Seven women peacemakers who should be on your radar

Global Post: The following is part of a Ground Truth initiative supported by the Ford Foundation called VOICES. The mission of VOICES is to present the ideas and opinions of those who are less frequently heard in the media, including women, people of color, sexual minorities, citizens of the developing world and young people.

ISTANBUL, Turkey — When it comes to women and conflict, the media often delivers two narratives. On one end of a restrictive spectrum, women are victimized and under siege – vulnerable, isolated, and helpless. And on the other end, as evidenced by recent coverage of female Kurdish fighters in Syria and Iraq, we see a celebrated, if not fetishized, image of the woman as warrior – the sexy, gun-wielding badass.

But often lost between these bipolar optics are the stories of the women in the middle, those at the vertex working tirelessly on conflict resolution. Their voices are loud. But their actions are even louder.

“The women in the middle are marginalized, invisible,” says Sanam Anderlini, co-founder of the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN), which held its third annual forum on women’s rights, peace, and security in Istanbul last fall.

“They are the bravest…they stand up without weapons,” she said. “They are the best their countries offer. We must start not only recognizing them, but also relying on them to fight these battles.”

Meet seven women in the middle – those fighting in a slow, long untelevised war where the warriors are unsung and the sidelines are really the centers.


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