The Minister of Women and Children Affairs Hajia Alima Mahama has called for the inclusion of more women in peace-building initiatives, because of the significant role they played as social educators, mediators and peace-builders.
She said in spite of women's role in peace building, their participation in peace negotiations and peacekeeping missions still remained low.
She said: "Not withstanding the fact that women do not take part in decisions leading to armed conflicts, they bear the brunt of war and also put together the pieces after the carnage and destruction of lives and property.”
"Thus there is the need to institutionalize women in peace and security operations by engendering peacekeeping, negotiations and management processes," she said.
The Minister made the call on Monday at the opening of a four-day forum to examine the role of women in peace building at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping and Training Centre (KAIPTC) at Teshie near Accra.
The Women Peace and Security Network-Africa, a pan-African women peace building organization, the ECOWAS Gender Unit and the KAIPTC are organizing the forum
with funding from the German Technical Cooperation.
About 40 international participants mainly from women's groups, sub-regional entities and UN agencies are attending the forum.
Hajia Mahama noted that institutionalizing women in peace building would entail addressing shortfalls in peacekeeping processes, which had hitherto focused on short-term measures initiated and administered by organizations that were "traditionally male-dominated, patriarchal, and hierarchal" and whose recruitment processes have followed gender insensitive rules and regulations”.
She said it was only when such shortcomings were addressed that, those women's involvement and visibility in peace and security in Africa would increase.
Major General John Attipoe, Commandant of the KAIPTC noted that in post conflict environments, the admirable role women played during conflicts were hardly taken into consideration in reaching and negotiating peace agreements.
He said the views and interest of women were not sufficiently integrated into peace agreements, often contributing to the probability of conflicts reoccurring.
The Commandant said the traditional secondary role of women in African societies had meant that, even when they were engaged in peace building, their views were often not taken serious, saying, "Any human endeavour which excludes women, amounts to operating at less than full human capacity".