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Who's missing at the negotiation table?

The above photo of what appears to be a males-only meeting sparked anger on Thursday when the social media world discovered that this particular meeting convened, in part, to negotiate certain important women’s healthcare issues.

The snapshot seemed to speak its thousand words about the state of representation of women in public policymaking— even with regard to issues that directly and disproportionately affect them.

Pictures and percentages generate plenty of points of discussion on legitimate representation. For example, if we emphasize percentages, we may fail to incorporate minority voices or fail to recognize that some issues more greatly affect certain segments of our population.

Images like the photo depicting this White House meeting on women’s health rightfully draw our attention to this quality v. quantity representation debate. Leveling the playing field for women is an expanding topic in social intervention circles.

Therefore, in hopes to spark a similar empowerment/representation debate, here are few pictures for you to examine:

And here are some percentages:

  • Today, an estimated 300,000 children in more than 80 countries are participating in armed conflict.

  • Every estimate of direct conflict deaths suggests that more than 90% of all casualties occur among young adult males [UNFPA, State of World Population 2015, p.21,]

  • In 2011, around 14 million youth were forcibly displaced by conflict and disasters. Today, that number is much higher. [PBSO, 2014,]

Yet, even with these jarring statistics and images, how often do we see pictures of peace talks and reconciliation efforts that look like this?

How often and how effectively do we open doors for youth to represent the voice of their peers — especially on issues in which they are the primary stakeholders?

At CourtVision International, we build capacity for youth leadership on issues that really matter. We prepare young leaders for roles in conflict transformation and citizen diplomacy, and we help build capacity for communities and organizations to further incorporate a youth perspective in their policymaking efforts.

We would love to hear your thoughts, opinions, and even criticisms about the way we go about doing this — and on this topic in general. Comment below your thoughts on any of these issues, or contact me at to get involved in one our international projects, live stream webinars, or social media campaigns.

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