Mrs. Carolyn Handschin started her presentation by citing the courage of the Mirabal sisters, four Dominican political dissidents who opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. On November 25, 1960, three of the sisters were assassinated. In 1999, the sisters received recognition by the United Nations General Assembly, who designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in their honour.
These sisters did not consider themselves leaders: Leadership does not demand a title, but a mind-set to act when things need to be done. Citing UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which “reaffirms the important role of women and calls for their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security”, she said that nevertheless thatwhat women should bring to the table is their feminine qualities to complement the masculine ones.
Carolyn called for a paradigm shift to a system of shared leadership from matriarchy and patriarchy to what she termed, “Familiarchy”, in which, citing UNESCO, she said that ennobling the relations between men and women, partners in development and peace, would involve charting a new depth of intellectual, emotional, spiritual dimensions of masculinity and femininity.
Author: Mrs. Carolyn Handschin-Moser
Vice President, Women’s Federation for World Peace International (WFWPI)
Mrs. Handschin-Moser is overseeing the development of WFWP (www.wfwp.org) in Europe. Before becoming the Director of the UN Office for WFWPI, she led its advocacy team at the United Nations in Geneva for 19 years, focusing on peace and human rights through the empowerment of women and girls and protection of the family. Her concern for youth led her to found the WFWPI-UN Internship program in Geneva in 2005, where she is the Director. She has been the co-coordinator of the Middle East Women’s Conference Series for 12 years. Mrs. Handschin is also co-founder of the Geneva Interfaith Intercultural Alliance (www.giia.ch), a youth Model UN Interfaith Council Program. She has seven children, three granddaughters and a supportive husband who are a resource and inspiration for her work.