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A Word From the President 

WILPF’s President Joy Onyesoh reflects on 2018, a year that has been one of change as we broadened and deepened our movement.

Image credit: WILPF
Joy Onyesoh
2 January 2019

As we gradually draw the curtains in 2018, we need to pause and reflect on how this year has been one of change as we broadened and deepened our movement.

We have had opportunities to dialogue and reflect on what feminist peace means to us as individuals and as a movement. We are steadily expanding our space for more inclusive and robust participation, leading the change process in what we seek to see in the world. Our movement is a microcosm of the global world, and we have a shared responsibility in ensuring that we have a movement that is representative of what we seek.

Our founding mothers 103 years ago, understood that diversity is one of our strengths and worked to build this space that we now thrive in. We must be determined to call our privileges in all its manifestations within our movement so that we have the moral grounds to challenge its functionality in the larger society. We also need to be more tolerant of our differences and find strength in our diversity.

Last November, we launched our ”Towards a Feminist Security Council” Guidance Note. In this guide we concretely explained and showed what a Feminist Security Council would look like, we are thus lifting the bar in ensuring that feminist peace is entrenched at all levels. Early December, WILPF facilitated a dialogue of African Women Mediators from over fifteen countries. The focus of the dialogue was on women working in conflict-affected communities and how to bring and elevate their experience and expertise into mediation networks, from the national to the international. WILPF is gradually increasing its visibility in Africa on pushing for a feminist peace movement that recognises the importance of women at Tracks 1, 2 and 3 Peace processes.

The new year 2019, is another opportunity for us to deepen our interventions and I invite everyone to come on board this train of change. It is obvious that the world can not be sustained on the current patriarchal and military realities. We need to challenge militarism on all fronts and in all its different forms. We can not give up the struggle, rather we must invest in strategic ways of pushing through and dismantling patriarchal structures through our feminist peace agenda.

In Peace,

Joy Onyesoh

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Joy Onyesoh

Joy Ada Onyesoh is a passionate feminist peacebuilder. She is the Director of WILPF Nigeria and was an International Vice-President of WILPF between 2014 and 2018. She has over a decade of experience working as a consultant on Women Peace and Security as well as five-year of experience in transformative leadership. In her role as WILPF International President, Joy sustains movement building, by embracing the transformation of gendered power structures and engaging Sections in content sharing through various medium.

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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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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