Letter from the President

Joy Onyesoh

Letter from the President

Sometimes people mistakenly think that we, as a women’s organisation, are solely advocating for women’s rights. But that is not the case. At Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, we are working for a just peace – what we call a feminist peace – that serves everyone, no matter how we identify or where we are born.

In 2019, WILPF members around the world made strides in the global movement for change – a movement that is working to build feminist peace for all and a brighter future for the next generation, and the next.

Letter from the Secretary-General

Madeleine Rees

2019 was marked by a constant daily struggle for peace, to build movements and to demand participation and justice. And we made progress – some. But still we are not at peace. Not within communities, states, internationally or within ourselves. Nor are we at peace with our planet. The structures we have created and which dominate our interactions on all levels are still those of patriarchy.

Madeleine Rees

2019 In Numbers

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Work Areas

Build the Movement

Women are our greatest strength. We are more than half of the world’s population, we are an enormous global constituency. WILPF maintains and builds this network as a safe and inclusive organisation, using it to advance ideas and create momentum for change.

Redefine Security

WILPF rejects the idea that security is synonymous with military strength. We believe that real security can only be achieved through a shift to a different political economy with investment in environmental protection, social and economic rights, moving money from the machinery of war to the foundations of peace.

Leverage Feminist Perspectives on Peace

In a patriarchal world, the feminist perspective has been missing from discussions on conflict, sustainability, and more. WILPF develops and amplifies feminist perspectives on root causes and promotes them on the international and national policy agenda. In doing so, we advance the cause of peace.

Promote Socio-Economic Justice

Neoliberalism has brought us inequality, exclusion, and environmental destruction. Its very nature makes it an obstacle to peace and justice. WILPF analyses, raises awareness, and advocates for alternatives to neoliberalism. Lasting peace requires fairer economic systems and protection of people and planet.

Stories of change

Speaking Truth to Power

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, women have long fought for inclusion in peace-building efforts and improved social, economic and political participation. Following years of government inaction and inadequate attempts to advance women’s rights and representation, in 2019 WILPF’s DRC section took steps toward positive change by speaking truth to power.

Learning and Unlearning Violence

WILPF recognises the roles of patriarchy, militarism and capitalist neoliberalism – among other oppressive power structures – in perpetuating gender-based violence. Read more on WILPF Colombia’s journey to empower survivors through a care and community-based approach.

Making Room for Feminist Peace Activism

In Syria, the ongoing armed conflict poses immense challenges to peacebuilding efforts and has dramatically reduced safe spaces for civil society activities. Yet even under the harshest of circumstances, Syrian women have held onto the spaces that do exist and created new ones to continue their activism and achieve social justice within their communities.

Linking the Military to Climate Justice

What’s the military got to do with climate justice? In 2019, WILPF Sweden unraveled this question and more in their journey toward a green feminist peace. Uniting together in our concerns for the planet, for peace and for justice is crucial to creating a world we can all live in, free from harm.

Intergenerational Activism

Feminist visions of peace must be inclusive, locally led and intergenerational if they are to have a chance at succeeding. If we allow ourselves to be guided by the wisdom of our elders and the vigour of our youth, we can be empowered to take on centuries-old systems of oppression.

Changing Narratives, Building Peace

We believe in the power of networks of women united for peace. In 2019, WILPF joined together with three other leading women’s groups to launch the Korea Peace Now! campaign – the first initiative of its kind with a goal to advocate for women’s leadership in the Korea peace process and build big ideas of change from the ground up.

Stories of Change

Speaking Truth to Power

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, women have long fought for inclusion in peace-building efforts and improved social, economic and political participation. Following years of government inaction and inadequate attempts to advance women’s rights and representation, in 2019 WILPF’s DRC section took steps toward positive change by speaking truth to power.

Learning and Unlearning Violence

WILPF recognises the roles of patriarchy, militarism and capitalist neoliberalism – among other oppressive power structures – in perpetuating gender-based violence. Read more on WILPF Colombia’s journey to empower survivors through a care and community-based approach.

Making Room for Feminist Peace Activism

In Syria, the ongoing armed conflict poses immense challenges to peacebuilding efforts and has dramatically reduced safe spaces for civil society activities. Yet even under the harshest of circumstances, Syrian women have held onto the spaces that do exist and created new ones to continue their activism and achieve social justice within their communities.

Linking the Military to Climate Justice

What’s the military got to do with climate justice? In 2019, WILPF Sweden unraveled this question and more in their journey toward a green feminist peace. Uniting together in our concerns for the planet, for peace and for justice is crucial to creating a world we can all live in, free from harm.

Intergenerational Activism

Feminist visions of peace must be inclusive, locally led and intergenerational if they are to have a chance at succeeding. If we allow ourselves to be guided by the wisdom of our elders and the vigour of our youth, we can be empowered to take on centuries-old systems of oppression.

Changing Narratives, Building Peace

We believe in the power of networks of women united for peace. In 2019, WILPF joined together with three other leading women’s groups to launch the Korea Peace Now! campaign – the first initiative of its kind with a goal to advocate for women’s leadership in the Korea peace process and build big ideas of change from the ground up.

OUR COMMUNITY IN 2019

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WILPF Sections

across Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, and the MENA region

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WILPF Groups

across Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, and the MENA region

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New groups joined WILPF

(WILPF Somalia, WILPF Sri Lanka, WILPF Togo, and WILPF Senegal)

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MENA Partners

(Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Syria, Yemen)

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WILPF

Hover over the countries for highlights of work from selected WILPF Sections and Groups.

Sections not visibile on the map: WILPF Polynesia, WILPF Lebanon (also a MENA partner), and WILPF Palestine (also a MENA partner).

WILPF Sections and Groups

MENA Partners

WILPF Initiatives

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WILPF Afghanistan

WILPF Argentina

WILPF Australia

WILPF Burkina Faso

WILPF Burundi

WILPF Cameroon

WILPF Canada

WILPF Chad

WILPF Costa Rica

WILPF Côte d’Ivoire

WILPF DRC

WILPF Denmark

WILPF Finland

WILPF Germany

WILPF Ghana

WILPF Italy

WILPF Netherlands

WILPF Norway

WILPF Pakistan

WILPF Sierra Leone

WILPF Spain

WILPF Sri Lanka

WILPF Sweden

WILPF Switzerland

WILPF Uganda

WILPF UK

WILPF Zimbabwe

WILPF Central Africa Republic (CAR)

WILPF Kenya

WILPF Nigeria

WILPF Niger

WILPF Senegal

WILPF Somalia

WILPF Sudan

WILPF Togo

WILPF Colombia

WILPF Mexico

WILPF United States of America

WILPF Aotearoa-New Zealand

WILPF Japan

WILPF Palestine

WILPF India

WILPF Nepal

WILPF Polynesia

WILPF Lebanon

WILPF Palestine

Egypt (MENA)
Iraq (MENA)
Libya (MENA)
Syria (MENA)
Yemen (MENA)
Lebanon (MENA)
Palestine (MENA)
Ukraine
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Korean Peninsula

Movement Building in 2019

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LARGE IN-PERSON CONVENINGS

were held around the globe with the aim to provide safe spaces for dialogue and share learning among Sections and partners

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REGIONAL MEETINGS

were held in Africa, Europe, MENA and South Asia

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SMALL GRANTS DISTRIBUTED

to WILPF Sections, Groups and Partners

Resourcing Feminist Peace

In 2019, Sections, Groups and partners were provided more than 2 million Swiss Francs in sub-grants.

Thank You

We should thank and embrace each other (virtually!). Not one of us can do this work alone. We are a movement in which the like-minded are united for change: activists, champions, donors and international actors, both individual and institutional.

We are now halfway through 2020, and the world looks different than it did just a few months ago. As we move forward, we must continue to support one another and keep each other safe so that we can be brave enough to identify the fault lines and call out those who create them.

This year has shown us the consequences of failures and exposed the truths of WILPF’s analyses. We know exactly what has to be done; now we must do it.

Thank you for being by our side on this journey as we pursue a bold new future, together.

Credits

Producer – Nina Maria Mørk
Author – Adalmiina Erkkola
Copyeditor – Emily Dontsos
Design – Nadia Joubert
Development – Pierre Joubert

Photo contributions by: Irina Popa, Charlotte Hooij, Patrizia Scannella, Itab Azzam, Mir Grebäck von Melen, Venus Digital Image, Women Vote Peace, WILPF Cameroon, WILPF UK, WILPF Sweden, WILPF Colombia, WILPF Afghanistan, WILPF International Secretariat, Unsplash, Adobe Stock, WILPF members, staff and Sections.

Thank you to Annie Matundu-Mbambi and Sandra Ngoy Boyoo (WILPF DRC), Diana Salcedo López and María Camila García (WILPF Colombia), Oula Ramadan (Badael), Ida Arneson (WILPF Sweden), Heidi Meinzolt (WILPF Germany and Women Vote Peace), YouKyoung Ko (WILPF Consultant) and Kozue Akibayashi (WILPF Japan and WILPF’s Asia Pacific Regional Representative) for their help in writing the stories and giving feedback on them.

WILPF Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe conducted research on feminist political economy, which included activities in the communities based on the research findings. They also held a successful seminar on killer robots with local civil society organisations.

WILPF Denmark

Denmark contributed to a new National Action Plan for the UNSCR 1325, which is to be launched in 2020. The Section has been working on being part of a parliamentary working group on 1325.

WILPF Afghanistan

Afghanistan carried out successful workshops, advocacy meetings, and participation with other CSOs in the peace talks by bringing together Afghan women and delivering a clear message that women’s voices and perspectives need to be ensured in the negotiations.

WILPF Argentina

Argentina focused on solidarity and activism around the unjust detention of Milagro Sala, the “Not One [woman] Less” campaign which has seen mobilisations of more than a million people on the subject of gender violence, and the struggle for legal and free abortion.

WILPF Australia

Australia’s biggest impact was the key role played with other organisations in advocating for the reshaping of the peace and security dialogue, as well as policy and practice in Australia and the Asia and Pacific region, to move away from an increasingly militarised and securitised approach and towards a transformative women, peace, and security agenda.

WILPF Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso implemented a micro-project for women’s access to land which has attracted attention as a sensitive and even explosive subject in Burkina Faso.

WILPF Burundi

Burundi worked with the Women, Peace and Security platform to create spaces for women in the media for the upcoming electoral process, and contributed to increasing the participation rate of women in decision-making bodies.

WILPF Cameroon

Cameroon focused on building a youth movement, strengthening CSOs, increasing public administration collaboration (for instance, WILPF Cameroon has been included in the MINREX CSO register), and the women’s movement for participation in the national dialogue process.

WILPF Canada

Canada organised the “Lanterns for Peace” ceremony on Hiroshima Day on August 6.

WILPF Chad

Chad participated in the process of mapping women’s needs and organising a National Consultation for the UNSCR 1325.

WILPF Costa Rica

Costa Rica reviewed laws and public policies related to inequalities in care activities and the impacts this has had on women’s human rights. This topic was discussed during the celebration of International Human Rights Day on 10 December.

WILPF Côte d'Ivoire

Côte d’Ivoire was inspired by the WILPF Africa regional conference in Cameroon to generate project ideas and submit two proposals for small grants from WILPF, one of which was approved for a project focusing on collaboration with other associations working in the peace field.

WILPF DRC

DRC worked on the revision of the National Action Plan of UNSCR 1325 2nd generation. WILPF DRC was among the consultants who revised the National Action Plan and carried out advocacy at a high level with a dinner exchanged for parliamentarians in the DRC.

WILPF Finland

Finland sent out questionnaires to all parties on various peace issues during the parliamentary elections in the spring. The answers were published on the website to inform citizens on the parties’ stance on certain peace issues.

WILPF UK

UK addressed the issue of the environment during the annual autumn seminar.

WILPF Germany

Germany focused on the Women Vote Peace project, supported the delegation from Yemen and the tour with Rasha Jarhoum to inform civil society around Germany in terms of media and advocacy activities. It was a strong presence in the 1325 Association and conferences and dialogue on UNSCR 1325 in the preparatory phase of new NAP and participated in the work of the disarmament network.

WILPF Ghana

Ghana’s Girl Child Education programme in Central Ghana witnessed an increase of 40 per cent in enrolment of girls in these communities. WILPF Ghana’s Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) project launched the schools’ Anti VAWG’s code of conduct in Kanda Cluster of Schools.

WILPF Italy

Italy participated in the project “Feminist Peace in action”, which included many public conferences, and the project “Tor Cervara” that allowed the organising of two public offices for the working inclusion of asylum seekers and refugees.

WILPF Netherlands

Netherlands created an inventory of points for the European elections especially about militarisation and weapon industry, and later used this for influencing members of the European Parliament. They published the results in Peace Magazine.

WILPF Norway

Norway undertook a project on militarism and climate as part of a small grant from WILPF, which resulted in a booklet as well as presentations at meetings and articles in national newspapers.

WILPF Pakistan

Pakistan’s member Ayehsa Hassan organised two programmes for women to increase their income during winter. She also worked with local communities to promote the need to increase local government budgets for women and to start income generation programmes for the communities.

WILPF Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone organised a very successful launch of the Killer Robots campaign.

WILPF Spain

Spain signed an agreement with the government of Navarra which meant that the exhibition on the history of WILPF saw great dissemination and was also translated into English. They contributed to the film about WILPF, participated in the activities for the centenary of the Congress in Zurich, and internally held a seminar on the Catalonia-Spain conflict.

WILPF Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka conducted research on the impact of Small Arms and Gender Based Violence, and participated in a delegation to the Arms Trade Treaty.

WILPF Sweden

Sweden has continued to be an important, expert voice in the public debate on nuclear weapons and the TPNW. They arranged 19 feminist crash courses on nuclear weapons and disarmament in a total of 14 Swedish cities during 2019. The Section also supported the strengthening of the Africa region through visits and with new and closer relationships with Sections in Sudan and Kenya.

WILPF Switzerland

Switzerland attracted 170 women (and a few men) for the #Zurich19 re-enactment. The National Women’s Strike on 14 June 2019 saw members marching and demanding the Swiss government to go for conversion and stop armament as well as to sign the UN-nuclear weapons treaty.

WILPF Uganda

Uganda worked hard to engage, involve, and build the capacity of youth in the WILPF Uganda Section, who developed plans and formed Peace Youth Clubs in their respective schools and communities.