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WILPF Recaps as CSW Concludes in New York

26 March 2014

The whirlwind last two weeks of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) ended late Friday night with the commission calling for gender to be prioritised in the next development agenda through both a stand-alone gender equality Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and integration of gender throughout all other goals.

The 58th session of the Commission (CSW 58) also recalled the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) resolutions and called for measures to implement and monitor the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situations, ensure women’s effective participation in peace processes and conflict situations, and to end impunity.

Access and tech event
WILPF’s Madeleine Rees and Maria Butler speaking at CSW

Human Rights and Peace Face Challenges in Development Planning

Despite gains, pushback even on human rights generally was apparent, especially on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

We are particularly concerned that a small number of States (led by the USA and China) were also able to delete support for reducing military spending and financing development. This is a failure not to include already agreed language from Rio (1992) and Beijing (1995) on reducing military spending to finance development.

It is critical to tackle this resistance and galvanise support for progressive language here in the Post2015 development agenda moving forward.

WILPF: “No Development without Disarmament!”
WILPF’s Panel speaking at the No Development Without Disarmament Event

Overall, WILPF members had an energising experience at CSW 58, where 75 activists and advocates from the WILPF global network joined over 3000 other civil society participants at hundreds of events in a two week long hustle and bustle around UN Headquarters. WILPFers came from Syria, Nigeria, Pakistan, Colombia, Geneva and many places in between.

We united as a delegation to collectively raise our voices and bring attention to the fact that you get what you pay for, and there can be no peace or development without disarmament and women’s full and equal human rights.

Together, we spoke fiercely and truthfully. We organised 10 successful events where we mobilised and built momentum around WILPF’s 100th anniversary movement recognising Women’s Power to Stop War!

Thank you to everyone who joined us and shared a photo in our #100Women4Peace photo campaign or engaged with our unprecedented social media discussions through #CSW58 #WILPF100 #DisarmSDGs! 

100 Women4Peace
Honouring WILPF Secretary General Madeleine Rees

WILPF’s inspiring Secretary General, Madeleine Rees was honored as the recipient of the Dean’s Social Justice Award by the CUNY School of Law on March 13th for her leading legacy of advocating for women’s human rights throughout conflict.

“When women are not represented in peace processes, it is a failure. It is absolutely vital to include women in peace negotiations”, Madeleine remarked discussing the situation in Syria. We all joined in celebrating Madeleine and her work with WILPF for peace.

Make CSW count!

Although CSW is done, we need your advocacy more than ever!

Please ask your government to design development for peace! Demand support for Post2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), targets, and indicators to finance development with disarmament, strengthen women’s participation in peace processes, and holding non-state actors accountable to women’s human rights.

Thanks to all of you who participated in and followed along with CSW these past couple off weeks. If you engaged, what did you think? We welcome your thoughts in the comments below!

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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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