Womens Regional Network

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Denver, Colorado 80206


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By Swarna Rajagopalan

How the personal and political, the inner and outer journeys, are intertwined

In Rajmohan Gandhi’s Mohandas: A True Story of a Man, His People and an Empire, he evocatively describes a moment in Gandhiji’s life, just before independence, in which Gandhiji feels isolated. It does not matter whether you lead a subcontinent or run a small NGO, the journey is solitary and lonely. Bumper stickers, posters and T-shirts remind us everywhere to “be the change we wish to see in the world." Gandhiji, after all, said this. In school, I would have rolled my eyes. Gandhi hagiography was black-and-white and came with all the deadening force of state-led promotion. That Gandhi was a saintly bore.


By Swarna Rajagopalan

Teaching peace, learning peace

A great teacher is a peace educator by instinct, making students introspect and be sensitive. These are tough times to raise children. News, both true and fake, inundates us, and much that is considered newsworthy relates to violence and injustice. Children cannot be protected from this avalanche, and parents and teachers must contend with its effect on their sense of well-being and security, and answer their questions: Why did they beat this person to death? Why have those people been forced to leave their homes, why does no one want them to enter their country? Why has this place name become a hash-tag? What is sedition?


By Stephanie Foster

Why women are central to addressing climate change

When the Group of 20 met last month, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe put climate change and women’s empowerment on the agenda. While the Osaka Leaders’ Declaration recognized “gender equality and women’s empowerment [as] essential for achieving sustainable and inclusive economic growth” and the urgent need to address “complex and pressing global issues and challenges, including climate change,” it did not explicitly link these two policy imperatives. Why is this important? Globally, these are two of the biggest challenges we face: building a sustainable future and ensuring gender equality, which drives economic growth and prosperity. Climate-induced drought, floods, extreme weather, and food and water insecurity disproportionately impact women due to socio-economic, political, and legal barriers and gender norms. The data is alarming: 80 percent of climate refugees are women. Women and children are 14 times more likely than men to die during a disaster. Women are more vulnerable to mosquito-borne disease when they collect water.


Danielle Samler graduated from the University of Toronto where she received a B.A in History, & Peace, Conflict, and Justice. Her areas of research include international humanitarian law, Russian history, post-conflict reconstruction & international law. She currently works as the Communications Assistant for the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education at the University of Toronto. She also served as an intern for WRN which fostered her commitment to social justice & political change.

A Humanitarian Assessment of the Arms Trade Treaty: Reducing the Proliferation of Conventional Weapons to Civilian Combatants by Danielle Samler

The Arms Trade Treaty, enacted in 2013, aims to decrease human suffering by limiting the international supply of conventional weapons. However, this treaty has not created a positive obligation on states to respect international humanitarian law due to competing interests, lack of enforcement, and ambiguity. This paper analyzes the proliferation of violence resulting in violations of both international humanitarian law and international human rights law attributable to the availability of conventional weapons supplied through the international arms trade. By analyzing the cases of Saudi-Arabia, Iraq, Syria and Sudan, this paper highlights the urgency of creating more legal obligations on States to stop the widespread availability of weapons. At the root of the problem is the fact that the weapons intended to provide security for the State and its civilians are being used by the very people that International Humanitarian Law seeks to protect.


Stephanie Foster writes about how March is Women’s History Month and March 8 is International Women’s Day.

March 8: For Many Women and Girls, It’s Just Another Day

During March, we mark the global progress women and girls have made, evaluate challenges and barriers to that progress, and re-dedicate ourselves to a world where everyone has equal opportunity to succeed and to contribute. We celebrate the multitude of achievements of those who have come before us, both famous and not so, and who have had an impact on our world. The month of March asks us to learn our history, meet those who have shaped our opportunities, and understand where we are in the long game of women’s equality.


The revamped compensation scheme is a complete travesty of reparative justice to victims of gender-based crime and a disgrace to the constitutional obligation of the state to protect life and liberty.

Why Maharashtra's 'Justice for Acid Attack Victims' Scheme Is a Monumental Farce

Saumya Uma write on how the revamped Manodhairya scheme of the Maharashtra government, providing compensation to victims of sexual and acid violence on women, announced a few weeks ago, has reiterated how farcically Indian law and legal mechanisms view and treat victims of heinous gender-based crimes.


Padmini Ghosh and Diksha Poddar writes on how reporting of conflict also thrives on notions of masculinnity (see page 11)

Much like conflict itself, the reporting of conflict thrives on notions of masculinity, and thus operates in a very patriarchal manner. This is manifested in various forms in which the media operates - what gets reported, who make it to the headlines, and how the information is presented to a larger audience. 


In militarised situations violence against women (and minorities) rises.

The Peace Counter

In October 2000, the UN Security Council adopted the first of what we now call the “Women, Peace and Security” (WPS) resolutions, 1325, mandating the inclusion of women in conflict resolution and peace processes. This Index gathers and organises the statistical evidence that policy-makers and activists can use to further this mandate. In so doing, it also offers us a good way to capture the status of women in different parts of the world, in both absolute and relative terms.

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