From the team here and myself as debate editor, greetings go first to our thirty-three Women Making a Difference bloggers who have agreed to come together for the next four weeks to tell us about their lives and work, and to have a conversation - across time zones and conflict zones – about their attempts to make a difference. What would help them and what are the obstacles?
Thank you for saying ‘yes’ to our invitation - we are delighted with the response. Have a look at this blog’s ‘About’ section, and whatever the qualifications and caveats that will no doubt fill our space here as soon as our bloggers begin to assess its impact so far - it surely says something for Resolution 1325 that from every corner of the world such people recognise its importance and want to take time to build positively on what they regard as a historic breakthrough.
Next we warmly welcome you, the men and women who are our readers. I am sure you will find many reverberations in your own lives of the profound challenges which have faced many of the women posting here. They may not be on the scale of some of the atrocities and also the miracles that fill the world this resolution addresses (although they may). But issues of power, force, violence, inclusion and exclusion, strength and vulnerability affect us all. In that sense there are no experts in this debate – or rather – we are all its experts. I hope you’ll add your comments to the conversation here – and indeed take the topics away into openDemocracy’s discussion forums if you are so moved.
In mid-October, women delegated from around the world will travel to New York to advocate for the fuller implementation of 1325. We will be following their progress and seeing how they are treated. At the same time as part of this major debate, Lesley Abdela and Sir Jeremy Greenstock will be launching a series of articles that takes as its starting point the EU Women's Cttee. recommendation that 40 per cent of personnel should be women and 40 per cent men - in other words, no more than 60 per cent of either. Our bloggers meanwhile will be making up their own, each others’, and perhaps our minds about what message to send to the UN and the EU in time for 1325’s fifth birthday on October 31. Over the month, there will be plenty of links, daily and permanent, to help the rest of us navigate around this huge field of activity, beginning with the irreplaceable Toolkit put together by International Alert and WomenWaging Peace.
It only remains to say good luck, let’s begin…