Women, War, and Peace

Women, War & Peaceis a bold new five-part PBS mini-series, beginning October 11, which challenges the conventional wisdom that war is men’s domain. A co-production of THIRTEEN and Fork Films,Women, War & Peaceplaces women at the center of an urgent dialogue about conflict and security and reframes our understanding of modern warfare. Featuring narrators Matt Damon, Tilda Swinton, Geena Davis and Alfre Woodard, the series reveals how the post-Cold War proliferation of small arms has changed the landscape of war, with women becoming primary targets and suffering unprecedented casualty rates. Simultaneously, they are emerging as necessary partners in brokering lasting peace and as leaders in forging new international laws governing conflict. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/women-war-and-peace/

Letter from Jean Shinoda Bolen, August 2, 2011

Dear Friends and Worldwide Signers of 5WCW petition:

We need a 5WCW resolution introduced at the UN General Assembly Meetings in New York, September 13-30, 2011. While it takes only one ambassador from any country to do this, the best situation in this short time, would be to be for it to be sponsored by three developing countries—one in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and one Scandinavian country. Conversations with UN delegation members, ambassadors and others with influence, have been initiated with a handful of countries that fit this “wish list” by individuals who form a core group of 5WCW advocates. We have a Concept Paper http://5wcw.org/docs/5WCW-ConceptPaper.html that introduces the need and rationale, which can be the basis for the Preamble to the Resolution. The action we ask of the General Assembly is simple: Authorize convening a 5WCW in 2015, and authorize Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (who has been a strong supporter of empowerment and equality for women) to begin a preliminary process similar to that which preceded the Beijing 4WCW. San Francisco is preparing a proposal to be the Host City, New Delhi was mentioned as a potential site, and others may come forth once the General Assembly supports having a 5WCW.

I’ve put together this advocacy version meant to inspire and be informative.

Convening A 5th World Conference On Women (5WCW):
Vision Statement Urging the General Asembly Resolution

“The Fastest Way To Change Society Is To Mobilize The Women of The World.”
Charles Malik, former President of the United Nations General Assembly

“If ever the world sees a time when women shall come together purely and simply for the benefit of mankind, it will be a power such as the world has never known”
Matthew Arnold, 19th Century philosopher

Recalling that the Charter of the United Nations reaffirms the equal rights of men and women.

Recalling the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action of the Fourth World Conference on Women.

Recognizing that the participation of both men and women is essential for the attainment of sustainable peace and security and that the necessity and contribution of women is specifically acknowledged in Security Council Resolutions 1325, 1820.

Noting that two of the Millennium Development Goals specifically address women’s concerns and that empowerment of women is necessary to attain all eight of them.

Noting the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women, which is often described as a bill of rights for women, remains a model for empowerment and equality for women.

Noting that the General Assembly Resolution on the Girl Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, if implemented, are related to the empowerment and equality for women.

Noting recommendations for gender equality and equal participation of women in decisions to do with the environment.

Realizing that the need is to implement these existing UN resolutions and documents rather than create new documents.

Realizing that a UN sponsored conference on women could bring together a global conference of women to share information, best practices, and foster the next generation of women leaders,

Realizing that this would be the first UN World Conference on Women in the 21st Century with the technology to link simultaneous conferences anywhere in the world.

General Assembly Actions to Take for 5WCW

1 Supports convening a 5th World Conference on Women in 2015

2. Urges the Secretary-General to begin an open-ended preliminary process, similar to that which preceded the Beijing 4WCW and to consider any place for the conference site.

3. Calls upon all member states to encourage participation of civil society and government entities concerned with women and girls.


Are you in a position to take action? Here is the webpage for a list of UN member states:http://www.un.org/en/members/ This will take you to the website of every country that belongs to the UN, with the name of the UN ambassador, addresses, photos and more. The 12,000 signers of the 5WCW petition are from all over the world. I think it is possible that a handful of you will realize that there is just one or two degrees of separation between yourselves and a potentially receptive UN ambassador. If you have access to this kind of UN ambassador and believe as I do, that it will take women in sufficient numbers—a critical mass, working with men to create a sustainable, peaceful world, influencing his/her support for a General Assembly 5WCW resolution a will be step in this direction. Tact and diplomacy are necessary. Ambassadors are not elected representatives, they are responsible to who appointed them not to a constituency, even in democracies. To become an informed advocate, go to http://www.5wcw.org for information and documents as a beginning point.

You do not need to get anyone’s permission to be an activist on behalf of 5WCW. It may be yourassignment, if so: 1. It will be meaningful to you; 2. Promises to be fun because it uses your talents, creativity, experience, and involves people with similar values; and 3. Is motivated by love. Where your locus of activism may be depends on who you are—the model is the women’s movement in the USA, where in just a few years, circles of women in consciousness-raising groups became a movement by raising their own consciousness about stereotypes and patriarchy which had limited and oppressed them, and supporting what each woman felt moved to do.

Alice Walker’s book title, Anything We Love, Can Be Saved is a statement that motivates hope in activists, even when a particular effort fails. I could not save the huge Monterey Pine in my front yard from being cut down (decision made by a homeowners association vote), but in the process of trying and failing, I gained a world of information about trees and what they do for the planet and how women, girls and trees are related. It led to writing my latest book, Like a Tree: How Trees, Women, and Tree People Can Save the Planet. The day the book was launched, Earth Day 2011, the Bear was placed on the stump. Now, instead of feeling sad or angry when I look at the stump, I see Bear and smile. Meanwhile the book that grew out of the loss of the tree is out in the world, and for every hardcover sold, a tree will be planted and tended by school children in Togo, West Africa!

Here is a collage of my books. You may not know me as an author or you may have readGoddesses in Everywoman twenty or thirty years ago. Since then, there is Goddesses in Older Women and the rest of them.

Descriptions are on my website and on amazon.com. Enjoy!

With love and hope,

Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD

Beijing Platform for Action +15 in Europe & CIS

Main achievements and challenges in the region

Achievements:  Countries have reported progress in extending and strengthening national mechanisms for the advancement of women including through gender mainstreaming strategies.

Challenges: National mechanisms for gender equality in many countries are understaffed, insufficiently funded and have marginal influence on key policy areas. This problem is particularly acute in the Eastern part of the region of Eastern Europe, South-East Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Effective implementation of gender mainstreaming remains a challenge. For instance, there is still insufficient training and guidance on introducing gender mainstreaming in different government policies . The lack of training undermines  the widespread regional gender mainstreaming strategies included in all areas of public policy. As a part of this discrepancy, there is  relatively little reported on the impact of training on the effectiveness of strategies.

Many countries have put in place gender focal points, special units, or institutes to promote the practice of gender mainstreaming throughout government activities (Azerbaijan, Poland, Uzbekistan).

Gender-responsive budgeting initiatives, a key tool of gender mainstreaming, have been reported by a number of countries (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Republicof Moldova). These initiatives tend to be at the early stages of implementation (issuance of guidelines, training activities).

Extracted from ECE/AC.28/2009/3

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Allies for the Greater Good/Women in Collaboration

Sister Organizations, clockwise from the top center:
Gather the Women Global Matrix, Circle Connections, LightPages, Imagine the Good, Sole2Soul Walk, Women of Spirit and Faith, Spheres Circles,
Standing Women, Women Waking the World, Evolutionary Women, Weaving the World, Ways Women Lead, Millionth Circle.

To see organizational news, click on their links (bold=recent). Collective highlights below.

Allies for the Greater Good

A Collaborative Newsletter… and Exploration of Shared Purpose
If we are one humanity evolving, how can we adjust our thinking and our projects to be more precisely together?


There is a new global culture growing… It is based upon an old/new set of agreements downloaded into the hearts of human beings whenever they are fully present to their innermost essence. It is being woven from a relational fabric of love and trust and slowly becoming visible, networked and evolved through our new information technologies.

Many of us are feeling the apparent chaos and disarray in our society, wondering where and how we might live through this time safely. Yet in almost every field, there is also a detectable undercurrent of newness, a lifeline that can be seen especially when one looks for paradox… traditional profit-oriented companies speaking in environmental language; holistic health modalities arising within orthodox fields of medicine; increasing attention to relationships in banks and government offices; spiritual ideas showing up in business and entertainment; political movements that call for unity. While many changes may still be primarily self-serving, not yet based on an appreciation of the greater good, they do indicate a slow, but steady shift in what is culturally appropriate.

Also visible and still somewhat behind the scenes, a "circle" movement has been maturing, attracting many women to gather in meaningful conversation and community, fostered by our new information technologies. The subject has varied, but the principles invite participants to grow in authenticity, to relate to one another with respect, to honor the whole circle, and to stay connected by phone and Internet. In their circles women have been practicing and networking a new global culture, rich in the traditional ways of many indigenous peoples, peoples who have been called the "Keepers of the Wisdom" for their understanding of how to live in right relationship with all of Life. Out of the re-emergence of indigenous wisdom, out of the women’s circle movement and networking, out of the spiritual growth of many lineages of human thought, a new culture that honors Life and networks Aliveness, is becoming visible in a world deadened by separatist thinking carried to its extreme.

– Jeanie DeRousseau, PhD
With appreciation for conversations with Lucia Rene,www.unplugfromthepatriarchy.com
and Vikki Hanchin, www.wholepersonwholeplanet.com.

[FEEDBACK CALL: Tell us about your circles. What is your news of the new culture?]


  • www.GathertheWomen.org. Inviting you to their annual GTW summer gathering, this year titled "Lighting the World". Register by July 1 to join GTW’s conveners in Racine, Wisconsin, heartland USA, August 18-20. If you are or want to become a circle activist in your part of the world, come meet your sisters, and network your wisdom through GTW…
  • www.CircleConnections.com. Supporting many circle initiatives, and launching telecircles in the near future. Taste the connecting flavor of a telecircle. Listen to their final BlogTalkRadio show of last Monday at www.blogtalkradio/circleconnections. Join their online community to build the field and participate in a new wave of online telecircles…
  • www.ImaginetheGood.com. Inviting you to an intimate experience of women in circle, through their DVD, "The Heart to Lead: Women as Allies for the Greater Good". Use the film to catalyze a circle conversation in your area, and the free Guidebook to Heart-Knowing, to organize a conversation series and build community where you live… FOCAL CIRCLES ARISING
  • Around the Sacred Feminine and women’s spiritual leadership…www.WomenofSpiritandFaith.org, following their recent retreat "The Alchemy of our Spiritual Leadership: Women Redefining Power", are co-creating multiple circle opportunities to exchange wisdom and support. Join their online PeaceNext conversation to participate in the unfolding.
  • Around Living Water…www.waterblessings.org, the Sisters of the Planetary Water Rites invite us to connect to the sacredness of water that supports all of life by creating local ceremonial circles to bless our waters.
  • Around Spiritual Activism… www.ConnectingEpiscopalWomen.org, following their recent retreat, "Episcopal Women Gathering" invite you into a network of circles that foster spiritual leadership to transform the church and the world. Join their LightPages community to become part of the emergence or connect on Facebook! UNITING AS ALLIES
  • Keepers of the Wisdom. Indigenous voices coming forward now to reconcile the wounds of the past and invite all cultures to join hands for the well-being of the earth. A Celebration of Unity: Celebrating humanity’s 2012 rebirth into unity through an artful reclaiming of indigenous wisdom, an important ceremony of reconciliation and unification, June 12, at the Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Hold those energies with us that day and beyond…
  • www.GlobalRoomforWomen.com invites you to a 6 week teleconference… beginning June 9, 2011 to stand for and with women shaping a new Middle East. Come together with women from Pakistan, Egypt, Gaza and Bahrain who share their personal experiences, their optimism and hope. Feel a true sisterhood emerging to carry us forward together as each of us takes the steps she sees to make a difference.
  • www.StandingWomen.org. Creating a ‘standing wave’ of personal commitment to usher in a better world for earth’s children. Since 2007, thousands have stood each year on Mother’s Day, sending pulses of mother love intention around the world. Add your own "2011 report" or your dream for the world at Standing Women. Every human being wants a better world for their children to grow into. Now is the time to tune into and build this standing wave in every way we can!
  • www.sole2soulWalk.com. Taking the steps there are to take in a 7 month journey across America, learning the lessons, and inviting women on the move to walk together through these times. Inviting others to walk with them and to bring your projects into conversation at www.sole2soulWalk.com, so that we may appreciate and catalyze the great movement that is now taking place as people everywhere commit to change at every level.

[FEEDBACK CALL: Please share your projects, and your sense of what is new and emerging.]

Places to rest

In resonance with others of like-mind and heart Riding out the shift, together
By Lucky Sweeny, co-founder of Evolutionary Women, evolutionary astrologer and coach, lucky@luckysweeny.com, www.cosmicawakenings2011.com

A friend emailed me and asked what I thought about the "intense energies" of now. This is my view of this time.

It IS very intense right now. Over the past 2 decades, I think we’ve gotten used to feeling the energies when not much has really occurred; it’s taking us some time to incorporate that the "Shift", or whatever you may call it, is actually happening right now. And unless you watch the politics, for those of us in the U.S., it’s relatively calm, as opposed to Japan, which may be on the verge of the end of life as they have known it.

As people who probably chose to come here for this time, for our own soul experience and to be of service to humanity and the Universe, we are experiencing it in the fiber of our body and the energies of our soul. Realignments, releasing and expanding… whatever we need to upgrade to more fully BE our full potential Self, is being activated both within us and in our external circumstances. Continue reading

Marla Ruzicka

GUEST BLOG: Marla, CIVIC, and the idea that wouldn’t die

Posted on April 14, 2011 by warvictims

By Catherine Philp

Nine years ago in the bright Kabul spring, I met a young woman called Marla Ruzicka. She was hard to miss, with her wild blonde hair and animal pyjamas peeking out from the hem of her long kameez.

She was harder still to miss the morning she marched to the gates of the American Embassy with astonished, emboldened Afghan families by her side, to demand compensation and apologies for their loved ones lost in American military action.

The term “civilian casualties” is so commonplace now it is hard to remember a time before when armies spoke coldly of “collateral damage.” The belief that America should help those it hurt in war is now so much a part of counter-insurgency ethos it is hard to recall how revolutionary an act it was that Marla undertook that day.

At the gates of the American Embassy in Kabul, Marla sowed the seeds of the organization that survives to this day, Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC).

Six years ago, on a Sri Lankan shore, I was woken by a call from Baghdad telling me that Marla was dead. She and her Iraqi colleague, Fais, had been killed by a suicide bomber on Baghdad’s lethal airport road. The loss felt incalculable.

As her friends grappled with our grief, we wondered how her work could possibly survive without her unique brand of compassion, drive and near lunacy.

Barely more than a one-woman outfit, CIVIC had powerful friends who had helped it achieve astonishing successes, like compensation by the US military for civilian casualties in Iraq. But it was by no means clear that the mission could survive without the woman who conceived it behind it.

Survive it did. Marla’s dedication had sowed the seeds of her cause so deeply even her death could not dislodge them. The $20 million pledged by Congress during her lifetime to help war victims in Iraq and Afghanistan has swelled today to $166 million and expanded to victims in Pakistan.

The cause she pressed on the US government has been taken up by NATO, which last year approved its first formal compensation policy for Afghan war victims. As part of their training, Afghan soldiers learn about “Making Amends,” a CIVIC-created programme laying out proper and appropriate procedures in the event of civilian casualties.

Pakistan’s government recently came on board too, approving compensation for the victims of drone strikes after a groundbreaking year-long survey of civilian casualties there by CIVIC, much like the one Marla embarked on in Afghanistan nine years ago.

Marla’s greatest strength as an advocate was her unfailing vision. She believed that the impossible could happen, even if it took a little while. Six years after her passing, I can only wonder what she would think of the way her simple revolutionary idea has taken root around the globe. She would giggle, I think, and throw her head back in delight that the world proved itself the compassionate place she always believed it to be.


With appreciation for your role in freeing other hostages taken in Libya, we urge you to use all diplomatic means to assist in ensuring the safety and release of Iman al-Obeidi and encouraging the full investigation of her rape and abuse.

Free Iman!