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Who's Afraid of Peace?

28 October 2014

After months of preparation and planning, PeaceWomen were thrilled this week to welcome the WILPF delegation to New York to mobilise, advocate, and strategise around the 14th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325.

Women from Cameroon, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Jordan, Lebanon, Nigeria, and Syria joined WILPF international staff at a workshop on 27 October on “Leveraging Women’s Action for Peace,” where we shared our visions of WILPF and had a series of conversations about how we can work together to demilitarise our world and create gender equality and peace.

WILPF Workshop Highlights

Leaders brought attention to how it is critical to address root causes of conflict and violence prevention for UNSCR 1325 to be meaningful and effective.

Some of the highlights included the following quotes:

“Companies are making money off of arms. Why are we the dumping ground? How do they dare? How dare we people allow this to happen?”

“The only losers in this war are the people. They will lose everything. Finally, these people who fight will sit at the table – not me, not my grandmother, not my daughter – they will sit and they will share the country, the money, the cake.”

“Stop with all of the agendas! The international community could end the war in Syria. Saudi Arabia could stop providing arms. Russia could stop supporting the regime. The international community could stop the war. But they don’t think of us, they don’t think of the millions of refugees and internally displaced people living below standards of life. No one thinks of us. They only think of what they will win.”

“When can we really have peace? What would happen if the international community really cared? What would happen?”

“I am ready to die for peace.”

“Before, knowing about other cases of war was fuzzy and vague; but now it means you: it has become more human.”

“We need a Global Action Plan for complete feminist conflict transformation.”

“Civil society should never give up putting a political solution on the table. The only solution is a political solution.”

The workshop was a potent demonstration of the vision, determination, creativity, and power that women peace leaders bring to the table. 

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Up Next

As we engage with the annual Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security, and participate in the  myriad side events, meetings, and consultations – from Boko Haram, to Iraq/Syria and the Middle East North Africa region to the UN Women consultations on the 2015 Global Review of UNSCR 1325. We will continue to amplify the voices of these women peace leaders and demand accountability, action, and change.

Get Involved!

We invite you to join us in asking your government to strengthen prevention through committing and taking action on disarmament and women’s participation and rights.

If you are in New York, you can participate in one of our events. Wherever you are, follow our updates on Facebook and Twitter with hashtags #UNSCR1325 and @Peace_Women or @WILPF.

Are you participating in advocacy around UNSCR 1325 or have you in the past? If so, feel free to share your experience in the comments below. We would love to hear from you.

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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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