Militarism, Violence and Conflict

This session builds on ongoing concerns and understandings of militarism, violence and armed conflict, how these issues impact women’s lives, and ways women have been organizing for a peaceful world.

It will engage participants in a series of conversations that examine the processes and gender-specific impacts of militarism, militarization, armed conflict and violence. It will address concerns and analyses from the local to the global, create space to learn about and discuss women’s resilience and resistance, brainstorm creative ways to confront these challenges and promote an end to conflict and gender-based violence.

The focus of the session will be on the economics of militarism and its gendered dimensions. It will also address the processes whereby the logic and values of militarism become normalized and embedded in communities and societies, including those living under occupation, and look at what constitutes genuine security from a feminist perspective. The intersections of militarism with gender, race, class and sexuality – including sexual violence and violence against women human rights defenders – are other examples of important issues to be explored. The session will provide a space to share strategies and experiences of resistance, healing, peace-building and utilization of UN resolutions and alternative forms of transitional justice.


  1. To enable participants to ‘go deeper’ on key issues and come away from the Forum with stronger understanding of the session theme and/or concrete strategy ideas to take home with them; and to facilitate deeper cross-regional and cross-movement engagement
  2. Identify areas of common action for feminist critical engagement on the follow up of these agendas

Structure of Session

The 6-hour In-Depth session will be organized into four periods of 1.5 hours each, with a break in between over 2 days (likely, the 21 and 22 April).


Committee: Brigid Inder, Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice, Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP), Kumi Samuel, DAWN, Amina Mama, Strengthening Women Against Conflict and Militarism (SWACM), Margo Okazawa-Rey, Strengthening Women Against Conflict (SWACM) and International Network of Women Against Militarism (INWAM), Charlotte Bunch, Savi Bisnath & Julie Salthouse, Center for Women’s Global Leadership, Rosalind Petchesky, Paola Gonazalez Rosales, Guatemalan Women’s National Union (UNAMG).

AWID staff coordination/support: Shareen Gokal

Period #1- April, 21, 2:30-4pm Framing the “in-depth” session- introduction, main arguments, concerns, analysis and questions

Objective: The purpose of this first period will be to set the stage for the discussion, clarify objectives and scope- surface key analytical points on aspects of militarism, gender based violence and conflict and make connections with the Forum theme of “economic transformation”, building on plenary and related sessions. What are the main issues, problems and questions that we are grappling with?

Methodology: Moderated panel discussions, with speakers inputs that foster audience engagement by putting forward questions, concerns, challenges, strategies etc.  This will be followed by initial reaction from a respondent and then enough time for engagement from the participants.

Main issues to be covered:

  1. Introduction to the two day session (state of play, analysis, strategies, moving forward, etc)
  2. Each of the speakers will speak to surface analysis from a different perspective of the following issues: (i) GBV; (ii) conflict; (iii) economics of militarism from a feminist perspective; (iv) resistance strategies; and (v) approaches to peace-building.

Guiding questions:

What’s going on: what are dynamics including various actors and institutional/systemic forces?

Why: analysis of root causes and power relations that are operating; examine economics, class, ethnicity, sexuality, and religion alongside gender? What constitutes genuine security from a feminist perspective?

Moderator: Charlotte Bunch (also to cover the introduction to the session)


  • Yifat Susskind, MADRE
  • Savi Bisnath, CWGL
  • Sunila Abeysekera, INFORM
  • Funmi Olonisakin

Period #2- April 21, 4:30-6pm Will focus on economics of militarism, gender-based violence and militarism with contextualized analysis, strategies and specific examples from local and regional contexts

Objective: Learn and exchange feminist analyses, experiences, strategies resistance and alternatives from specific contexts.  Will connect the analysis to regional and national levels with specific illustrative examples of feminist resistances, resilience and alternatives. What are the main challenges and some useful strategies and responses?

Methodology: Panel presentations followed by an interactive discussion where people will be invited to share from their contexts- and then a wrap up of the day including letting people know the objectives of the sessions to follow the next day.

Moderator: Ros Petchesky


  • Leila Alikarami, Women against sanction, war and militarism, Nobel Women’s Initiative partner, Million Signatures campaign, Iran (Confirmed)
  • Annie Matundu. WILPF- DRC
  • Reyhan Yalçındağ, Human Rights Lawyer and Kurdish women’s rights activist in Turkey (Confirmed)
  • Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders
  • Patricia Ardon, Guatemala, Activism in the midst of militarization, organized crime: Women Human Rights Defender
  • Nawal Slemiah, Ida Cooperative, Palestine (Occupied Territories)

Period #3- April 22, 11-12:30 pm Will continue the focus on economics of militarism, gender-based violence and militarism with contextualized analysis, strategies and specific examples from the regional and global levels

Objectives: Learn and exchange processes and experiences especially those that may be transferrable, have new collaborations, are creative, new and that address key concerns. What is being done? What has worked well and why? What have been the key challenges? What are creative ways to think about how to respond to address immediate concerns and longer-term ones?

What constitutes genuine security based on realities and ideas discussed during session?

Moderator: Margo


  • To share the experience of setting up the Observatorio de Mujeres Indigenas contra la Violencia, Otilia Lux de Coti, Guatemala- (Confirmed)
  • Emem Ekon, Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Center (confirmed)
    • Participant from Libya (TBA)
    • Jane Akwero, Uganda
    • Yanar Mohammed, Iraq
    • 16 Days Campaign Against Gender Violence (Julie Salthouse, CWGL)

Period #4- 2-3:30 pm Spaces to push for change, transferrable/applicable practices, anything that can be taken forward?

Objectives: i) take stock of the current moment and trends regarding the major themes; and (ii) discuss the ways in which global and regional strategies and organizations can be helpful to the strategies and organizations at the local level. How can some of the discussion be moved forward, either from new ideas and suggestions, or can feed into ongoing processes in order to develop more effective strategies toward peaceful conflict resolution and ending gender-based, ethnic and homophobic forms of violence?


Based on sessions – What were the most important learnings/Transferrable/applicable practices? What can be taken forward in on-going processes? Opportunity for cross regional, cross sectoral learnings? Areas/arenas that we can push for changes etc n the next 3-5 years?


Short plenary presentations and moderated discussion.

Moderators: Brigid, Amina and Sunila


  • Peace-building, perspectives from women human rights defenders (Daysi Flores (JASS) or Dilcia Zavala (Honduras WHRD Network, confirming speaker)
  • Peace processes, accountability mechanisms and concrete opportunities in the next 3-5 years (Brigid Inder, Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice)
  • Amina Mama- a synthesis of the discussion.