The women’s peace movement has pledged to commit to a new peace agenda for the 21st century, in a huge meeting of 1,000 women peace activists, facilitated by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom for its hundred year anniversary.
The Hague, the Netherlands – 27-29 April At the WILPF 2015 Conference ‘Women’s Power to Stop War’, women shared their stories from conflict zones and listened to each other’s calls for immediate action, calling on a new movement for change.
Conference participants expressed their disillusionment with international institutions, and reminded us of civil society’s power to affect change in a non-violent way. As Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi stated in the opening plenary, “if books had been thrown at the Taliban instead of bombs, we would not have Isis.”
With participants from over 80 countries and 80 organisations, including Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman, Cofounder and Director of Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace Zahra’ Langhis, and Nobel Peace Laureates Leymah Gbowee, Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi and Mairead Maguire, discussions were rich and wide ranging. Non-governmental organisations including Sonke Gender Justice, MADRE, and the Association of Women in Development (AWID) participated in sessions on topics from Women Confronting ISIS to Military versus Social Spending to a Consultation on the Women, Peace and Security High Level Review.
“It is clear that there is no unity without diversity. Our “why” is the same – we are united in our belief in demilitarisation and bringing peace. It’s just how we get there that may differ,” said WILPF Secretary General Madeleine Rees in the closing plenary of the conference.
This new movement promises to change the way we use the multilateral and economic systems, and how we approach militarisation, and outlined in the WILPF Manifesto which reaffirms WILPF’s work over the last 100 years. For example, MenEngage, an alliance of NGOs working together with men and boys to promote gender equality, pledged to work with the women’s peace movement, to move away from violent masculinities to one which elevates the roles played by the majority of men.
For this reason, they made sure not to have a passive conference, but to take back the streets, sending delegations to deliver petitions against the Yemen crisis to eleven embassies, just like the International Women’s Congress of 1915 did.
Photos of the conference can be downloaded at Flickr
For more information, please visit the Conference website www.womenstopwar.org or contact Communications Manager Nina Hansen on nhansen (a) wilpf.ch or +41 (0) 22 919 70 80.