Press release: Photoville exhibition spotlights women peace activists and women’s role in peacemaking

In Their Hands: Women Taking Ownership of Peace

Date: Wednesday, September 15, 2021

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New York, 13 September 2021 — The United Nations Department of Peace Operations, in collaboration with the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, UN Women and in partnership with New York City’s flagship photography festival, Photoville, is launching a photo exhibition highlighting the work of women peace activists as seen through the eyes of women photographers.

The UN has partnered with local women photographers, who are not only documenting the stories of women striving to build peace in their communities, but who also share in those very struggles themselves. “When I capture the faces and voices of these women, I feel hope and pride,” said Malian photographer Kani Sissoko. “This work allows me to [have a] dialogue with the future generation, to show that a woman belongs anywhere and not only at home.”

The In Their Hands: Women Taking Ownership of Peace exhibition will premiere at the New York Photoville festival, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1, on 18 September at 7 p.m. EDT. The exhibition profiles 14 women from around the world who have mediated with armed groups, participated in peace talks, advanced political solutions and advocated for women’s rights and participation. Their stories come from the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, South Sudan, Sudan, Lebanon, Yemen and Colombia. 

Colombian indigenous leader Daniela Soto, who is featured in the project, contributes to social transformation through her ‘Cauca Youth Peace Agenda’ - a network of 17 groups of Afro-Colombian, indigenous, rural and urban youth advocating for inclusive youth policies: “[It] is not only in my hands, but it is the responsibility of everyone in this society,” she said.

“Today, let’s be clear, women’s leadership is a cause - we must make it a norm. That is how we will transform international peace and security,” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres stated. “Our partnerships with women leaders and their networks have proven critical to build trust and help prevent and resolve conflicts,” the Secretary-General stressed.

Despite progress over the past few years, women are still frequently excluded from formal peace processes and decision-making and their diverse experiences, knowledge and expertise often go unrecognized and underutilized. Data through 2019 show that globally, women constituted only 13 percent of negotiators, six percent of mediators and six percent of signatories.

The exhibition will also be showcased at UN Headquarters in the margins of the Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security in October, and in Seoul, Republic of Korea, at the Peacekeeping Ministerial in December 2021. It will then travel to several peace operations in Africa before being put on display next to the Ruth Bader Ginsburg statue in City Point, downtown Brooklyn, to mark International Women’s Day on 8 March 2022.

The ‘In Their Hands: Women Taking Ownership of Peace’ exhibition is supported by the Permanent Missions to the United Nations of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Kenya and the Government of Norway, in partnership with Kenya Airways.

The exhibition is on view from 18 September until 1 December 2021 at the Photoville Festival, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1, New York City.

Find out more: https://photoville.nyc/in-your-hands-women-taking-ownership-of-peace/

Download the digital assets: https://trello.com/b/7JgITgAr/in-their-hands-women-taking-ownership-of-peace

Note to the editors: The ‘In Their Hands: Women Taking Ownership of Peace’ photo exhibition is underpinned by the principles outlined in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) and subsequent nine resolutions on Women, Peace and Security. The resolutions recognize the importance of women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in conflict resolution and the need for increased women’s participation at peacemaking and decision-making at all levels in peace processes.

Media contacts:

Sophie Boudre
UN Department of Peace Operations
Tel.: +1 (917) 691-5359
E-Mail: boudre@un.org

Laura Gees
UN Department of Peacebuilding and Political Affairs
Tel.: +1 (917) 367-3882 
E-Mail: gees@un.org 

UN Women Media Team
E-Mail: media.team@unwomen.org