Joyce Banda on empowering women as peacekeepers

Joyce Banda, former president of Malawi, calls on world leaders at the Rising Global Peace Forum to work toward greater female presence in peacekeeping and peacemaking efforts. Via YouTube

In the wake of International Day to End Violence Against Women, former Malawian President Joyce Banda asks, what will it take to get leaders to allow women to become “agents of peacemaking?”

Banda called on world leaders at the Rising Global Peace Forum to work toward greater female presence in peacekeeping and peacemaking efforts globally. The first step, she said, is allowing women into the police and military.

This is especially important in Africa, she told Devex on the sidelines of the forum, where leaders should be “instrumental in allowing women to join law enforcement, military in their countries,” she said. Banda suggested a 5 percent benchmark — the current percentage of Denmark’s forces that are women — as a way to begin pressuring Africa’s leaders to bring women to the table.

“Those that join the military must also be allowed to participate in peacekeeping,” she told Devex. “The moment we begin to see women across the board in peacekeeping and peacemaking and mediation, then it will be become natural that women must be part of the solution.”

The former head of state pointed to programs in Liberia that empower women to identify domestic disputes in the community as examples in which women can act as both police and peacemakers.

Watch the video above to know what Banda thinks about ending violence against women and girls, and boosting female representation at the highest levels of leadership.

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About the author

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    Molly Anders

    Molly Anders is a U.K. Correspondent for Devex. Based in London, she reports on development finance trends with a focus on British and European institutions. She is especially interested in evidence-based development and women’s economic empowerment, as well as innovative financing for the protection of migrants and refugees. Molly is a former Fulbright Scholar and studied Arabic in Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco.