The world is a violent place. Every day we are confronted with horrific images from Syria, Myanmar, Afghanistan, and other conflict hotspots around the globe. The number of violent conflicts internationally has spiked dramatically since 2010. Conflict is also growing more complex, with non-state actors, new technologies, and mass population displacement all contributing to make wars and civil conflicts in 2018 more interconnected and multi-layered than perhaps ever before.

At the same time, gender issues are in the spotlight right now. Worldwide “Women’s Marches” in 2017 and 2018 have seen millions of people come out onto the streets to advocate in favour of women’s rights. International Women’s Day is upcoming on 8 March, and will be an opportunity to focus attention on precisely these issues.

Around the world, women and girls are among the most vulnerable to conflict, including its indirect effects such as poverty, malnutrition, and infectious diseases. Roughly 90% of the victims of violent conflicts today are civilians (and the majority of those are women and children). Yet, when given the chance, women have played instrumental roles as agents of change and leaders in the prevention of violence. The probability of a peace agreement lasting at least 15 years increases by 35% when women are included. Could empowering women help to build a more peaceful world?

On 8 March 2018, Debating Europe will be co-hosting a live online Q&A session with Kristalina Georgieva, CEO of the World Bank, to mark International Women’s Day. Georgieva will respond to our readers’ comments about the role of women and girls in helping to prevent violence and extremism, and you can send us in your questions and comments on this topic in the form below, or on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #AskGeorgieva.

The Q&A will be part of our “#Ask” series, which recently included European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker and European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly.

Are women in power the key to peace? How is gender equality linked to fragility, conflict, and violence? Would empowering women help to build a more peaceful world? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

39 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. George

    That’s a very good question, and the answer is probably yes. But is peace always needed? Say in relation to Islamic State? ! Did we need peace in relation to the civil war of former Yugoslavia?

    • Katelyn

      Good point. There’s always a time when sitting on the fence and being peaceful won’t work

  2. Marko

    Women like Margaret Thatcher and many like her certainly are

    • Urszula

      Yea, one woman compare to the amount of man in power, just great😂

  3. Ivan

    Wow, what a sexist question ?! . would you ask ‘would the world be safer with more men in power ? ‘, I doubt it.

    • Kirstie

      Pointless question, it’s been a given for centuries that men should be the ones in power. It’s only in revent decades that women have begun to have access to power so the question can’t possibly be answered. Remember it’s only been 100 years since women in the UK have been able to vote.

    • Ivan

      @Kirstie So you are OK sexual discrimination providing it’s against men ?

    • Urszula

      What are you talking about man? 🤔

    • Katelyn

      Men are naturally more agressive and violent, unfortunately it’s in their nature

    • Paul X

      “Men are naturally more aggressive and violent”…….but less hormonal

    • Urszula

      Yea, one or two women compare to countless example of man, really?

    • Xsenia

      The only reason there are countless examples of men.. Its because women were suppressed by men and not allowed to be in power or anything .. Soooooo… Whats ur point?

  4. Alessandro

    I’d better ask to her why the WB policies are helping more corporations and banks making profits rather then poor people in those countries who ask for financial support.

  5. Yordan Vasilev

    I think, empowering the women will help us to build a more peaceful world, but the men are needed in the political team too, because we are needed by a strong responce when European Union is under an attack.

  6. Maisara

    The whole world is like a family. It needs man and women, politician man and women, Most man now adays managed this world in a chaos agenda, lets the women interfere to make this world better place to live. Let each countries manage their internal problems, issues within their own sovereignty. The women roles in this man management society is to wake up their good spiritual behavior, they already forget due to their personal desire to be the controler of this world ignoring the masses, manipulating our mind however many women inside politics instead of pointing out to them their misconduct we do nothing. The women must calm down the chaos situation in this world INVADING OTHER COUNTRY IS NOT THE SOLUTION TO THE WORLD PROBLEMS AND ALSO SANCTION IS ALSO THE WORST SOLUTION…IT IS NOW THE RIGHT TIME FOR WOMEN TO.GET INN…

  7. Anna Chernova

    How do we avoid women being instrumenalized in PVE and the fight against terror? Peace lasts when women are involved, because inclusive peace is more sustainable. And more equal distribution of power brings long-term stability. We want women to have a meaningful political voice in military, economy and oversight of armed forces – and to avoid a situation where it is up to the women to keep the men peaceful. Women need to be meaningfully included, because we are 50% of the population – and in order to play a role in preventing violent extremism, we have to have (claim) power over policy. How do we do that when women’s rights (and rights in general) are backsliding in so many countries? What is the role of (inclusive) development in supporting women’s political voice for a more peaceful society? Thank you. It’s always inspiring to listen to your debates. Chestita Baba Marta.

  8. catherine benning

    Margaret Thatcher was no vassal of compassion. Falklands didn’t give her a rush for peacefulnmess. Or, did I miss something?

    These leading ladies don’t strike a note for peace any more than the men they took over from, did/do they?

    And the singular most disappointing of all. She led in finance for the women of the world. And guess what?

    No difference.

    And of these: How many made a difference toward peace do you remember? Was it greater than the leadership of men?

  9. Shaaban Adow Abdi

    Regarding the conflicts and wars in many world countries like Syria, Yemen. Libya, Iraq and many others, this wars are politically oriented and orchestrated by world powers (countries) that did interfere with the Democratic sovereign rights of governments under the pretex of disposing from power leaders who don’t sing to their tune…what policies can the Briton woods institutions like World Bank develop inorder to minimise external interference by world powers on countries with the aim of exploiting them politically, socially and economically..? on whether empowering women can make the world a more peaceful place? The answer is yes, in every war fought in this world a son or a daughter is lost? All those with instruments of power who cause war to happen are son or daughter of a mother… There wb should promote and empower women to establish a global treaty ratified by all mothers in the world starting with mothers of the world powerful leaders (head of states) and heads of extrimist groups in different parts of the world on the need to compel and prevail upon their nations to make unlawful any war or torture of kind.. This should be globally driven campaign with no barriers on politics, religion, region or race…

  10. Mavy

    misschien,als ze de pure mannelijke logica niet navolgen,iets wat vandaag wel gebeurt en steeds een evenwicht tussen beide sekse?In the blood of Eden
    Lie the woman and the man
    With the man in the woman
    And the woman in the man
    In the blood of Eden
    Lie the woman and the man
    We wanted the union
    Oh the union of the woman
    The woman and the man

  11. Áine

    It is a complete myth that women are more ‘peaceful’. Child abuse statistics are led by women, and there is more and more evidence that domestic partner violence is perpetrated by male and female partners in equal measure, just men are all too often enduring in silence, and little to no support services for men. The issue with governing forces is not the birth sex, but power. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely (John Dalberg-Acton). To say women leaders are less corrupt would insinuate some secret protection against this proven psychological phenomena, and that is quite frankly not the case. We also find evidence for this in mobbing statistics. Most bulling seems to be perpetrated by superiors. As superiors are still often male, obviously statistics will produce figures saying men bully more often. Imagine we would have more female superiors, and we more than likely would see the same amount of bullying. It is the position, not the gender, so a world of female leaders would be no less corrupt and violent.

    • jthk

      Child abuse statistics are led by women cannot be cited as an example because children care is still largely the role of woman.

  12. Theresa

    I’m a woman , but I don’t think asking this kind of question will help solve the real issue : this gender classification to solve problems that are common to both genders… it’s like asking: what’s your role as a wife or a husband to stop abuse in a relationship? My point is, both genders are both responsible and capable of stopping these problems, it’s only a question of balancing the power, not one gender should suppress the other, we’re all on the same boat, so we should co-exist and work for the common good of everyone…it’s not a question that should be addressed to women only.

  13. V

    As I suspected, there are already comments here saying this is sexism. It is not a question of women being better than men, but of there being a balance. Women do have different qualities- usually more caring, nurturing qualities and it’s the balance of those qualities which is missing throughout the world. Getting balance is the key to solving world peace, equality and poverty. Let’s forget the terms ‘power,’ ‘rule’ and ‘domination’ and work on harmony, understanding and tolerance. It’s fact, not perception, that violence against women is increasing. Women in the past have lost their lives fighting for equality and justice and we must not let that go now. We must fight to be heard on the world stage.

  14. Julie

    Maybe it really depends on the person not the gender. Any person in power can make a difference if they wanted to. It is about intention and motivation.

  15. Katelyn

    more women needed in power for equal representation but also more people from different backgrounds needed to have equal representation. Furthermore people who care not about themselves but about others, integretity, unity and peace. They must also hold the relevant qualifications which should be required for running in elections and positions of power ✌️✌️✌️

  16. Katelyn

    I’d ask her “Why we don’t have better policing policies in Ireland 🇮🇪? We need a police force the size of the one in the Vatican to protect the vulnerable. We also need an army the size of the one in China to protect and defend us. I would like to know is there funding available to allow this, because money is always used as an excuse. “We don’t have the budget available”. I think our right to safety should come before any piece of money 💰. People before profit. ✌️🇮🇪🇮🇪”

  17. Katelyn

    Yes more women needed in power as we are not equally represented in positions of power. Furthermore the correct women are needed. Women who care not about themselves but about others, unity, peace and integrity. Women who hold relevant qualifications to the position they are running for, which should be required to run in elections but is not in Ireland 🇮🇪 at the moment. We need women who know what they’re talking about not people who just want to run in elections for the sack of running and then not knowing what they’re actually doing. This is a major problem in our Dail in Ireland. People in power who do not behold the relevant qualifications for the position in question. Their are a lot of people in power at the moment who should not be 🇮🇪🍀🇮🇪🍀

  18. Monica

    It is worth trying, but I would recomment to let them tracked, to know what they have have doing so far. I just wouldn’t trust (on forehand) anybody in powerful and influencable positions. Man or women

  19. Mariana

    Women are not inherently more peaceful than men, so I don’t think we should associate the key to peace with a particular gender. I do believe they can help preventing violence and countering extremism if we support more of them into becoming policy shapers, educators, activists, etc. That is if we give them all means, including the financial ones, to do so. For this we need to empower not just women but also women’s organisations, because most of the times their programmes look good on paper but are not as effective as they should be.

  20. robert john davies

    I believe that we need a worldwide campaign ( both men and women) to try to convince our leaders of the need to begin to shift in increasing proportions ‘defence spending’ away from armaments and into a great range of peace-making and peace-educating activities.

  21. Paul X

    Considering the most volatile countries of the world also have cultures that consider Women to be second class citizens, it is difficult to see how they will be given the respect to have any influence

  22. Eishma

    A woman is tough, she is ambitious and that’s just okay. And if this makes her a bitch then that’s also OKAY!

  23. Xhevair

    Dear Kristalina, I have two question : 1. Do you think that the position of women as unequal in society is a result of the mentality of men? Second, do you think that we must find a way ( or projects ) to work more with men gender than female gender? Thank You!

  24. Lucy

    I don’t think so. War is used to get resources and sometimes curbing the real issue in one’s country. that willl not change if the leader is a woman. Unless resource is unlimited, war will not disappear.

  25. jthk

    Isn’t Mrs Thatcher the first British female prime minister who has waged a war with Argentina for the Falkland Island? Isn’t Thatcher following Ronald Reagan’s confrontational policy during the Cold War? The Cixi, the Empress Dowager of China’s Qing Dynasty might be considered quite a peaceful woman for she had used all the military budget to build the Summer Palace.

  26. jthk

    Gender equality does not mean that women have to replace men. Chinese see the world composes of opposite or even contrary forces (Yin and Yang) that are complementing each other making a permanent balance. It is through this way the world and everything can last. Man and woman are typically representing a harmonious relationship complementing and their off-springs is creating the whole human civilization. Anything that have upset the balance/harmony of nature, a single result is the end of human species/the world. So, everyone doing their best in their proper functional role given by nature is most important.

  27. jthk

    Gender equality does not rely on creating new roles for woman or changing role between man and woman but to acknowledge equally the role of man and woman and award them equally. One typical phenomenon is that women are doing all the children care and household jobs but they are not paid. This is the very foundation gender inequality is built.

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