Nearly 100 years ago, women from a diversity of cultures and languages came together to study, make known and eliminate the causes of war. They resolved, acted and organised; they worked for peace and freedom by asserting the right and the responsibility of women to participate in decision-making on all aspects of peace and security. Their insight in 1915 remains valid today; in order to achieve peace and freedom, the causes of war must be eliminated; economic and social systems based on profit and privilege must be transformed to societies based on political and economic equality, participation of women and men, and justice for all regardless of race, sex or creed. The economy of war against human beings, against nature, particularly as we face the climate crisis, must be switched to an Economy of Peace, to provide satisfaction to human needs, while being friendly to the environment.
What are peace and freedom in 2008 and how are they to be realised? These are not rhetorical questions with obvious answers when terms such as ‘security’ and the so-called ‘war on terror’ are manipulated and leveraged to reduce civil and political rights, and drain human and financial resources from delivering economic, social and cultural rights and security for all. Using words such as ‘safety’ and ‘protection’, military security concepts and weapons profiteers develop machines that threaten and violate the human right to life and freedom. In the name of ‘democracy’, powerful actors make profits at the expense of our planet and its finite resources, and the rights of future generations to exist. In the name of ‘increasing women’s role in peace and security’, more women are militarised and sent to war zones, which is a distorted application of resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.
Our work continues through the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom’s international programme to empower women, eliminate war and militarism and build a strong United Nations system, through which international law, co-operation among peoples and environmentally sustainable development can be achieved.
Implementing our Programme
WILPF is an international organisation with 35 national sections focused on numerous local and national priorities, which are linked to an overall international programme framework. This framework identifies priorities for our staff and offices and provides opportunities for simultaneous coordinated WILPF action. The programme is:
- Decided at the International Congress, the highest decision making body of WILPF;
- Focused and prioritised by an International Board made up of representatives from each Section meeting annually, and its Executive Committee;
- Elaborated and implemented through thematic Working Groups and Standing Committees that broaden the basis for participation in WILPF’s international work and create closer links between the national, regional, and international levels;
- Carried out through Sections working on the national level,
- Supported, resourced and coordinated by our international Secretariat.