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Founded in 1915, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) is the oldest women's peace organization in the world. It is a non-profit non-governmental organization working "to bring together women of different political views and philosophical and religious backgrounds determined to study and make known the causes of war and work for a permanent peace" and to unite women worldwide who oppose oppression and exploitation. WILPF has National Sections in 37 countries.

WILPF is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and maintains a United Nations Office in New York City.

Contents

Positions

WILPF envisions a world free violence, poverty, pollution and dominance. WILPF stands for equality of all people in a world free of racism, sexism and homophobia; the building of a constructive peace through world disarmament; and the changing of government priorities to meet human needs.

Broad areas of concern are:

  • Disarmament, Demilitarization and Good Governance
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Global Economic Justice

History

The forerunner to WILPF, the Woman's Peace Party (WPP) was formed in January, 1915 in Washington, D.C. at a meeting called by Jane Addams and Carrie Chapman Catt. The approximately 3,000 women attendees approved a platform calling for the extension of suffrage to women and for a conference of neutral countries to offer continuous mediation as a way of ending war. WPP sent representatives to an International Women's Congress for Peace and Freedom, held in The Hague from April 28 to April 30, 1915. The Congress was organized by the German feminist Anita Augspurg (1857–1943), Germany's first female jurist, and Lida Gustava Heymann (1868–1943) at the invitation of the Dutch pacifist, feminist and suffragist Aletta Jacobs to protest against the war then raging in Europe, and to suggest ways to prevent war in the future. The Congress, attended by 1,136 participants from both neutral and belligerent nations, adopted much of the platform of WPP and established an International Committee of Women for Permanent Peace (ICWPP) with Jane Addams as president. WPP soon became of US Section of ICWPP.

Jane Addams met with President Woodrow Wilson and is said to have worked out some common ground on peace. However, at their 2nd international congress, held in Zürich in 1919, ICWPP denounced the final terms of the peace treaty ending World War I as a scheme of revenge of the victors over the vanquished that would sow the seeds of another world war. They decided to make their committee permanent and renamed it the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. WILPF moved its headquarters to Geneva to be near the proposed site of the League of Nations, although WILPF did not endorse empowering that organization to conduct food blockades or to use military pressure to enforce its resolutions.

Two WILPF leaders have received the Nobel Peace Prize for their peace efforts and international outlook and work with WILPF: Jane Addams, in 1931 and Emily Greene Balch in 1946.

WILPF and the United Nations

WILPF has had Consultative Status (category B) with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) since 1948 and has Special Consultative Relations with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), as well as special relations with the International Labour Organization (ILO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and other organizations and agencies. WILPF has advocates and lobbies for the democratization of the UN, the Security Council and all other UN organizations and agencies; monitors Security Council and General Assembly activities in order to promote reforms; opposes the privatisation and corporatisation of the UN, especially the global compact with corporations; and advocates for the abolition of the Security Council veto.

See also

Bibliography

  • Harriet Hyman Alonso, Peace as a Women's Issue: A History of the U.S. Movement for World Peace and Women's Rights (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1993) ISBN 0-8156-0269-3
  • Gertrude Bussey and Margaret Tims, Pioneers for Peace: Women's International League for Peace and Freedom 1915-1965 (1965; Oxford: Alden Press, 1980) ISBN 0-9506968-0-3
  • Carrie A. Foster, The Women and the Warriors: The U.S. Section of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, 1915-1946 (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1995) ISBN 0-8156-2662-2
  • Catherine Foster, Women for All Seasons: The Story of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (Athens and London: The University of Georgia Press, 1989) ISBN 0-8203-1147-2

External links

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