Affecting Change After "Women War & Peace"

Abigail Disney and Sue Monk Kidd discuss ways women can help build peace in society.

women war and peace
(Image credit: Archives)

Abigail Disney, the award-winning filmmaker of the PBS series "Women War & Peace," has told the stories of brave women around the world who are changing the way we think about peace—including this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner, Leymah Gbowee of Liberia. Sue Monk Kidd, the bestselling author of the novel-turned-film The Secret Life of Bees has focused her narratives around strong women and the communities they build to overcome problems like domestic violence. The two women sat down to discuss a question they often hear from their female fans:What can I do to help?

Disney begins, "People have told me that the story of peace is too controversial. We need to build a narrative and a culture around peace that's as vivid, productive and tempting as the culture of violence we've built." To transform this mythology of peace into reality, Disney calls on peacebuilders, a term coined by Gbowee to describe the powerful women not afraid to take risks during the peace process. According to Kidd, this inspiration to take action must come from inside. "There's a gap somehow between empathy and activism. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of 'soulforce' — something that emanates from a deep truth inside of us and empowers us to act. Once you identify your inner genius, you will be able to take action, whether it's writing a check or digging a well."

Disney continues, "The more time I spent with Leymah in covering the war in Liberia, the more I realized that there were extraordinary women just like her across the country who were playing a vital role in the peace process by challenging conventional wisdom. Have the courage to take a long look at what you care about, and don't give up."

The final episode of Women War & Peace will air at 10 p.m. EST on PBS on Tuesday, November 8th. For more info on the series, check out our previous coverage here.