Advancing Peace through Feminist Activism for Disarmament and Demilitarisation

Our work on disarmament (known as the Reaching Critical Will programme) is committed to advancing permanent peace through disarmament and demilitarisation.

Guided by feminist and anti-militarist values, we focus on challenging and changing discourses, policies and practices around militarism, including those related to military spending, weapons and war.

We conduct research and policy analysis, engage in advocacy alongside international civil society networks and monitor and report on international forums, such as the United Nations and other meetings of governments and organisations.

Why Disarmament?

Militarism is a destructive and oppressive system that diverts society’s resources towards weapons and war; a mindset and culture that weaponises security and gender relations; and a leading contributor to armed conflict and violence in countries and communities worldwide.

WILPF rejects militarism in all its forms.

Through our expertise in disarmament, we are working to transform mindsets around militarism and promote new, feminist perspectives that champion systems and structures offering true peace and security — including a world free from weapons.

Our work on disarmament is deeply integrated with WILPF’s broader initiatives on militarism, human rights, gender equality and women’s rights and global economic and environmental justice.

What We Do

We are currently engaged in a variety of humanitarian disarmament campaigns and initiatives. Among other things, we are committed to working with governments, international organisations and other civil society partners to:

Advocate for the abolishment of war and weapons

Monitor and report on international disarmament forums and advocate for disarmament, demilitarisation and denuclearisation with governments. We also produce briefing papers, studies and other research and advocacy materials, and we engage in coalition work on many issues. We work with many key networks, such as the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW) and the Stop Killer Robots campaign.

Promote and strengthen intersectional understanding

Amplify and centre feminist and queer intersectional analysis of militarism, weapons and war; highlight connections between militarism and ecological harm and other converging crises; and help facilitate the participation of women, non-binary people, LGBTQ+ people, people of the Global Majority and affected communities in disarmament forums.

We work with governments and other civil society groups to facilitate and support initiatives to achieve the above goals and to promote dialogue and transparency amongst states and civil society on these issues.


Key Focus Areas


We address the impact of militarism on global peace and marginalised people. Through research, analysis, advocacy, organising and activism, we aim to challenge the culture of militarism and policies of war and weapons, and promote peaceful alternatives.

Conflict Prevention and Resolution

We actively engage in conflict prevention efforts and advocate for peaceful resolutions to conflicts worldwide, including through disarmament and demilitarisation. With a focus on intersectional impacts of weapons and war, we strive to ensure women’s and marginalised groups’ voices are heard in peacebuilding and disarmament processes.

Human Rights

We are deeply committed to upholding and protecting human rights, especially those of marginalised groups affected by conflict. Our work seeks to promote inclusivity, justice and equality in all aspects of disarmament.

Our Impact

Since 1999, our work has raised awareness about the need for disarmament, promoted feminist, anti-militarist alternatives, enhanced knowledge and understanding about what is happening within international disarmament and arms control fora and increased transparency of UN processes and discussions.

Our intersectional feminist analysis and gender perspective on disarmament-related issues consistently helps to shape a discourse that prioritises human security and environmental regeneration over the profits that are accrued from the production, proliferation and use of weapons.

We have also created a valuable platform for advocacy, organising and activism focused on promoting gender and international perspectives in disarmament.

Visit our online archive to access our conference statements, documents and other materials related to our years of work to promote permanent peace through disarmament.

Disarmament Fora

We have actively provided reporting, analysis and documentation archives from the UN General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament and International Security since 2002.

The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was adopted in 1968 and became international law in 1970. We engage in the Treaty’s Review Conferences and Preparatory Committees, providing reporting, analysis and documentation since 2000.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) was adopted in 2017 and entered into force in 2021. We actively engaged in the negotiation of the Treaty, including through participation as a steering group member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). RCW has been following the implementation of the Treaty and monitoring and reporting on its Meetings of States Parties.

The Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (CCW) was adopted in 1980. RCW monitors and reports on its Meetings of States Parties and Review Conferences, as well as on the meetings of the Group of Governmental Experts on Autonomous Weapons Systems.

The Political Declaration on Strengthening the Protection of Civilians from the Humanitarian Consequences arising from the use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas was adopted in 2022. RCW participated in the negotiation of the political declaration and continues to engage in its implementation.

The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) was adopted in 2013. RCW actively participated in the process that led to the Treaty’s adoption, particularly advocating for the inclusion of reference to gender-based violence. RCW continues to engage in the implementation of the Treaty and other actions to end the global arms trade.

Related Materials



28 April 2024

WILPF at 109: Reflections on a Century of Feminist Peace Advocacy 


12 April 2024

Law and Morality finally working hand in glove? – UN HRC Requests Reporting on Arms Transfers to Israel


22 March 2024

WILPF’s Input to Zero Draft of the Pact for the Future

Partnerships and Collaborations

Meet the Team

Ray Acheson

Programme Director
ray.acheson (a)  

Emma Bjertén

Programme Manager
emma.bjerten (a)  

Laura Varella

Programme Associate
laura.varella (a)  

Contact Us

Please feel free to contact us at if you have questions or suggestions about our work.

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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