Invited by Nobel Women’s Initiative and Kvinna till Kvinna foundation to the meeting on November 16, 2015 organized at 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Hotel Moskva in Belgrade, Reconstruction Women’s Fund was honored to participate and exchange experiences on refugee crisis.
After the meeting we posed a couple of questions to the Nobel Prize for Peace laureate Jody Williams (USA).
RWF: Do you think it’s important to invest in women’s human rights?
JW: You know, it is a curiosity – because there is so much political rhetoric about the importance of women and the importance of women, peace and security and peace building and importance of educating women and girls, and at the same time, funding for women’s organizations doing the daily work to empower other women and move the issues forward is diminishing. That, to me, is insanity, that means that words are just words, not reality in the minds of the politicians.
You know, one thing that is happening right now in European counties: they are starting to cut back grants to women’s organizations because of the refugee crisis. Hello! Those are the organizations that are trying to support and empower women to be involved in peace keeping, peace building etc. So, if you are dealing with the humanitarian crisis which needs to be dealt with – in short and immediate term, but we are trying to make it in the long term – and if the money is cut, it makes it very difficult. My suggestion: cut the fucking military budget. Don’t buy a new plane – give that money to women’s organizations that are working to bring about change.
RWF: But it’s actually the trend now to invest more in weapons…
JW: Yeah, I know, militarization is increasing horribly, and in my country, of course…
RWF: Do you think it’s important to have women’s feminist foundations and why?
JW: You mean feminist foundations that give money to women? Absolutely. If it’s a feminist foundation, clearly it recognizes that critical importance of women’s work in supporting and promoting women’s human rights. Feminists recognize that when you support and promote women’s human rights, you are actually supporting and promoting everybody’s human rights. It is fundamental. I’ll just end saying that two of my favourite male Nobel peace prize laureates – Archbishop Tutu and His Holiness the Dalai Lama – both hilarious and very good human beings – they have said multiple times, which is awesome, that men have been destroying life for millennia and it is time for men to step aside and let women come in and clean up the mess.
JW: You are welcome.
Interview: Zoe Gudović
Photo: Milica Miražić