The World Needs a Peace Treaty Between Men and Women

The World Needs a Peace Treaty Between Men and Women
Egyptian women protest violence used against them in clashes between police and protesters, Cairo, Dec. 20, 2011 (AP photo by Amr Nabil).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series inviting authors to identify the biggest priority—whether a threat, risk, opportunity or challenge—facing the international order and U.S. foreign policy today.

The world must find a way to end violence and discrimination against women. In any other context between human beings, the endemic violence committed by men against women would be considered warfare or terrorism. But rather than being seen as a war against a segment of the population—a real genocide or “gendercide”—which it would be if the targets were not women, the violence and oppression targeting half of the world’s population has too often been ignored.

Consider the facts. In every region of the world, more than a quarter of women are subject to violence by men they know and live with. Two-thirds of the most malnourished children are girls; two-thirds of illiterate adults are women. There have even been regionally successful attempts to ensure that female babies simply are not born. Popular entertainment for men includes showing women being degraded, violated, even tortured. In some parts of the planet, women are even sold as chattel to men, for use as they see fit. Needless to say, men enjoy access to economic and political power that only a handful of women have ever had.

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