PEI

Peace Table aims to empower women through dialogue

Nearly 50 women gathered in Charlottetown Friday to participate in the Island's first Women's Peace Table, a worldwide initiative that questions why more women aren't part of peace negotiations and other decision making.

Island women take part in worldwide initiative about including women in decision making

A group of women discuss education at the first Women's Peace Table event held in P.E.I. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC News)

Nearly 50 women gathered in Charlottetown Friday to participate in the Island's first Women's Peace Table, a worldwide initiative that questions why more women aren't part of peace negotiations and other decision making.

P.E.I. psychologist and peace activist Susan Hartley is co-ordinating the global Women's Peace Tables Worldwide campaign. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC News)

"Inclusion and diversity increases the possibility there will be more security in the world," said Susan Hartley, who is co-ordinating the global campaign. "A better economy, healthier families, healthier communities, better justice, all those topics are what we are talking about today and we're getting people's ideas about how to make a difference."

8 topics for discussion

The women congregated at eight tables to discuss everything from business and employment to arts and media, education and health care.

The idea is that including more women in conversations like these will result in better outcomes for communities everywhere. 

Nancy Clement, one of the organizers of the event, says it offers people from different cultures, experiences and language groups a voice. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC News)

"What if women were at every table in terms of decision making?" asked Nancy Clement, one of the event organizers. "What if their voice was equally heard? How would that change decisions around education, safety of communities, social justice and economic justice?"

Together, we are so much more'

Clement says the event offers people from different cultures, experiences and language groups a voice that isn't always heard when decisions are made in board rooms, courtrooms or government offices.

Mari Basiletti participated in a discussion on physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health. She said bringing people together is key to identifying barriers and generating ideas.

Helena Emami participated in the event to help brainstorm ways to get women more involved in decision making. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC News)

"Together, we are so much more ... We really learn from each other. That's why it's so good to be together."

Participant Helena Emami says women need more opportunities like these for mentorship, education and networking. She likes the idea of an initiative aimed at getting women more involved in decision-making.

40 countries

"I love these discussions because everywhere I feel I can add value and contribute to society and do something meaningful," she said.

The Women's Peace Tables Worldwide initiative launched earlier this year and since then more than 100 peace tables have been held in 40 countries.

This first instalment of the event on P.E.I. was organized by the PEI Coalition for Women in Government, the Interministerial Women's Secretariat, the P.E.I. Advisory Council on the Status of Women, the PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada, Reading Town Canada, Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan and the Cooper Institute.

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