Celebrating Feminists’ Voices, Inspiring Global Peace



Q&A with Naida Kwarteng Osei: Young WILPF at CSW68

After attending the 68th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68) in New York from 11-15 March representing Young WILPF, Naida talks about her experience and what being a young feminist peace activist means to her. Let’s keep working together, as Naida says, to build a more just and peaceful world for all.

Image credit: Young WILPF
Naida Kwarteng Osei
28 March 2024

What was it like to attend the conference in New York? 

Attending CSW68 in New York was a transformative experience. The conference focused on accelerating gender equality and empowering women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions with a gender perspective. The official opening session set the tone for engaging discussions on key gender issues. For me, in-person sessions ended on 15 March with a film screening organised by WILPF MENA and partners on “Beyond Survival – Celebrating resilience and leadership of Syrian women”.

Attending the conference was an enriching experience that gave me the unparalleled opportunity to engage with global and national leaders, activists, and experts in gender equality and women’s empowerment. I enjoyed the dynamic and inspiring ambience, with insightful discussions, side events and networking opportunities. These reinforced my commitment to gender equality and global peace advocacy. 

What lessons did you take from the conference for other civil societies?

I gleaned valuable insights from the conference that could benefit other civil societies striving for women’s rights and gender equality. While most recommendations I heard are essential and have been reiterated over the years, they often remain generic and lack actionable specificity. Many of these suggestions, from strengthening institutions to increasing financing for gender equality initiatives, have been on the global decision making table for quite some time.

The critical question we must address is: who is implementing these recommendations? If these proposals are relegated to existing structures predominantly governed by men, genuine change will continue to remain elusive. The result is what we witness today: a ceasefire in Gaza boycotted by the masculine dominated UN Security Council. It is only evident that without a tangible shift in approach, these gatherings, like the CSW, risk becoming mere platforms for information dissemination, lacking transformative impact. 

Therefore, it is crucial to shift our focus towards implementation. We need to develop actionable, tailored solutions that resonate with the diverse needs of all women. 

What is it like to be an activist for feminist peace? 

Being an activist for feminist peace is both fulfilling and challenging. It involves advocating for gender equality and promoting peace through a feminist lens, which means addressing the root causes of conflict while centering the experiences and voices of women in all diversity. This work entails challenging patriarchal norms and structures that perpetuate violence and inequality in order to create inclusive, just, and peaceful societies for all. Engaging in this advocacy field requires resilience, dedication, and solidarity with movements striving for social justice and gender equality worldwide. 

It can be emotionally taxing reading and learning about various wars and conflicts in different regions of the world, especially knowing the disproportionate impact on women and children who often have no role in the genesis of these conflicts. 

I was deeply moved when a UN representative expressed the difficulties they face in enforcing peace regulations on sovereign states. Sadly, women continue to bear the brunt of these so-called “difficulties” and suffer horrendous sexual, emotional and physical violence as states’ behaviour goes beyond control.

Despite being disproportionately affected by war, women remain underrepresented in peace processes, which is concerning. 

What the world seems to forget is, women are not just victims; we are also peace setters, mediators, and changemakers. I am proud to be one of the changemakers striving for a more inclusive and peaceful world. As Chizitera Njoku said, “Women can change society.” I firmly believe that women can end wars and bring about global peace, and it is high time the narrative reflects this. It is crucial to give more women the opportunity to lead the global peace agenda and make a lasting impact to our world.

In your opinion, what are difficulties faced by young activists in this field?

Based on my conversations with a few young activists I have met, I can confidently say there are numerous challenges. One of the most significant issues is funding. Every activism project requires financial support to sustain and make a meaningful impact. Securing consistent and substantial funding can often be a hurdle, affecting the ability to carry out projects effectively and solidify commitment to causes.

Additionally, there are not enough opportunities for young activists to be involved in crucial decision making processes. The youth represents the future, and it is essential to include them in discussions and decisions that shape our world. Beyond contributing to these discussions, young activists need to learn and gain experience handling responsibilities from our youthful years. 

What is your message to other young WILPFers?

Our world is facing significant challenges in the realms of women’s rights and global peace, as evidenced by the conferences’ reports and discussions from those directly involved in peace works at the local levels. As future leaders and changemakers, we must push back against these setbacks radically.

Collaboration is key. We must come together and leverage our collective strengths and voices to advocate for meaningful change. It is not just about representation but ensuring our voices are heard and valued in discussions that shape our world. Rather than limiting ourselves to separate youth-focused discussions, let’s strive to be part of broader national and global dialogues.

“Let’s remain persistent and committed to making a lasting impact. The journey towards a more peaceful and equitable world is ongoing, and it’s up to us to drive the change and ensure its sustainability. Together, let’s push boundaries, challenge the status quo, and make our mark on the global stage.”

Naida Kwarteng Osei
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Naida Kwarteng Osei

Naida Kwarteng Osei is a Ghanaian doctoral student in criminology at the University of Oxford. Her research interests range from general policing to violent crimes involving female survivors. Her current DPhil dissertation critically analyses the approach of Ghanaian police to sexual violence investigations, focusing on police decision-making during rape investigations and its impact on case attrition. Naida also takes an active role as a Youth Member within the WILPF section in Ghana.

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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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