WILPF Advocacy Documents


Genetic Engineering, Reproduction Technologies, Human Genetics and Population Policies

Human Rights | Sexual and Reproductive Rights | Women’s Human Rights
24 July 1989
Document type:
Body submitted to:

The 24th Triennial Congress of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, 14-25 July, 1989 in Sydney, Australia:

“Human dignity is inviolable”.  Most developments in natural science however tend towards a dismemberment of men and nature into always smaller components.  In all industrial nations we find large projects which are feverish at work analyzing the genes of men to make it available in industry and population planning and in social control.

While human genetics today is mainly concerned with the selection and eradication of life allegedly unworthy to exist, genetic engineering is intended to produce the instruments to render possible a correcting interference in the human gene. In addition, the disposability of the human hereditary material is being ensured by reproduction medicine which in the last resort reduces women and men to donors of ovum and sperm.  By transferring insemination into a receptacle, the parents lose any chance of control.

Human genetics works in its various sectors to register the human genes, to define the individual gene as “good” or “bad”, to apply such definition in order to select people, e.g. by the screening of work applicants, and eugenics in pre-natal diagnosis (see National Socialist Program).

It is not by accident that up to now it has been mostly women who have offered resistance to the new technologies in their various forms. Even though they have not been explicitly named by the planners, women are in most fields exclusively concerned.

Women are the objects in the whole field of pre-natal diagnosis, they have to submit to the results of human genetic examination and in-vitro fertilization. Women supply the uteruses for surrogate motherhood and the ovaries for the production of embryos for embryonic research. 

Women are the objects of the programs for population planning which have at first sight humane goals, but which aim at the comprehensive organization of human societies according to the criteria of efficiency and utilisability.

Self-determination, human dignity and the elemental right of life is taken from women. But this also means that scientists, medical men, social planners, economic strategists and political leaders are dependent on the readiness of women to participate or at least to keep quiet.

This development has just such an explosive effect as has the development of new weapon technologies. Men and nature are endangered in their basic existence in a way never known before.

Congress is asked to resolve:

  • that WILPF declare its opposition in principle to the development, application and justification of genetics and reproduction technologies and advocates their prohibition and abolition;
  • that WILPF also rejects all national and international programs of population planning and human genetics when they are based on these technologies;
  • WILPF  SHOULD DEVELOP CONCRETE WAYS OF ACTION against the new technologies and cooperate in this with women groups and organizations which have already critically engaged in the issues of genetic and reproduction technologies and have offered resistance to them in public (e.g. Feminist International Network of Resistance against Reproduction and Genetic Technologies FINRRAGE, Groningen, The Netherlands, founded 1984)
  • WILPF turns against criminalizing women and women’s groups that advocate unequivocal challenging points of view to genetic and reproduction technologies.

Congress is asked to resolve:

  • that the officers and the International Office in Geneva present this subject to the commissions and bodies on international and intercontinental levels and ask the sections to do the same on national levels, in order to press for the abolition and proscription of genetic engineering and reproduction technologies and their effects–or at least for a comprehensive control with the participation of critical women.

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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Militarised masculinity

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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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