Every day the news reminds us that there are conflicts happening all over the world, and it’s hard not to feel a little hopeless sometimes. In the past ten years peace has declined worldwide by 2.14% and the gap between the most and least peaceful countries continues to grow. What does all of this mean? More than ever, we need to work toward creating peace and reducing conflict worldwide. Luckily we already know how to do it: involve more women in the peacebuilding process. Because when women are involved, a peace agreement is 35% more likely to last at least 15 years.
More women equals more peace; sounds great right? The first step is to empower women to get a seat at a table, and one of the best ways to become a peacebuilder is by playing sports. Studies show that children who play sports learn important skills and values critical to peacebuilding. That’s a whole new generation learning how to create a better future. Wondering what changes the most when we play sports together?
Another important factor: The most effective interventions happen at a young age. Sports teaches children values that they can apply later in life. Kids who play sports become adults who are empowered to be respectful and responsible.
Sports bring people together. Two infamously divisive countries have agreed to unite for the 2018 Winter Olympics. North Korea and South Korea will march together at the games under a unified flag. Maybe it’s not a permanent resolution, but it’s pretty amazing that nuclear threats are canceled, at least for the duration of women’s ice hockey.
Speaking about the Olympics, there’s one thing you should know: It’s a hotspot for human trafficking. Remember that doesn’t just mean sex trafficking, it also means forced labor and the exploitation of migrant workers. Want to understand the downside of large sporting events?
If you want more info on trafficking, check out our module on the subject here. Otherwise, read on to learn more about the surprising ways sports can help us all to heal: