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Can women find unique ways out of war?

Women leaders from 45 nations meet in India this week to discuss their role in conflict resolution.

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Sakena Yacoobi well knows the hardships of Afghan women, caught between a war and the hopelessness of poverty and illiteracy.

Yet on International Women's Day Saturday, the Afghan educator will not ask the world to help Afghan women. Instead, she will ask Afghan women to help the world.

In a time of growing conflict around the world, she believes the wisdom and compassion of women can offer a way out. "Women bring tolerance and patience," she says. "Women can bring solutions – we cannot accomplish that with weapons."

She is one of several hundred prominent female leaders from 45 countries who have come to India this week to seek ways to raise women's voices worldwide, hoping that their ideas – so often ignored – begin to move the world away from war.

It is a unique approach to International Women's Day – and intentionally so, says Dena Merriam, who has organized "Making Way for the Feminine," a five-day conference that began Thursday in Jaipur.

"This is not about empowering women," says Ms. Merriam, who also co-chaired the United Nations' Millennium World Peace Summit in 2000. "It is about how women can transform society to help us find new ways of addressing conflict."

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