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The road of Congolese women towards peace

11 October 2005
Negotiating peace is a difficult task. It requires the participation of all members of society, men and women, old and young. Unfortunately, often it is only the men who occupy the negotiation table.

It is in response to this situation, that the UN Security Council voted for resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.

In the case of the DRC, since the beginning of armed conflict Congolese women have made every effort to find peace and affirm their rights, particularly the right to take part in the political negotiations. The Inter Congolese Dialogue has thus permitted women to launch a more offensive struggle for the consolidation of peace as well as for the full participation of women in the management of the country.  This struggle deserves to be taken up by all for the greater justice and well being of Congolese society.  

The Congolese negotiations gave women the opportunity to redefine themselves and their role vis a vis the state and civil society.  Thus strengthened, women’s organisations became real actors of change and development, contributing to the emergency of women’s competencies and constituting a form for learning about the rights of citizens.

The road of Congolese women towards peace permitted the strengthening of links between the grass-roots organisations and the leaders.  The struggle of women to have their rights recognized became a fight for social justice, since many men share the same views.  In particular, it must be noted that the men now also talk about women’s participation in decision-making.

The Congolese negotiations gave women the opportunity to redefine themselves and their role vis a vis the state and civil society.  Thus strengthened, women’s organisations became real actors of change and development, contributing to the emergence of women’s competencies and constituting a form for learning about the rights of citizens.

Having previously been marginalized, the issue of women’s political participation is now on the agenda as an important concern of the society.  Congolese women realised that they possess the potential to change the life of the society, provided that they are organised and united.  The activities undertaken by women within the peace process constituted the dynamic and mobilising elements to surmount the obstacles and reach a common objective.

Over and above the differences on the role and the place of women in society, there is now unanimous understanding of the necessity to include women in the political area. The polemics developed around the new political order had the advantage to create new dynamics, and to bring an open debate on the role of women in the democratic process of the DRC.

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