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101 Years of Commitment to Peacemaking

28 April 2016

On this day, one year ago, more than 1,000 women activists from all corners of the world gathered in The Hague, the Netherlands, to celebrate 100 years of activism for peace. WILPF’s Centennial Conference marked the start of the #WomenStopWar Movement, WILPF’s contribution to reorganise and reenergise the social movement for peace and justice.

Commitment to Peace
Cover of video - click on it to access the video on YouTube
“It is time to stand up, sisters and brothers”. See the video from the Centennial Conference, which took place from the 26-29 April 2015. On the 28 April 2015, WILPF turned 100.

The Conference was a decisive moment for reflecting upon the challenges of our time and looking at the root causes of conflict and gendered power relations that still shape our world. In full WILPF’s spirit, the Conference also represented the chance to discuss how to build new partnerships and strengthen our commitment to do away with patriarchy, capitalism, racism, and militarism.

One year ago we asked people to reimagine peace and support the global movement. Hundreds of participants wrote a private pledge on how they wanted to commit to peacemaking for the years to come.

Today, on our 101st birthday, we are sharing some of those pledges and looking forward to our collective action to liberate women’s power to stop war.

I pledge to contribute my part of the joint efforts towards equality, sustainable peace and justice for all and towards systematic and transformative change for the sake of our planet, eco-systems and people.” 

“I pledge to advocate for education of our exposure to violence in the media, in learning and transmitting the art of peaceful, respectful conflict negotiation and solution, from smaller to bigger conflicts, to encourage people especially young ones to live in peace as a goal in life.” 

“I pledge to not be silent on all forms of abuse of power directed to women and girls and to help men understand that we are not born violent and that we can live peacefully in respect of human rights and uphold human dignity!” 

“I pledge to work for a just, equal and war-free world where people can move across borders without impediments (no more deaths in the Mediterranean) and where ideologies such as racism and fascism will be history.”

Working towards peace

At WILPF, we are working relentlessly to amplified your voices and sustain the hopes and pursuit you expressed in your pledges.

During the past year we have started working on corporate accountability, linking militarisation, corporate power and women’s human rights. We have brought the voices of women in Nigeria, Libya, DRC, Syria, Colombia, and Ukraine to the UN human rights bodies, advocating for women’s participation and demanding corporate accountability.

2015 was also the year of the 15th anniversary of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action. In the midst of these commemorations, WILPF continued to advocate for strengthening the Women Peace and Security Agenda and moved quickly from words to action.

WILPF also saw progressive developments on several of its political objectives related to disarmament and arms control. Among the highlights, we saw a greater international commitment to end the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and we published an overview of the legal gaps associated with nuclear weapons.

We want to hear from you

WSW imageWe are still far from the goal, but if we all keep working on our pledges, then each day we will get one millimetre closer.

Thank you for your contributions to the movement the last year. Please share with us in the comment field, what you have been working on since we gathered in The Hague. Or share your pledge with the entire world! Either re-post your pledge from the Conference (if you were there) or pledge today and share your pledge on social media using the hashtag #WomenStopWar.

Read more pledges. 

Share your experience from the past year with us in the comment field below.

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Melissa Torres

VICE-PRESIDENT

Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani

VICE-PRESIDENT

Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo

PRESIDENT

Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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Demilitarisation

WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

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