Ms Ann Linde
By Busayo Onijala
Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms Ann Linde, says Sweden is committed to promoting women, peace and security agenda and showcasing gender responsive leadership to the best of its ability.
Linde made this known on Wednesday in her remarks during a symposium jointly organised by the International Peace Institute (IPI), the Government of Sweden, and Sasakawa Peace Foundation.
The hybrid symposium, themed: “Achieving Sustainable Peace and Security through Gender Responsive Leadership” focused on good practices, challenges, and opportunities around gender-responsive leadership.
It also focused on how leaders have incorporated the concept into their daily work to advance gender-equal peace and security.
According to Linde, all leaders have a responsibility to be gender responsive in their leadership.
She said this meant that those in executive or management positions should work towards gender equality, both internally and within workplaces when carrying out their organisations’ external work.
“In my view, one of the main reasons why the implementation of the women peace and security agenda remains inconsistent and underfunded is the lack of leadership.
“This involves leading by example, setting priorities and targets, communicating clearly and convincingly managing staff resources and operations and holding yourself and others to account of being gender responsive,” she said.
She added that in all situations of conflict and humanitarian crises, women and girls are among those affected the most.
This, she said is why the women, peace and security agenda is important and more relevant than ever.
Ms Yōko Kamikawa, Member, Japan’s House of Representatives, said it was more important for all leaders, women and men to take action for gender equality.
“As leaders, we can change organisations we find ourselves in to become more gender perspective organizations.
“By leading by example, more women may aspire to become the next generation of leaders and what I have learned over 22 years of my political career is that whether it is in a global or domestic context, it is most important to listen to the people.
“When we try to reach multiple stakeholders, including grassroots women’s group, though it requires efforts, the outcome will have a sustainable impact,” she said.
On her part, Ms Kaavya Asoka, Executive Director, NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security said women’s human rights is often undermined and sidelined in conflicts and crises around the world in favor of political considerations.
According to her, the main obstacle to furthering the WPS agenda is the lack of political will.
She noted that feminist leadership meant being outspoken advocates on issues affecting women, especially when there is a political cost to doing so.
“The goal should not only be to have processes, resources and institutions in place, but to have a meaningful impact on the lives of women girls and marginalised groups on the ground,” she said. (NAN)
Edited by Julius Toba-Jegede