discuss their role in conflict resolution.
women, caught between a war and the hopelessness of poverty
Yet on International Women's Day Saturday, the Afghan educator
will not ask the world to help Afghan women. Instead, she will ask
Afghan women to help the world.
In a time of growing conflict around the world, she believes the
wisdom and compassion of women can offer a way out. "Women
bring tolerance and patience," she says. "Women can bring
solutions – we cannot accomplish that with weapons."
She is one of several hundred prominent female leaders from 45
countries who have come to India this week to seek ways to raise
women's voices worldwide, hoping that their ideas – so often
ignored – begin to move the world away from war.
It is a unique approach to International Women's Day – and
intentionally so, says Dena Merriam, who has organized "Making
Way for the Feminine," a five-day conference that began Thursday
"This is not about empowering women," says Ms. Merriam, who
also co-chaired the United Nations' Millennium World Peace
Summit in 2000. "It is about how women can transform society to
help us find new ways of addressing conflict."
There are men here, too. The goal, participants say, is not to
antagonize men. Yet each believes that women bring to the issue
of conflict resolution a different perspective. Many liken it to that
of a mother, stern but caring, and more open to finding alternatives
That perspective is sorely needed, they say, as the path of power
and aggression has led only to more fighting and division. "The
feminine gifts of compassion, empathy, and caring prepare women
for the urgent role as leaders and reconcilers," said the Rev. Joan
Brown Campbell, chairwoman of the Global Peace Initiative for Women,