SEED’s Co-Founder and Vice President Tanya Gilly Khailany, was one of eight speakers during TEDxNishtimanWomen on November 3 in Saad Abdullah Hall in Erbil, Kurdistan Region. Tanya’s speech was about the importance of women’s participation in building peace.

“Women’s priorities tend to be different than those of men, Women experience war and peace differently, and women needs and wants are different. When women are excluded from the decision making process, our vision, our priorities, our wants, and our needs are not included in shaping the future.”

She gave examples from around the globe of women demanding to be heard. She talked about the 2003 sex strike of Liberia, when Christian and Muslim women came together and held a sex strike against their partners, to force them to start peace talks. Also, the 1990s women march from Sulaimani to Erbil whose participants parliament building and staged a sit-in. They succeeded in imposing a temporary cease-fire.

“As women, if we are 50 percent of society, and the mother of the other 50 percent, why are we not partaking in the peace process?” She gives some pointers on how we – women and men – can achieve this: start small with families and communities; the more people you have, the faster the word spreads; use all tools available, from Facebook and Twitter, to lobbying and town hall meetings; and finally use international mechanisms for promotion.



Watch Tanya’s speech.

PHOTOS: Department of Foreign Relations