As the longest standing international women’s peace organisation and one of the oldest peace organisations in the world, WILPF has undergone a transformation throughout the years.

On 20 November 2012, we hosted a webinar featuring Catia Cecilia Confortini, Assistant Professor of Peace and Justice Studies at Wellesley College and US representative to WILPF’s International Board, entitled “Tracing the Transformation of WILPF.”

In this webinar, Catia Confortini covers the principles that have guided WILPF throughout the years as a peace and feminist organisation and explains why WILPF has changed its views on certain issues concerning disarmament and decolonisation.

She also explores WILPF’s role in the current age as an anti-war organisation. In her view, the period 1945-1975 ushered in a turn in the organisation’s policies and activism, one that culminated in the mid-70s and served as an important antecedent to feminist activism that continues today.

The webinar was recorded following the launch of her book “Intelligent Compassion: Feminist Critical Methodology in the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.” In this book, she takes the reader on a tour of the transformation of WILPF. She traces WILPF’s changing strategies and ideas over a thirty-year period, focusing on three key areas of its work: disarmament, decolonisation, and the conflict in Israel/Palestine. By analysing the shifting ideas and policies of the longest living international women’s peace organisation, she finds answers to international relations questions about the possibility of emancipatory agency in the theoretical methodology of women peace activists and the extent to which activists can transcend the prevailing practices, rules and relations of their eras.

We are happy to share with you the first chapter of the book on Feminist Peace, where Catia Confortini explores the international relations theory’s understandings of peace as well as the relationship between peace and feminist international relations. In this chapter, she highlights the importance of analysing women’s peace activism to draw lessons for international relations and feminism as well as the uniqueness of WILPF for this type of project.

Read the chapter to further your understanding of how WILPF came to be one of the most radical and progressive groups within the past century and up until today.