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Syrian women demand voice, representative at UN-brokered peace talks

A group of Syrian women is demanding that the U.N. appoint a gender adviser and make other efforts to reflect their voices at Geneva peace talks aimed at ending the country's civil war.

Participants in a two-day conference for Syrian women sponsored by the U.N. and the Netherlands say the talks planned next week must include women's representatives and push for constitutionally guaranteed equality between women and men, if there is to be lasting peace.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of U.N. Women, told a news conference Monday the women are forming a team to coordinate with peace negotiators.

A prominent Syrian activist, Kefah ali Deeb, said the women must be heard because "no less than 80 percent" of all 9.3 million Syrians who need aid are women and children.