by Maureen Weinberger, Vice President, Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO)
Put on by the Centre for Women's Global Leadership, a panel of four women involved in various aspects of this work discussed a variety of issues:
- In 2011 $1735 billion was spent worldwide on militarism. Invested in social justice and equity, this could be a world changer.
- The top 5 spenders, responsible for 60% of the spending, are US, China, Russia, UK and France.
- Gov'ts must be made accountable for the economic policies responsible for this. Where does the money come from? What is not getting funded in order to fund military? How are decisions made about how money is spent? More transparency required.
- Governance must mean gender equitable governance.
- Women and girls must be included as meaningful parts of panels of inquiry for peace building.
- Need gendered definition of what peace and security mean.
- Even in places with laws regarding women, conflict and violence, there is often little compliance.
It is critical that governments are reminded of the clear link between militarism and the erosion of women's rights. Agreements on arm, armaments, excessive militarism and military spending mut be part of the agreed conclusions.
As one participant said: "All women in the world live in a state of war even if there is no armed conflict in their country."