1 December 2016, New Delhi – The first historic resolution on Women, Peace and Security, Security Council Resolution 1325 (SCR 1325), was unanimously adopted by United Nations Security Council on 31 October 2000. UNSCR 1325 marked the first time ever in history of United Nations that the UN Security Council addressed the impact of armed conflict on women and strongly upheld the important contribution of women to conflict prevention, peacekeeping, conflict resolution, and peace-building. It also highlighted the importance of women in decision-making processes.
Women make up 48.5% of India’s population. Yet, their presence in key decision-making positions—be it governance, law enforcement or corporate leadership—is far from proportionate. That was discussed at the book launch event of Control Arms Foundation of India, held at India International Centre in New Delhi on 30th November 2016. Launching the book, Ms Friederike Tschampa, head of Political Section, Delegation of European Union to India, said that this book is a contribution to the implementation of the United Nations Resolutions in the agenda on Women, Peace and Security which is a landmark resolution.
She was speaking at the inaugural session of book release, titled “Where are our Women in Decision Making? Seminal Studies on United Nations Landmark Security Council Resolution 1325 Women, Peace and Security with focus on Northeast India with mentions of Bangladesh and Myanmar”. She also stated “concerned about the impact of armed conflict on women not only of a victims perspective but we also need to call for the participation of women and the full integration of gender equality in prevention, management and resolution of armed conflicts and would like to see women as actors and contributors in peace, security and development”.
Ms Binalakshmi Nepram, Founder, Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network and Secretary General, Control Arms Foundation of India, emphasised that women of the Northeast India are separated by ethnicity, community, region and religion but they are all suffering from the same problem of double discrimination of ethnicity and gender. She also mentioned that there are 17 ongoing peace talks with Indian government over the region but no woman has been included.
“This book is a question on why women are absent in decision making and moreover it also provides solutions and resolutions to ensure gender justice in our country and the world”, she further mentioned.
Dr Anuradha Chenoy, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, stated that women across these regions face discriminations on three identities – religion, ethnicity and gender and beyond that region, the face oppression of race, region and the patriarchal structure. Sharing her experience and learning Dr. Chenoy said, “We should salute the kind of courage these women have had because they have fought not only against the armed forces, the might of the state, the biases in life they face but also against their own community and partners”.
Ms Nivedita Varshneya, Country Director, Welthungerhilfe India, said that this book launch is a testament to CAFI’s ability to draw from a diverse pool of persons dedicated to peace building and are inherently invested in an inclusive and sustainable dialogue. This pressing need for a National action Plan with women playing an active role in peace building processes in the region will be analyzed and articulated by this gathering of strong women leaders and researchers.
The launch was also followed by a panel discussion for sharing key learning of 3 years of consultations, community meetings and research all across 8 states of Northeast India.
This book shares new insights, testimonies and “lessons learned” from the extensive research on status of women in decision making in South Asia especially in India’s Northeast region with mentions of Bangladesh and Myanmar. The book contains 15 chapters and 10 Annexes. Broadly, there are three chapters in total which deal with a comprehensive analysis of the status of women in whole of South Asia for setting the context of the book.
- India is currently in the 108th position out of 145 countries in the Global Gender Gap Index and at 130th position in the Human Development Index (HDI).
- India has 24 million child brides, the highest number in the world. A bride in India comes with a price even if the law prohibits dowry, independent India continues to see the tragic prevalence of dowry.
- Every 22 minutes a woman, girl child and an infant is raped and there are over officially recorded 100,000 pending rape cases in the country.
- Two-thirds of illiterate in India are women and girls.
Women work-force in Indian economy decreased from 35% to 25%.
- In Myanmar, there are only 28 women members out of 580 current members of the national assembly and only two women among the 36 members of President’s cabinet.
- In Bangladesh, 74% of women were married before the age of 18.
- 4,563 dowry related cases in were reported in Bangladesh in the year 2012 and 60 per cent of married women reported that they have experienced violence at the hands of a spouse and/or in-laws.
- Acid attacks are prevalent in Bangladesh with 58 women and 20 girls being the main victims in the year 2012.
The event was attended by government officials, academicians, journalists, researchers and civil society representatives.