COVID-19

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.

a beer glass on a bar counter, with the title "COVID-19: 'Sacrificed', to the 'Street of Joy'

‘Sacrificed’, to the ‘Street of Joy’

27 AUGUST 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is more than just a public health emergency, it is a human rights emergency. Martina Daelli highlights some of the many UN guidance documents available to governments and other actors. A human rights-based response to COVID-19 is possible, and imperative.

No Excuses – A Human Rights-Based Response to COVID-19 is Imperative

29 JUNE 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is more than just a public health emergency, it is a human rights emergency. Martina Daelli highlights some of the many UN guidance documents available to governments and other actors. A human rights-based response to COVID-19 is possible, and imperative.

“Who is Skilled and Who is Unskilled in this Pandemic Moment?”

8 JUNE 2020

Cynthia Enloe looks at the value of skills in our changing world. Those in positions of power show skills that are not able to match the challenges of this unprecedented period of history. Those who do have the necessary skills need to be acknowledged and put in a position of power.

Making our Recovery Green and Feminist

4 JUNE 2020

COVID-19 has had a seemingly positive effect on the environment. But these changes will only be temporary if we go back to business as usual. Nela Porobić Isaković outlines how to make our recovery green and feminist.

Disarm the Police, Rebuild our Communities

2 JUNE 2020

Police violence is a long-standing issue, and recently is has become more salient in media. This police violence is caused by underlying structural racism, and perpetuated by a continued investment in militarism. We need to abolish police in order to begin rebuilding our communities.

A Quantum Leap to Surface the Solutions

22 MAY 2020

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.

The Pandemic of Nuclear Weapons

18 MAY 2020

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.

Foreign Military Bases Spread Violence and Virus

14 MAY 2020

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.

Women’s Leadership Sets the Example

12 MAY 2020

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.

Our Response Must Match the Male Leaders’ War on the Pandemic

6 MAY 2020

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.

Divest, Demilitarise, and Disarm

6 MAY 2020

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.

Solidarity as a Political Tool for Radical Transformation

30 APRIL 2020

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?

Multilateralism Matters

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.

Post-Pandemic Starts During the Pandemic: Feminist Lessons from Post-War Failures

23 APRIL 2020

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.

The Pandemic Reveals a Long-Standing Financial Crisis

20 APRIL 2020

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.

A Sustainable Ceasefire Means No More “Business as Usual”

17 APRIL 2020

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.

WILPF Sections Mobilising to Prevent Pandemic in Africa

16 APRIL 2020

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.

The United Nations Security Council is Doing What Exactly?

16 APRIL 2020

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.

The Risks of Relying on Technology to “Save Us” from the Coronavirus

15 APRIL 2020

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.

Coronavirus Capitalism versus Persistent Activism

8 APRIL 2020

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.

Turning Swords into Ventilators? Or is it Ventilators into Swords?

7 APRIL 2020

“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.

From Ceasefire to Divestment and Disarmament

26 MARCH 2020

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.

We are Not Soldiers

25 MARCH 2020

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.

“Waging War” Against a Virus is NOT What We Need to Be Doing

23 MARCH 2020

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.

Militarise or Organise?

23 MARCH 2020

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.

What has COVID-19 Taught Us about Neoliberalism?

23 MARCH 2020

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.

Exposing the Fault Lines

23 MARCH 2020

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.

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.