civil actions.  Women should be at tables of deliberation sharing their contributions.  In some fields female representation is excellent, in others it is not. University training in the sciences, including my fields of natural resources, had prominent women leaders historically and currently, but initially few females entered and stayed in the profession. Now females are about half of university classes, do very well, but still represent fewer than expected roles in advanced positions of leadership.

Why do women slip away or why are they less represented as leaders in some fields? I’ve worked with many successful women of leadership and negotiation in my professions, yet stereotypes exist about women’s abilities to negotiate  (https://www.negotiations.com/articles/gender-interaction/).   Each gender has limitations and can learn to be better at civil discourse and interactions. The Rotary Leadership Institute training that I participated in this weekend was for men and women.  We were treated equally with empathy for the needs of both genders.  That is true leadership. Unlike nature and animals, humans can get preemptive help to become better leaders, followers, negotiators, builders of civil discourse and just outcomes, peaceful interactions, and better nurturers.

EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN IN RESTORATIVE JUSTICE

Lindsey Pointer is a PhD Candidate in Restorative Justice at Victoria University of Wellington and is a past recipient of the Rotary Global Grant Scholarship. She works as a restorative justice facilitator, trainer and researcher.

Working in the Restorative Justice field, I am often surrounded by incredible women peacemakers. While I have also worked with some highly-skilled male facilitators, women far outnumber men in the restorative justice field, so as a result, the majority of my colleagues, mentors, and bosses have been women. I feel very fortunate to have so many female role models in my work and I have learned so much from their restorative approach to leadership. I would like to highlight the leadership approach of one of these women in particular, my boss when I worked at Longmont Community Justice Partnership from 2014-2015, Kathleen McGoey. Here are a few of the lessons I learned from Kathleen’s restorative management approach.

Lesson one: Always make time for relationships.

My first interview with Kathleen was from the living room of my apartment in China. It was 4am for me and I was equal parts excited and nervous. Kathleen asked all of the questions she needed to ask (about my prior experience, testing my Spanish proficiency, assessing my understanding of restorative justice), but still we spent nearly half of the interview laughing about the challenges of living abroad, how much I missed cheese, and what I would be eating when I got back to the US. This pattern continued through every meeting we ever had. The work always got done and done well, but plenty of time was made to laugh together, to check in about our lives, and offer support. Every meeting with the whole staff began with a connection circle in which each staff member answered a relationship-building question. The staff takes turns facilitating those circles.

Above all else, restorative practices prioritize the building and maintaining of relationships. We all have a want and a need to feel belonging and the only way to accomplish that is through opportunities for genuine connection. Furthermore, positive interpersonal relationships are a major influence on behavior. Research has shown that when we feel connected, heard, and appreciated at work, productivity increases. It is always worth the time to spend fifteen minutes laughing about cheese before you get down to business.

Lesson two: See and encourage individual passions.

Restorative practices place a great deal of emphasis on being strengths-based. This means identifying and supporting an individual’s assets: the positive passions, skills, interests, and connections that make him/her unique.

In any job, there are certain tasks that must be done, but beyond those tasks, there is normally some flexibility. So much of workplace satisfaction comes from giving individuals the opportunity to use their unique skills and pursue their passions through their job. In my case, this looked like Kathleen assigning me training development tasks and helping me to become a better trainer through feedback, encouragement, and new opportunities. I spent extra time in conferences both as a facilitator and community member and wrote case studies and proposals for us to present at conferences. These extra pieces often spilled into evenings and weekends, but ultimately fueled my enthusiasm and energy for the rest of the work.

Lesson three: Establish a productive way for staff to deal with conflict and remain open to feedback.

Within the toolbox of restorative practices is a conversation model called the restorative conversation. This is a way of addressing one-on-one conflict that focusses on the impacts and what can be done to make things right moving forward. As an organization, we trained volunteers in this method so that they would have a restorative way to resolves disputes among themselves over unreturned phone calls or differences in facilitation styles. The restorative conversation is also encouraged as a way for staff to deal with conflict and all members of the staff are training in the model.

During the first training that Kathleen and I delivered as co-trainers, I was thrown off when she introduced herself as the lead trainer because it didn’t fit with the training dynamic we had discussed before. I have always been shy and soft-spoken so I work hard to establish myself as a confident leader at the beginning of trainings and presentations. When it was my turn to introduce myself next, I felt out of the flow. The training went well, but still, throughout the weekend the introduction was sitting heavily with me. When Kathleen and I sat down the following week to debrief the training, I brought it up. I asked her permission to share something from the training that was sitting heavily with me and explained the introduction. I shared how much I enjoyed training together and how excited I was to be moving into the role and I also shared how I had been impacted by the introduction, how it had confused me and shaken my confidence. Kathleen listened attentively and showed that she heard me. She explained the thoughts that had been going through her head at the beginning of the training and the nervousness she had experienced. Together, we formed a plan for how introductions would happen the next time we trained together and she followed through. After the next training we ran together, she made time to check in with me to see if the introductions felt good. Because we had a tool for dealing with conflict, I didn’t have to let the feeling fester, we were able to hear each other and form and commit to a plan to make things better.

Lesson four: Listen and show you are listening.

About a month before Christmas, Kathleen facilitated the connection circle at our regular staff meeting and asked the question “How do you like to be appreciated?” One staff member mentioned that she likes to be included in things, in making plans. Another said she just likes to hear a genuine, heart-felt thank you. I said that I am very verbal, so I like to hear that I am appreciated. I shared that I still had a voicemail that Kathleen had sent me after a busy week, saying she appreciated all of my hard work, saved on my phone so that I could listed to it from time to time. I thought it was a great connection circle question, but didn’t think much more about it until Christmas came around a few weeks later. When each of us opened our present from Kathleen, we found a message of appreciation in the way we had said we most liked to receive it. In my case, I opened a small box to find a note that said “Check your email.” When I checked my email, there was a voicemail from Kathleen sharing how much she appreciated me!

Active listening is a pillar of restorative practices. Facilitators are taught to show that they are listening in the moment through eye contact, body language, questions, and reflective statements. Real listening though, goes beyond the moment.

Lesson five: Create experiences of connection and appreciation. 

On my last day of work before moving to New Zealand, the staff was all together doing a New Year’s purge and cleaning of the house. At the end of the day, Kathleen gathered us together for a final staff meeting before my departure. She opened the connection circle and invited each person to share a favorite memory of working with me or something they really loved about me. I cried throughout the entire circle hearing the wonderful things everyone had to say. I felt so seen and loved. I also had the opportunity to share my favorite memories and the things I love about each of the people in the circle. All the things that you want to say to the people you are close to, but so often never get the chance to say. As a goodbye gift to me, the team gave me the space to hear and say it all. Reflecting back on that circle, I am more and more struck by how lucky I am to have had that experience. So few people ever really get the chance to feel so seen. And yet, that is what we are all craving: that feeling of being a seen and adored individual within a supportive and interconnected whole. The more that we can learn to create these experiences for each other, the more we will learn to live in peace with one another. Kathleen provides a great model of how a leader can bring the values, the principles, and the tools of restorative practices into our daily lives.

PRIORITIES OF THE ROTARY FOUNDATION

In these newsletters of the Rotary District Peacebuilders, we want to invite readers for contributions and ideas, suggestions and possibilities for our efforts to promote the foundational skills for promoting peace, i.e., nonviolent conflict resolution, improved communication and cooperation, successful negotiation and mediation as well as the critical and creative thinking that can help communities move through obstacles and difficulties. The Rotary Foundation has six priority areas: (1) Peacebuilding and conflict prevention; (2) Fighting disease; (3) Providing clean water; (4) Saving mothers and children; (5) Supporting education; and (6) Growing local economies. It has been argued by staff at Rotary International (RI) that long with promoting peace, “sustainability” is another cross-cutting priority that connects with all the others. RI has directed efforts in these six areas to enhance local and global impact and staff indicate that their most successful and sustainable projects and activities tend to fall within these areas: See the RI website: https://my.rotary.org/en/learning-reference/about-rotary/our-priorities

If you would you like to respond to one of the pieces in this newsletter, check out our blog www.rotarypeacebuilder.com and join the conversation!  If you would like to contribute to a future newsletter, visit www.rotarypeacebuilder.com/submit/. Future issues may explore the following: December–The role of a truth and reconciliation commission as in South Africa; January—Spirituality and Healing; February—Coping with Stress; March—Nuclear Weapons, Use, Probabilities and History.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Jane Addams, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Addams

[2] Professor Halvdan Koht (1873 – 1965) was a Norwegian historian and politician, founding member of the Norwegian Peace Association and a member of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

[3] Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) was an American writer, reporter, and political commentator.  Lippman won two Pulitzer prizes, and is considered by some to be the “Father of Modern Journalism.”

[4] Irwin Abrams (1997),  Heroines of peace – the nine Nobel women, 1901-1992, NobelPrize.org. Nobel Medial AB 2019 13 October 2019. https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/themes/heroines-of-peace-the-nine-nobel-women

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