Women Cite Utility in Peace Efforts

   •    January 25, 2008

This article was originally published by The Washington Times.

The men were supposed to be ending the war in Liberia, but they were getting nowhere. Talks were deadlocked; fighting was still raging in the countryside.

A group of women, frustrated by years of war and the loss of husbands and children, finally took matters into their own hands by surrounding the building and threatening to take off their clothes.

It worked. By embarrassing the men and threatening to break a taboo on female nudity, the “sex for peace” campaign, waged by activists such as Asatu Bah-Kenneth, forced the men to settle their differences.

Mrs. Bah-Kenneth, now the deputy inspector-general of police for administration in Liberia, told the story this week to 400 participants at a Washington forum on the role of women in national and regional security.

Delegates from Afghanistan, Colombia, Liberia, Haiti, Israel and Palestinian territories participated in round-table discussions with the State Department, U.S. armed forces, police and advocacy organizations at the forum, sponsored by the Cambridge, Mass.-based Hunt Alternatives Fund, run by former U.S. Ambassador Swanee Hunt.

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