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#WILPFAnniversary

Celebrating WILPF’s 107th anniversary!

Today, we’re celebrating WILPF’s 107th anniversary and we invite you to join us! 

Image credit: WILPF
WILPF International Secretariat
28 April 2022

On this day in 1915, WILPF’s roots began to take hold when 1,136 activists for women’s voting rights and peace gathered in The Hague as the First World War raged in Europe.

At the meeting, the activists engaged in dialogue about the root causes of war and committed to taking action to help end the suffering. Together, they established the International Women’s Committee of Permanent Peace; in 1919, the Committee was officially renamed the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) – now a global feminist peace organisation with representation in more than 50 countries worldwide. 

We invite you to delve into our storied past by reading our WILPF Heritage Month zine, our Herstory page, and our timeline. And if you’re interested in helping to shape our future, consider becoming a member or donor today! 

While you’re here, take a moment to check out these incredible highlights from the past 107 years. 

Strong beginnings 

WILPF’s global movement for feminist peace started strong! Within the first five years of our founding as the International Women’s Committee of Permanent Peace in 1915, 19 Sections had launched around the world. Among them was WILPF Japan, which was created in 1921 as one of our first Sections outside of Europe and remains active today! 

Advocating for the creation of the League of Nations 

Throughout the 1920s, as nationalism and fascism took root in the wake of the First World War, WILPF members advocated for the creation of a League of Nations – a group of nations committed to taking diplomatic, peaceful approaches to the prevention and resolution of war. The League of Nations was established in 1919, and in 1944 it was dissolved and replaced by the United Nations. 

Creating a women-only peace encampment 

In 1983, WILPF co-founded Seneca Camp near a US army base to protest against the imminent deployment of nuclear missiles to Western Europe. 

The camp was soon dubbed the Women’s Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice (WEFPJ) and was reserved entirely for women. Learn more about it in our zine or watch this video.

Advocating for a nuclear-free world 

WILPF has been on the forefront of advocating for a nuclear-free world since the 1950s. In 1999, we established Reaching Critical Will (RCW) – a programme dedicated to leading WILPF’s analysis and advocacy for disarmament. RCW works closely with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), of which WILPF is a steering group member. 

In 2021, our years of advocacy efforts and analysis played a critical role in the achievement of a historic milestone: the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which was adopted in 2017. The first treaty to recognise the disproportionate impact of nuclear weapons on Indigenous peoples and on women, TPNW represents a major step towards nuclear disarmament. 

Shaping Future WILPF

So far in 2022, WILPF’s international community has been busy creating our next International Programme – a global strategy that will guide our continued evolution and impact as the world’s longest-standing women’s peace organisation. Members from all over the world have been involved in the process as we prepare to present the strategy at Congress in July 2022. Learn more about Future WILPF

Stay connected and get involved! 

For more information about what WILPF is up to today, read Stories of Feminist Peace 2021, follow us on our social media – Instagram, Facebook, Twittter and LinkedIn – and sign up to receive our e-newsletters

If you’re interested in deepening your involvement with WILPF, consider becoming a member, joining your local Section (or starting one!), or supporting our work by donating

Here’s to another century of progress towards a future of feminist peace! 

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WILPF International Secretariat

WILPF is a worldwide non-governmental organisation dedicated to bringing together women from around the world who are united in working for peace. Our approach is always non-violent, and we use existing international legal and political frameworks to achieve fundamental change in the way states conceptualise and address issues of gender, militarism, peace, and security.

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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