On the first day of its 32nd International Triennial Congress, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) welcomed five new national sections, four of which are from the African continent. The expansion exemplifies the League’s rise in Africa.
It was a packed auditorium at the University of Ghana that on 20 August welcomed women peace groups from Afghanistan, Chad, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Uganda as members of the world’s oldest women’s peace organisation. Since 2007, WILPF has flourished on the African continent and the WILPF movement in Africa now counts eight fully-fledged sections, and eight emerging groups.
“Coming from Zimbabwe, a country just moving away from one of the longest dictatorships Africa has ever witnessed, we are facing challenges such as domestic violence, rape, child marriages, inheritance, and poor representation of women in the political and economic sectors. Becoming affiliated with an international women’s peace organisation focusing on improving the presentation of women, gives us a platform to improve Zimbabwean women lives in all spheres,” explains Edwick Madzimure, President of WILPF Zimbabwe.
Every day, women in Africa are setting new standards for women’s leadership and influence both locally and globally. However, there are still enormous hurdles for African peace activists who are demanding disarmament, gender equality, justice, dignity, and peace.
“African women have, for years, been pioneering in peacemaking as they hold a unique position in the local communities. The groups we are adopting today as sections are pioneers that will be reshaping not just African feminist agendas for peace, but global ones as well,” says Madeleine Rees, WILPF Secretary General from the Congress in Ghana.
Since 1915, WILPF has mobilised women to discuss and strategise for lasting peace. New sections are adopted every three years at its International Triennial Congress. The first African section joined WILPF in 2007, and African sections have since carried out initiatives like the Women Situation’s Room and developed advocacy strategies to ensure accountability for the respect of women’s rights through UN mechanisms.
See list of WILPF Sections and Groups in Africa.
Download Press Release as PDF: Feminist Peace Activism Rising in Africa