Declaration of the Nobel Women’s Initiative Conference
Women Redefining Democracy for Peace, Justice and Equality
May 10-12, 2009
[The declaration was drafted by JASS board members: Malena de Montis and Srilatha Batliwala with input from all participants.]
We call upon all states and multilateral institutions to recognize that the democratization process is incomplete, and does not end with elections. No country or society can claim to be democratic when the women who form half its citizens are denied their right to life, to their human rights and entitlements, and to safety and security. Despite this, we women have made extraordinary efforts to democratize the institutions of society that frame our lives and the well-being of all humanity – the family, the community, clan, tribe, ethnic or religious group, political, legal, economic, social and cultural structures, and the media and communications systems. But our search for justice is continually overwhelmed by the violence perpetrated upon us, by the exploitation and colonization of our bodies, our labor, and our lands; by militarization, war and civil conflict; by persistent and increasing poverty; and by environmental degradation. All of these forces affect us, and our children, far more severely and in unique ways. We know that democracy that comes from the heart is not the rule of the majority, but safeguards dissent and difference with equal rights, and fosters a culture of peace. We are in search of democracy that transforms not just our lives, but all society – and we will not be silenced until it is achieved in every part of the world.