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Let’s Talk about Violence against Women

Today it is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which also marks the beginning of the international campaign “16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence”. During sixteen days, organisations and individuals all over the world raise public awareness of violence against women and girls.

Image credit: WILPF
WILPF International Secretariat
25 November 2018

Today it is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which also marks the beginning of the international campaign “16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence”. During sixteen days, organisations and individuals all over the world raise public awareness of violence against women and girls.

WILPF has supported this campaign since its beginning. Living free from violence of any kind is a human right, and leads to sustainable peace. Campaigns like #OrangeTheWorld, #HearMeToo, #EndVAW are powerful tools to counter violence against women. They gather the strength of feminist activists to share a message with the world. Change is possible. Violence against women can be stopped.

Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement, mentions the importance of change and dialogue in her quote used for the #OrangeTheWorld campaign. “There has to be a shift in culture. We have to have conversations about systems that are in place that allow sexual violence to flourish.”

Photo of Tarana Burke with arms crossed.

Quote: "There has to be a shify in culture. We have to have conversations about systems that are in place that allow sexual violence to flourish"
UN Photo

WILPF at the forefront

Since our founding during World War I, WILPF’s members have gathered to address the root causes of war and violence. Violence against women is one of those, and already in 1919 — yes, 1919, not 2019! — WILPF made the connection between the level of violence against women in a society and peace.

“Social progress is dependent upon the status of the women in the community,” reads the WILPF Congress Resolution from 1919.

The status of women and their role in the society vary a lot depending of the country and can be particularly put in jeopardy in armed-conflict zones. Our members are facing various challenges, but they share the same vision of peace and strive to a world where equality is the norm and violence is a memory.

For this special day, and to illustrate one form of violence against women, we share the video of one of our partners in Syria, Radio Souriat. Watch “The dreams do not wait” and listen to the hopes, dreams, and expectations of Syrian women, living in a society where the most simple rights are still denied to women.

YouTube video

Four photos of women dressed in orange.

"Join us in the campaign!
Share on social media using #OrangeTheWorld, #HearMeToo, #EndWAV, #16days and take action to end violence against women"

This year WILPF supports the #16days campaign by sharing a selection of important facts, quotes, images and videos from the UN Women on our social media and website. 

Be part of the change and join the Feminist Peace Movement.

Join us in the campaign! Share on social media with the Hashtags #OrangeTheWorld, #HearMeToo, #EndVAW, #16days and take action to end violence against women.

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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.

Your donation isn’t just a financial transaction; it’s a step toward a more compassionate and equitable world. With your support, we’re poised to achieve lasting change that echoes through generations. Thank you!

Thank you!

Melissa Torres


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


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


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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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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