epaselect epa07433548 AAfghan women hold placards reading in Dari 'Peace is our supreme thinking' as they rally to the provincial Governor's compound during a protest against the lack of their representation in a possible peace deal between the Taliban and the US, in Herat, Afghanistan, 13 March 2019. As the US and Taliban negotiate a peace deal, the women from different walks of life in Afghanistan have shown their concerns, as they want to actively participate in all political, social and development initiatives across the country, including in any peace processes.  EPA/JALIL REZAYEE
Afghan women hold placards reading "Peace is our supreme thinking" as they rally during a protest against the lack of their representation in a peace deal between the Taliban and the US, in Herat, AfgShow more

Women's voices are vital to achieving lasting peace

It is often said that women's lives are the most deeply affected by conflict. However, when the time comes to discuss matters of peace, they are rarely consulted. This lack of representation is not only detrimental to women's rights; it has been found to drastically increase the risk of failure of reconciliation efforts.

In 2015, a study by the International Peace Institute found that peace deals are 65 per cent less likely to endure if they do not include women. Female participation has also been found to bolster “peace building and democracy”, according to the United Nations. In recognition of this, the body adopted Resolution 1325 in 2000, which “reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts”. From Colombia to Gaza, women have made significant contributions towards the reduction of violence and subsequent reconciliation. Many now believe that they could even hold the key to some of the region’s most complex and intractable problems.

So, why does gender appear to have such an impact on negotiations? Is there such a thing as a specifically female approach to peace and, if so, how is it different to traditional, masculine models? The simple fact is that peace agreements are more likely to last when the interests of all communities affected by a given conflict are considered, and women have a strong record of doing precisely that.

Take the historical example of Northern Ireland’s 1998 Good Friday Agreement. The Northern Ireland Women's Coalition was a non-sectarian political party specifically created to gain access to these negotiations. The work of its members proved essential to the success of the dialogue, prioritising co-operation over partisan allegiances, maintaining communication with the republican Sinn Fein party when it was temporarily barred from the talks, and facilitating its re-entry to the process. The NIWC also managed to secure language in the final agreement referencing victims’ rights and the reintegration to society of political prisoners. These measures proved fundamental to creating a sustainable peace.

In 2016, peace talks between the Colombian government and the communist guerrilla group FARC successfully brought a 50-year conflict to an end. When the process began in 2012, it included only one female negotiator. By 2015, the government's negotiating team of 40 included eight women, and nearly half of all FARC representatives were female. They successfully argued for provisions that secured access to property for rural women and indigenous communities. They also rejected the idea of an amnesty for perpetrators of sexual violence as a weapon of war.

Still, it is important to note that female negotiators should not be viewed solely as defenders of women’s rights. Their roles in peace talks must be about much more than that.  As a number of long-running hostilities across the Middle East appear to be at critical junctures, women should play central roles in creating a stable future for everyone.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban is negotiating with the United States to end an 18-year war that has torn the country apart. However, talks held in February included only two women out of a total of 50 participants. This augurs poorly for the resulting agreement, which many fear will roll back considerable advances in women's rights made in recent years.

Between 1996 and 2001, Taliban rule denied women education, the right to work and freedom of movement. Though they have been largely sidelined from official conversations, Afghan women have found creative ways to help broker peace, guiding the reintegration to society of Taliban fighters and even securing the release of hostages, on multiple occasions by reaching out to the wives of Taliban leaders. Given these substantial contributions, Afghan women must not be once again relegated to the status of second-class citizens.

Now that ISIS has been driven from its last redoubt of Baghouz, the time is ripe for serious peace talks in Syria. However, women have been underrepresented in negotiations so far. None were invited to the table at Astana, and their numbers remained low during the Geneva talks in 2017.

This erases the life-saving efforts women have made since the very beginning of the nation’s eight-year civil war. As early as April 2011, thousands of women blocked a highway in the north-western city of Baniyas, successfully demanding that hundreds of men rounded up by government forces be released. In 2015, another group of more than 470 women from the Damascus suburb of Zabadani managed to pressure insurgents and regime forces into a ceasefire. Throughout the conflict, women have helped to broker local truces, secure the release prisoners and documented human rights violations.

Women make up half the world’s population. Ideally, all official negotiating parties would reflect this, but peace can be built via other channels. Accordingly, governments and political leaders must uphold women’s rights and encourage them to play an active part in civil society. Whether their actions have official backing or not, women all over the world are working to create better futures for their families and communities. To ignore their efforts is to overlook an invaluable resource and squander hard-won opportunities for peace.

Sheer grandeur

The Owo building is 14 storeys high, seven of which are below ground, with the 30,000 square feet of amenities located subterranean, including a 16-seat private cinema, seven lounges, a gym, games room, treatment suites and bicycle storage.

A clear distinction between the residences and the Raffles hotel with the amenities operated separately.

The specs

Engine: 3.0 twin-turbo inline six-cylinder
Transmission: eight-speed
Power: 503hp
Torque: 600Nm
Price: from Dh400,000 (estimate)
On sale: now

Tips for job-seekers
  • Do not submit your application through the Easy Apply button on LinkedIn. Employers receive between 600 and 800 replies for each job advert on the platform. If you are the right fit for a job, connect to a relevant person in the company on LinkedIn and send them a direct message.
  • Make sure you are an exact fit for the job advertised. If you are an HR manager with five years’ experience in retail and the job requires a similar candidate with five years’ experience in consumer, you should apply. But if you have no experience in HR, do not apply for the job.

David Mackenzie, founder of recruitment agency Mackenzie Jones Middle East

About Housecall

Date started: July 2020

Founders: Omar and Humaid Alzaabi

Based: Abu Dhabi

Sector: HealthTech

# of staff: 10

Funding to date: Self-funded

if you go

The flights
Emirates flies to Delhi with fares starting from around Dh760 return, while Etihad fares cost about Dh783 return. From Delhi, there are connecting flights to Lucknow. 
Where to stay
It is advisable to stay in Lucknow and make a day trip to Kannauj. A stay at the Lebua Lucknow hotel, a traditional Lucknowi mansion, is recommended. Prices start from Dh300 per night (excluding taxes). 

What is Diwali?

The Hindu festival is at once a celebration of the autumn harvest and the triumph of good over evil, as outlined in the Ramayana.

According to the Sanskrit epic, penned by the sage Valmiki, Diwali marks the time that the exiled king Rama – a mortal with superhuman powers – returned home to the city of Ayodhya with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman, after vanquishing the 10-headed demon Ravana and conquering his kingdom of Lanka. The people of Ayodhya are believed to have lit thousands of earthen lamps to illuminate the city and to guide the royal family home.

In its current iteration, Diwali is celebrated with a puja to welcome the goodness of prosperity Lakshmi (an incarnation of Sita) into the home, which is decorated with diyas (oil lamps) or fairy lights and rangoli designs with coloured powder. Fireworks light up the sky in some parts of the word, and sweetmeats are made (or bought) by most households. It is customary to get new clothes stitched, and visit friends and family to exchange gifts and greetings.  


Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000


Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5



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