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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Women, Peace, and Security symposium makes strides toward change

Photo by Photo by Brandon Holmes

Sarah Chayes speaks at the Texas Symposium on Women, Peace and Security.

Global leaders discussed strategies to increase equality in leadership at a symposium focused on the representation of women in national security discussions.
This year, the fourth annual Texas Symposium on Women, Peace, and Security was hosted by the Bush School of Government and Public Service on Monday.
The purpose of the WPS agenda is to bring together stakeholders and policymakers to make progress toward the goals of UN Security Council Resolution 1325.
The resolution aims to create more female representation in the decision-making processes of security, peace and politics. The symposium included many presentations and panels of people from across the globe, including military leaders, Ivy League professors, researchers, authors, filmmakers and government strategists. Presentations covered topics including female involvement in security policy and foreign relations, domestic violence and research statistics on female involvement in peace and security.
Bush School Dean Mark Welsh III delivered the welcome address, sharing his excitement about hosting this year’s WPS Symposium and commending program director Valerie Hudson on a remarkable job in her efforts.
“I do believe we have made progress in this arena, but I also believe we still have a long way to go,” Welsh said. “I believe that journey starts with putting the right voices into the discussion. This symposium is about broadening our perspective, and enlarging our thought process. It’s about learning more so we can influence. It’s about being better than we were yesterday and trying to drag our state and nation and our fellow citizens with us.”
Peace is Loud director Jamie Dobie continued with the preliminary discussion. Peace is Loud is a nonprofit which creates films highlighting women around the globe who have played a part in peacebuilding. Dobie said she believes equal gender representation in politics is a crucial element in maintaining global peace.
“More and more research show that when women influence peace processes and agreements, those agreements are more likely to be reached and more likely to last,” Dobie said. “Groundbreaking research here at Texas A&M shows that gender equality is a greater predictor of peace than a society of wealth, levels of democracy and religion.”
Dobie presented a trailer from Peace is Loud titled “Women War & Peace II” and said she believes such storytelling has the power to progress social movements.
“Our job at Peace is Loud is to harness that energy you feel when you hear a story and help turn it into something actionable and lasting,” Dobie said. “We need a culture shift … in both government agencies, think tanks, non-profits and media outlets.”
Throughout the conference, speakers explained their perspectives on female underrepresentation and how they believe individual nations and the world can work toward increasing female representation. Lt. Col. Bradley Orchard of the Australian Army said improving as a society requires improving gender equality.
“If we don’t build a society that can take advantage of everyone’s skills and contributions, we’re not nearly going to be the society we could be,” Orchard said. “Think about all the Confuciuses we missed out on over the years because women were so excluded from the narrative.”

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