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Women Always Lose In War — That's Why They Can Help End Them

Negotiators working to end Colombia's decades-long civil war are seeing women as a critical component of lasting social and political peace.

A 2008 protest in Colombia calling for the release of FARC kidnapping victims
A 2008 protest in Colombia calling for the release of FARC kidnapping victims
Farid Kahhat


LIMA — Most people know about the peace talks between Colombia's government and the insurgent Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which are expected to end the country's decades-long civil war.

But few know about the focus on gender in these talks.

One government negotiator, María Paulina Riveros, observed it was necessary to give particular attention to women because they were suffering "specifically and disproportionately the effects of the conflict." Research has already shown that not all parts of a society suffer an armed conflict in the same manner. Some groups suffer more than others.

Young men, for example, are more inclined to take up arms and face a greater risk of dying in extra-judicial executions. In turn, they also benefit from conflict, as young men are rewarded both socially and politically for bearing arms. Fighting also gives them privileged access to economic resources.

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María Paulina Riveros — Photo: Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos

In a war, women are far more likely to become victims of crimes like sexual violence and trafficking. During periods of conflict, raping women is often a strategy to access territories or resources.

Levels of poverty among women rise 30% in countries embroiled in conflict, according to a study sponsored by the World Bank. Poorer countries are, of course, more likely to suffer conflict, which feeds a vicious cycle. Another World Bank study finds that political violence is becoming the first cause of poverty as an increasing number of countries get caught in recurring cycles of political unrest. Some 90% of the countries that suffered civil wars between 2000 and 2011 had gone through a civil war in the preceding three decades.

Recent research suggests that including the wartime experiences of women, though not those few on the front lines, can help in both preventing and resolving armed conflicts.

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Is Disney's "Wish" Spreading A Subtle Anti-Christian Message To Kids?

Disney's new movie "Wish" is being touted as a new children's blockbuster to celebrate the company's 100th anniversary. But some Christians may see the portrayal of the villain as God-like and turning wishes into prayers as the ultimate denial of the true message of Christmas.

photo of a kid running out of a church

For the Christmas holiday season?

Joseph Holmes

Christians have always had a love-hate relationship with Disney since I can remember. Growing up in the Christian culture of the 1990s and early 2000s, all the Christian parents I knew loved watching Disney movies with their kids – but have always had an uncomfortable relationship with some of its messages. It was due to the constant Disney tropes of “follow your heart philosophy” and “junior knows best” disdain for authority figures like parents that angered so many. Even so, most Christians felt the benefits had outweighed the costs.

That all seems to have changed as of late, with Disney being hit more and more by claims from conservatives (including Christian conservatives) that Disney is pushing more and more radical progressive social agendas, This has coincided with a steep drop at the box office for Disney.

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