Women Organising for Change: Dialogue between Syrian and Bosnian activists

The Women Organising for Change initiative aims to establish space for female dialogue. Though the initiative began as a cooperation between Syrian and Bosnian activists, it has since grown to include the exchange of experience with women activists from Ukraine, Iraq and Northern Ireland, making it an integral part of the WILPF Crisis Response Programme.

Since 2013, women, as part of the Women Organising for Change initiative has looked at the consequences of the Dayton Peace Accord, searching for ways to (re)interpret the agreement.

Local and international women activists from various disciplines gathered to discuss possible ways to (re)interpret the DPA.Bosnia and Herzegovina is evidence of a peace agreement that was unable to successfully transition from war to real peace, including a demilitarised society.

The experiences of the Bosnian society with respect to peace negotiations; the peace agreement itself and the subsequent implementation of it; as well as other reforms intended to transition the society from war to peace are valuable experiences to compare with other contexts.

Through this comparison we can pursue mechanisms to create peace founded in social justice, environmental awareness, human rights, demilitarisation, and gender equality.

The workshop, “Way Forward” was organised with the aim of providing information and support on how to act against nationalist politics of division. The workshop examined the external and internal environments in which women’s non-government organisations and individuals act, and options for actions. The workshop presented another space for Syrian and Bosnian women to come together and share their experiences.

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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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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