WILPF Advocacy Documents


HRC40: Statement on International Women’s Day

Human Rights | Human Rights Defenders | Women’s Human Rights
8 March 2019
Document type:
Body submitted to:

UN Human Rights Council 40th session (25 February – 22 March 2019)

WILPF Statement on International Women’s Day
8 March 2019

Women are working at the frontlines of peace, disarmament, development, humanitarian aid and human rights. Women’s movements offer alternatives to realpolitik.  Women activists do not shy away from addressing internationalised and localised militarism.  They organise and fight exclusion, discrimination and patriarchy.

Over one hundred years ago, suffragettes designated this day to celebrate and to protest. And like the suffragettes, we have a lot to celebrate women’s leadership here in this room and around the world, and the gains that we have made in the past decades.

We remember all the women and girls who can’t be with us, those who lost their lives in their own homes or in unjust wars; those who have been murdered or disappeared for being human rights defenders or because of their identity. For them, and for us all, we need to continue the protest.

Women challenge and dismiss the assumption that only men with guns have legitimacy to negotiate peace. Women are mobilising for participation in peace processes on the Korean peninsula, and in Libya, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Yemen, Western Sahara, Syria.

The persistent underfunding of women’s organisations creates significant barriers to our work. Austerity measures impact the economic and social rights of women, which in turn limits their participation. Militarism and corporate greed further squander valuable resources instead of making financing available for the realisation of human rights and, indeed, the attainment of the SDGs.

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom calls on all States and the UN to take bold actions to counter chauvinistic nationalism and use your political will, human rights norms, and the Human Rights Council to address and transform inequalities.

Though women are oppressed, we are not powerless. We will continue to speak out.

The struggle for human rights continues every day in our home, in our workplace, in schools, in refugee camps, in conflict areas and here in UN. We urge people everywhere wherever you are to join the protest.

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

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Mauris facilisis luctus rhoncus. Praesent eget tellus sit amet enim consectetur condimentum et vel ante. Nulla facilisi. Suspendisse et nunc sem. Vivamus ullamcorper vestibulum neque, a interdum nisl accumsan ac. Cras ut condimentum turpis. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia curae; Curabitur efficitur gravida ipsum, quis ultricies erat iaculis pellentesque. Nulla congue iaculis feugiat. Suspendisse euismod congue ultricies. Sed blandit neque in libero ultricies aliquam. Donec euismod eget diam vitae vehicula. Fusce hendrerit purus leo. Aenean malesuada, ante eu aliquet mollis, diam erat suscipit eros, in.


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.

Skip to content