Women and Peace

Most women support most wars, but others often organize as women to work for peace (Goldstein, 2001, pp. 322-331). In some simple societies, women tend to restrain the men from war or play special roles as mediators in bringing wars to an end. For instance, Andamanese Islands women "tried to settle quarrels and bring fighting to a conclusion." (However, the Ibibio of Nigeria did not permit women to witness peacemaking rites lest they upset them.) Among the Kiwai-Papua, after both sides signal a desire for peace, "a number of men accompanied by their wives make their way to the enemy village. The women walk a few paces ahead. It is taken for granted that bringing their wives is a demonstration of peaceful intentions____During the night, the hosts sleep with the visitors' wives—a practice known as 'putting out the fire'" (Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1979, p. 213).

In modern societies, women's peace activism expanded with the suffrage movement in the 19th century, In 1852, Sisterly Voices began publication as a newsletter for European women's peace societies. The Women's Peace Party, founded during World War I, grew out of the international suffrage movement. In recent decades, women's peace activism can be found in dozens of countries. In the United States, a gender gap of about 10-15% in support for military actions has persisted for decades. However, a recurring problem for women's peace activism is that construing peace as feminine masculinizes war and thus reinforces mechanisms that societies use to induce men to fight.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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