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Women Lead to Peace Summit in Geneva

20 January 2014

As in all conflicts, the perspectives and contributions of women are essential to any effort to end the violence and promote a sustainable resolution and democratic and just peace for the country.

Historically every peace negotiation that has excluded women has failed.

WL2Peace.Logo.300x150For this reason, WILPF, together with Nobel Women’s Initiative, Kvinna till Kvinna, MADRE, CODEPINK and co-sponsored by PGGC Graduate Institute will host a summit tomorrow, the 21st of January, where Syrian women and other women from countries that have been affected by war, including Western Sahara, the Balkans, Sri Lanka, Guatemala and Northern Ireland will share their experiences on how to create a sustainable peace.

Nobel Laureates Shirin Ebadi and Mairead Maguire, as well as Cynthia Enloe, a well-respected academic on issues of gender and militarism, will also attend.

Together, the collective fabric of these women’s stories will demonstrate that peace negotiations must include women’s civil society organizations in peace talks, and that specifically, the UN must include women in the Geneva II peace talks. Women’s full participation as peacemakers is essential to building a lasting peace in Syria.

The need of Syrian women’s voice at upcoming peace talks

There is no doubt that the absence of women at Geneva II could jeopardize the future peace of Syria. The Syrian women’s civil society organizations have repeatedly called on the international community to include Syrian women in the peace talks. Yet, at just two days before the talks are scheduled to commence, we still don’t know if they will proceed – and if they do, whether the women will be included.

Again, we at WILPF have to highlight that the Syrian, women- led civil society organisations need to be at the table. Why? Because the Syrian women know the realities of the conflict and they understand the community dynamics within both a local and international context.

Moreover, since the Syrian civil society must implement any decisions arrived at in the Geneva II peace talks, the presence of women will better inform and broker a viable, peaceful result or a “deep peace” in Syria.

“What can the women bring to the table?”

This question pops up again and again. Our response? The Syrian women are already contributing to the peace building process and are active in building ceasefire arrangements, organising humanitarian work, and providing education and health care.

These women have taken on the responsibilities of relief and recovery, community peace-making and reconciliation, and have documented and provided support to victims of violence.

Their knowledge of the local situation and the current conditions in Syria is absolutely vital to understanding how any agreement can be made to work.

Participate in the summit from your couch

The summit starts tomorrow at 10 am CET (check out this time zone converter). The programme, which is split into three parts, will be streamed live. To follow the summit from your computer, just click on this link which will bring you to CODEPINK’s website:

The footage will be recorded and archived at the site after the summit.


10:00 to 11:15 From War to a Treaty and Holding on to Peace

11:30 to 12:45 The Realities of War: Experiences of Conflict and Its Gendered Assumptions.

13:30 to 15:00 The Participation of Women in Peace Talks and Beyond: Modalities of How to Break a Confrontational Narrative.


Read more on our campaign website, Women Lead to Peace

Read and share the document: Ensuring the Effective Participation of Women and Women’s Rights in the Syrian Peace and Mediation process: A Five-Step Approach.

Download and use our Facebook Cover Photo

Sign the Petition to include women at Geneva II peace talks.





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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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