Nonviolence: Does Gender Matter?

Authored by: Carol Flinders

Categories: Conflict Prevention
Sub-Categories: Nonviolent Resistance
Region: No Region
Year: 2006
Citation: Flinders, Carol. "Nonviolence: Does Gender Matter?" PeacePowers 2, no. 2 (2006): 20-21.

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Thinking, as I’ve been asked to do, about women and nonviolence, I found myself wondering what difference gender actually makes in the way an individual embraces and practices nonviolence. It felt like an odd question to raise, because the heroes and heroines of nonviolence have a fine way of transcending conventional gender scripts altogether. The almost maternal gentleness of a Cesar Chavez and the unyielding courage of an Aung San Suu Kyi (of the Burmese freedom struggle) confirm our sense that as a human being is “taken over” by the core tenet of nonviolence— the conviction that all of life is one – gender in the ordinary sense becomes meaningless. That said, I have to add that the life stories of women whose names are, for me, synonymous with nonviolence do take on fresh meaning when read from the standpoint of gender. I’m inclined to think our understanding of nonviolence itself gets deepened in the process as well.