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    FARC's women fighters. | Photo: AFP

Published 6 July 2017

"The commitment of Colombian women made it possible to build the gender perspective within the Peace Agreements,” said FARC member Victoria Sandino.

The more than 140 women that participated in the Havana peace process met Wednesday to present their new book which highlights women’s contributions to Colombia’s peace deal.

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Titled, "Experiences, Contributions and Recognition: Women in the Havana Peace Process," the book explores how women’s activism has shaped the peace deal’s path.

A collaboration between the Corporation of Research, Social and Economic Action and the Humanas Corporation, the book brings to life the voices of the women involved in the years-long negotiations.

The authors' note that they conducted the research because "even today, many women who significantly contributed to the progress of the peace talks and the achievement of the final peace agreement remain anonymous."

Victoria Sandino, a representative of women in the the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, who was present during the peace talks, commented, "The commitment of Colombian women made it possible to build the gender perspective within the Peace Agreements, where we managed to keep the agreements (after the opposition to the gender approach presented by conservative political sectors) and today we continue fighting for this gender perspective to be maintained."

The FARC, the largest leftist guerrilla army in the country, handed in the last of its weapons to the United Nations at the end of June. The disarmament marks a major milestone, with the FARC now transitioning into a political entity after over 52 years of armed conflict against the government.

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Helena Ambrosi, one woman who was interviewed from the government negotiating team, who helped create the Gender Subcommittee in 2014, told the researchers that her involvement was “an enriching and learning experience."

The path to peace, however, has not been seamless. Murders of activists have been on the rise as right-wing paramilitaries continue to be a strong presence in the country, moving into areas abandoned by the FARC, while some policies have been stalled by the government of President Manual Santos, leading to concern at various points from the FARC leadership that the full promises of the peace deal will not be actualized.

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