Mrs. Anuradha Koirala Speaks About Women Leadership at GPLC 2012 in Seoul

Global Peace Foundation
August 11, 2012
Global Peace Leadership Conference
August 11-14, 2012
Seoul, Korea
Theme: “The Future Vision of a Unified Korean Peninsula, and Building a World of Peace”

Anuradha Koirala addresses the audience during the Global Peace Women Session in Seoul, Korea.

Distinguished personalities, ladies and gentlemen— I am immensely pleased to find myself before you, sharing a few words today. I took this opportunity to shed light on gender issues and women’s role in building peace and institutions that is in harmony in a conflict ridden world.

Women are the bringer of life. They bring children into existence and are the bringers of tranquility and harmony. Giving birth to a new life is probably the most profound attribute of a woman. She is the creator of the creators, master of the masters, and maker of the makers. Women have brought peace to strife to troubled lands and have been true fountainheads.

There have been some extraordinary, outstanding women in the history of humankind who have put untiring compassion and resilience for the betterment of the people. There are examples of numerous such women who lived an altruistic life, a life of selflessness in order to raise the lives of thousands. Women have therefore contributed significantly for the betterment of the helpless, poor, and needy.

But what is the activity for us in a definitely and dominantly hatred filled country like ours? There are certain societal expectations we have to live with. Rather than living with our lives with grace and liberty, we cannot decide for ourselves. Then, who decides for us? What we women don’t like is more important than what we do. We get raped, it is our fault. We get beaten, we must have proved it. If we raise our voices, we are nagging, and we invoke injustice, we are prudes. We are aggressive and demanding if we stand up for our rights, and if we don’t, we are submissive. If we want to get married, we are like cattle to a man. If we don’t, then we are unnatural. If you do not want children, we are made to feel guilty. This is the unfortunate situation of our country.

I would like to bring into everyone’s attention that there are some powerful women leaders who have contributed outstandingly by power. By power, I do not mean an outstanding supremacy, money, or fame, but power is rather reflects on authority, devotion, and fidelity. There are some arrogant leaders who lead arrogantly, while there are some compassionate leaders who lead with much thoughtfulness and agency. But many leaders tend to comprise the latter quality much more in that their counterparts, and that is why they make excellent leaders who are vicious, ferocious, and at, and at the same time, compassionate.

Social science researches indicate that women generally are collaborative than men, and thus that inclines us towards consciousness and compromise. Also, let me take the opportunity of presenting a a kind of a study, a study findings that says about women leadership. The study revealed that women leaders are more persuasive than their male counterparts. Women leaders demonstrate an inclusive team-building leadership style of problem-solving and decision-making, and they are more likely to ignore rules and take risks.

Mother Teresa is among the most fascinating and highly respected women of the 20th century. She was a woman who saved lives and changed them through the sheer force of her faith and determination. Dedicating her life to helping the poor, the sick, and the dying around the world, she worked selflessly with the needy and the government. Mother Teresa was an exceptional leader who exhibited charisma and had the ability to inspire the members of her order to transcend their own self-interests to achieve the vision. She is an ultimate example of transformational leadership, moral for helping others aspire to and to attain high levels of performance for themselves. They have been competent, brilliant, and enormously popular in the leaders.

Now, coming to conflict settlement and peace-building, it has mostly been a man affair, and women have been widely sidelined. In many countries, however, women are actively and successfully involved in peace-building, but could not mention their leadership role in the norm camp. Women can definitely act as drivers for peace in order to prevent outbreaks of riling conflicts. There are incidents that women have experienced when engaging for peace. Women must be supported as leaders and provided legitimacy through their voice.

A question did come up on how will women’s leadership make a difference in peace-building? The simplest answer to this question is that women leadership will address women’s concern in peace-building efforts. Peace-building is not just a matter of posterity. It is more building structures and institution that will sustain peace. We need to address the root cause of conflict. Poverty, exploitation, injustice, violence, etc. are some of the factors that feed conflict.

Women comprise of half of the world’s population. However, most of the peace-building efforts do not properly address women’s concern. We imagine long-lasting peace without addressing the discrimination, violence and exploitation faced by women. If we are not addressing the concerns of women, we are not building peace, but we are temporarily pausing or stagnating, which may reemerge in a different form.

In order to address concerns of women for long lasting peace, women’s leadership is vital. Several evidences suggest that women should have a greater stakes in peace-building efforts. We have observed throughout the world that the people most affected by conflict are the women. During conflict, many women have had the overall responsibility of looking after their home and children. Some women are forced to directly participate in the conflict because of certain social and economic factors. Most of the war crimes of rape and other forms of violence are directed towards women during conflict. Hence women are more interested in peace-building efforts. Such efforts will be successful if women take the lead.

Maiti Nepal has been fighting tooth and nail in minimizing the gravity of human trafficking, forbidden in. Nepali society. Besides working on trafficking issues, Maiti Nepal has be consolidating its efforts in eliminating the intensity of domestic violence in Nepal. And thereby setting a strong foundation for remodeling the society with peace and harmony. Maiti Nepal addresses the issues that are the root causes of conflict. Maiti Nepal has rescued more than 18,000 girls from grievous sexual captivity and prosecuted about 700 criminals. About 40% of Nepal’s population has been made aware of the human rights issues through awareness raising activities, radio and television. Maiti Nepal intends to create a society which is just, peaceful and harmonious. All its endeavors have been globally applauded.

In the most post-conflict scenario, the challenges are even more atrocious. The pre-existing social systems have been dismantled and new social shelters have not been properly instituted right. In this critical state of transition, women involved in peace-building are even more significant. Nepal is a big trafficking society and this is the predominant factor of subordination of humans. Right from the early age, a girl is forced to become submissive to society. The conflict continues and never in life is she allowed to make a decision for herself. The son is considered much more valued within our society much more than a daughter, wife or a mother. This is very unfortunate and this is the primary reason behind females being subjected to, exploitative to conditions. Because of this scandalous reality, females have to undergo one after another a series of exploitation, and trafficking is one of them.

An initiative to address this kind was necessary. A necessity of a leader was there. I am not a leader, but I am a follower in this process of battling against trafficking. And fortunately, there are people who have been giving me their shoulder  to fight against this vicious crime.

My venture to bring in peace and harmony among the social life of people by the saving and valuing the lives of our Nepali children, and girls from those hawk eyes, continues and it is my unstoppable journey. The role of a woman leader is to ensure that no child lives with the fear of being beaten up; no girls have to live with fear of being raped or sexually abused; no women have to undergo a series of torment, torture. Everyone should be able to live in a society free of horror, theft or fights.

A woman leader possesses the endurance to uphold the strength of the cause she is supporting. There is a pressing need to eradicate social immorality. Women have the power to endure and through potential efforts, a lot can be done to flourish peace and harmony. When the people feel safe in the place they are living and when there are no terrorizations of being trafficked, tortured or tormented, it is then when a woman has actually become a true leader.  I believe that women leadership can bring in changes, especially in the lives of thousands of women as they have the power to relate their grief and sorrow. A woman can help in creating a peaceful and harmonious society which is free of dishonor, disrespect and disgrace towards a woman.

I am positive that the change will come soon if we take a little time, but of course we need to keep fighting, keep struggling and keep moving. With this I conclude with a note that a successful peace-building of the world will address concerns of the harm of the population of the world. It will be possible only through women’s leadership. I would also like to repeat that women should have a greater stake in peace-building because they are the ones who are mostly affected by conflict. Thank you for your time and patience.

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