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Finding Peace for the Holidays: We’ll See You in 2021

As we celebrated the start of a new decade nearly one year ago, we could not possibly have foreseen the unprecedented challenges 2020 would bring to people all over the world.

Image credit: WILPF
WILPF International Secretariat
22 December 2020

We’ve reached the end of a year unlike any other. 

As we celebrated the start of a new decade nearly one year ago, we could not possibly have foreseen the unprecedented challenges 2020 would bring to people all over the world. And while the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone on the planet, women and girls have been affected most of all – particularly those already living in poverty or conflict. 

It’s clear that the pandemic has exposed the fault lines that already existed prior to 2020: fault lines created and exacerbated by the systems of oppression – racism, capitalism, patriarchy, militarism – that threaten human security and the well-being of our planet today more than ever. 

Throughout the year, WILPF and WILPFers across the globe worked tirelessly to support and advocate for women and girls impacted by the pandemic, and to call for a feminist approach to recovery. We wrote, we researched, we analysed, we lobbied, and we demanded change

It was a year that pushed each of us to work differently, to think differently, and to seek innovative new solutions and responses to local and global challenges more complex than we ever could have imagined. 

Now, as the holiday season gets underway, it is time for all of us to rest. 

WILPF goes offline 

The work of 2020 has taken a toll. 

Communicating with one another from behind screens has both created new opportunities to connect and led to a unique kind of exhaustion. Zoom fatigue and compassion fatigue have combined to almost guarantee burnout for people across all sectors.

At the same time, although technology has made it possible for us to connect more easily than ever before, we’re also more isolated from one another than ever before. Many of us have gone months without seeing family, friends, and colleagues in person. For those of us living alone or without a network to lean on, the negative effects of isolation are even more pronounced. 

It’s for all of these reasons and more that as we head into the holiday season, we’re asking you to take a step back with us. 

At a time when so many organisations are flooding social media with end-of-year messages, WILPF will be closing our offices and going offline. At the end of a chaotic year, we’re raising our voices for calm by going quiet. 

Join us. Shut down your computer, put down your phone, and take a deep breath. Step outside, if you can, and find new ways to safely connect with loved ones or with your community. Take the time and space you need to find moments of hope and joy, and to reflect on all this year has brought – and how you want to focus your energy in 2021. 

Being part of the feminist peace movement means being an advocate for peace in all of its forms. And right now, that means disconnecting and turning down the noise. 

Thank you for all you have done to create change this year. Please stay safe, and we’ll see you in 2021. 

Pssst … If you’re looking for a great read over the holidays, check out our newly released ePub, Abolition by Ray Acheson, the Director of Reaching Critical Will, WILPF’s Disarmament Programme. 

And if you haven’t yet, watch our Theory of Change video!

Watch this in Arabic, French, or Spanish.

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WILPF International Secretariat

WILPF International Secretariat, with offices in Geneva and New York, liaises with the International Board and the National Sections and Groups for the implementation of WILPF International Programme, resolutions and policies as adopted by the International Congress. Under the direction of the Secretary-General, the Secretariat also provides support in areas of advocacy, communications, and financial operations.

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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