Under the banner Women’s Power to Stop War, hundreds of peace activists are gathering to change the conversation on peacemaking.
The Hague, April 27, 2015: The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), the longest-serving women’s peace organisation in the world, is bringing together hundreds of activists, thinkers and decision-makers at the international conference, Women’s Power to Stop War. Joining forces with organisations like the Nobel Women’s Initiative and the International Peace Bureau, WILPF aims to offer a different way of thinking about peacemaking.
The change in thinking that is central to the Conference stems from the International Women’s Congress of 1915, where over 1300 women came together in The Hague in protest of World War I. They focused on the root causes of war and committed themselves to establishing permanent peace. Now, 100 years later, 1300 women will once again return to The Hague with the task of finishing the job they started.
For WILPF, focusing on the root causes of conflicts today means including perspectives on human rights and political participation, militarism, patriarchy, armaments, economic justice and the environment into the conversation, to name a few. More practically, the Conference will also train its activists on how to participate in political processes effectively and improve cooperation inside the peace community.
More than 70 years after the United Nations was founded with the aim of saving future generations from the ‘scourge of war’, there are still approximately 50 ongoing conflicts taking place at this time. More civilians are being killed as a result of war than ever before, the world now counts a total of 51.2 million displaced people, and weapons have never been more numerous and capable of total destruction. In the words of Madeleine Rees, WILPF Secretary General, ‘When are we going to get that more guns do not equal more security?’
Many other events are also taking place before the Conference under the banner Women’s Power to Stop War aimed at connecting, strengthening and celebrating the work of peacemakers everywhere.