The COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis, unprecedented in modern history, which has affected and will affect everyone all over the world in different ways, depending on many factors, including but not limited to, race, gender, social status, geography, and so on. The consequences of this crisis will have differentiated effects on women, and long-lasting effects on society. This crisis serves as an unfortunate example of the fault lines that WILPF has been exposing throughout our history. This page brings together articles written by WILPF members, sections, partners, staff and guest writers in order to articulate WILPF’s perspectives on the crisis and its root causes, and our strategy for building a better world.
To help document this pandemic, we have put together a Guide to Understanding COVID-19. This guide is about how we can document and analyse the underlying causes of the challenges our communities face in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
WILPF, as part of a coalition with MADRE, Media Matters for Women, MenEngage Alliance, Nobel Women’s Initiative, OutRight Action International, and Women Enabled International, has released a briefing paper From Global Coordination to Local Strategies : A Practical Approach to Prevent, Address and Document Domestic Violence under COVID-19. It analyses successful interventions and makes recommendations for grassroots organisations working on the frontlines of gender and COVID-19, as well as policy recommendations for the international community.
22 MAY 2020
A Quantum Leap to Surface the Solutions
Madeleine Rees, WILPF’s Secretary-General explains how all of our posts are linked and are useful to understanding the bigger picture. She outlines the categories that our different posts fit into to explain how all these puzzle pieces fit together.
18 MAY 2020
The Pandemic of Nuclear Weapons
This pandemic has exposed even further the wasteful spending of billions on militarism and nuclear weapons, instead of health care, housing, education, decarceration, and more. Ray Acheson looks at the multiple risks that nuclear weapons pose to our humanity, and how we can act to abolish them.
14 MAY 2020
Foreign Military Bases Spread Violence and Virus
Military spending is being closely examined, especially now we know that the world has spent more than $1.9 trillion on militarism. Ray Acheson looks at foreign military bases’ controversial status and examines misogyny, sexual violence and feminist resistance in military bases during COVID-19.
12 MAY 2020
Women’s Leadership Sets the Example
Women leaders seem to be leading the way in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. But justifying their success by referring to their gender is oversimplified and misleading. Stephanie Horsford and Molly Jerlström look deeper into the complexity of a successful political response to the pandemic.
6 MAY 2020
Our Response Must Match the Male Leaders’ War on the Pandemic
Madeleine Rees, WILPF Secretary-General, and Christine Chinkin, Professor at the WPS Centre of LSE, set out the necessary steps for a feminist COVID-19 recovery plan, emphasising the need for a survivor-centred and rights-based approach.
5 MAY 2020
Divest, Demilitarise, and Disarm
The global military spending in 2019 was over $1.9 trillion. We need to take steps to move our culture and economies away from militarism and towards solidarity and well-being. The first step in this process is cutting military spending.
30 APRIL 2020
Solidarity as a Political Tool for Radical Transformation
During the pandemic, countless solidarity efforts have been put into place. How do we make sure that they do not disappear after the pandemic? How do we use this kindness and solidarity and use it to create long-lasting change?
24 APRIL 2020
As the United Security Council fails to take action, other international organisations, UN bodies, and activists are actively working to help humanity COVID-19, and are taking steps to build a better world.
23 APRIL 2020
Post-Pandemic Starts During the Pandemic: Feminist Lessons from Post-War Failures
Figuring it out later isn’t going to work. We need to decide now – during the pandemic – what our future will look like. Cynthia Enloe emphasises the need for feminist-informed women at every decision-making table.
20 APRIL 2020
The Pandemic Reveals a Long-Standing Financial Crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic is not the reason for the financial crisis, it has merely revealed the long-standing flaws of a problematic system. We need to move towards a feminist economy, with no structural inequalities, gendered or otherwise.
17 APRIL 2020
A Sustainable Ceasefire Means No More “Business as Usual”
Ray Acheson, our Disarmament Programme Director, follows up on the call for a global ceasefire, which happened now more than a month ago. She urges people to continue pushing for alternatives to these cycles of violence.
16 APRIL 2020
WILPF Sections Mobilising to Prevent Pandemic in Africa
As COVID-19 spreads globally, so does misinformation. Our Sections in Africa work hard to clear up the confusing messages and develop creative ways to share correct information to keep their communities safe, healthy and alert to fake news.
16 APRIL 2020
The United Nations Security Council is Doing What Exactly?
The days of the United Nations Security Council might be numbered. As it struggles to take decisions, doctors and nurses are having to decide which patients get placed on a ventilator. We need to decide if the UNSC is something to be fixed, or to be forgotten.
15 APRIL 2020
The Risks of Relying on Technology to “Save Us” from the Coronavirus
As individuals, communities and governments continue to struggle against the global spread of COVID-19, something else is spreading. More and more governments are turning to technology to aid in flattening the curve. However, resorting to technology to “save us” might be more problematic that it seems.
8 APRIL 2020
Coronavirus Capitalism versus Persistent Activism
Companies are using the COVID-19 pandemic as a distraction to advance anti-environment projects. Ray Acheson looks at the bigger picture around the pandemic, and urges us all to go further than just imagining a better world. We need to invest serious thought and action into creating a more sustainable future.
7 APRIL 2020
Turning Swords into Ventilators? Or is it Ventilators into Swords?
“When soldiers perform non-violent tasks that appear to serve the wider public good, what are we, as feminist peace activists, to think?” Cynthia Enloe explores this confusing predicament with the example of the military disinfecting the airport in Madrid and suggests an alternative to using the military for these sorts of activities.
26 MARCH 2020
From Ceasefire to Divestment and Disarmament
In this article, Ray Acheson, Programme Director for Reaching Critical Will, responds to the UN Secretary General’s call for a global ceasefire. She welcomes the call for a ceasefire, but highlights the need to go beyond a global ceasefire. She looks at the continuing arms production, highlights the cost of militarism, and outlines actions we can take now, from our homes, to resist this.
25 MARCH 2020
We are Not Soldiers
In this piece, Elena Couceiro and María del Vigo, of WILPF Spain, study the use of militarised language during this COVID-19 crisis and question why it has seemed necessary to use military language to talk about the heroic deeds of the health personnel. Instead, they propose a framework of solidarity and care, focusing on a common humanity.
23 MARCH 2020
“Waging War” Against a Virus is NOT What We Need to Be Doing
In this article, feminist writer and feminist writer, theorist, and professor known for her work on gender and militarism, Cynthia Enloe, shares her thoughts on COVID-19. Cynthia Enloe is a member of WILPF Academic Network.
23 MARCH 2020
Militarise or Organise?
In this article, Ray Acheson, Programme Director for Reaching Critical Will, advocates that a militarist response to this pandemic comes at the expense of every aspect of social wellbeing. Instead of directing our funds into militarism, we need to redirect them to social and environmental wellbeing. She argues the importance of recognising that, now, more than ever, inequality kills, and solidarity is the way forward.
23 MARCH 2020
What has COVID-19 Taught Us about Neoliberalism?
In this article, Nela Porobić Isaković, Feminist Political Economy Focal Point for WILPF, argues that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the toxic effects of our system of neoliberalism. She details the effects that this crisis is having and will have, particularly the differentiated effects on women, and shows that there are alternatives beyond neoliberalism.
23 MARCH 2020
Exposing the Fault Lines
In this article, Madeleine Rees, our Secretary General, shows how COVID-19 has dramatically exposed the faults in our societal structures. This crisis, albeit an extreme one, gives us the opportunity to learn from our mistakes, and to rethink the shape of our future.