Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
Since its establishment in 1915, WILPF has worked to achieve through peaceful means world disarmament, full rights for women, racial and economic justice, an end to all forms of violence, and to establish those political, social, and psychological conditions which can assure peace, freedom, and justice for all. It is the oldest peace organization in the world.
On April 28, 1915, a group of women met in an International Congress in The Hague, Netherlands to protest against World War I to suggest ways to end it and to prevent war in the future. The organizers of the Congress were prominent women in the International Suffrage Alliance, who saw the connection between their struggle for equal rights and the struggle for peace. They assembled more than 1,000 women from warring and neutral nations to work out a plan to end WWI and lay the basis for a permanent peace. The International Women's Committee convened a conference to decide on proposals to put forward to the governmental peace conference convened in Versaille in 1919. Since the French government refused permission to the German women delegates, the women's conference was held in Zürich, Switzerland. A small group of delegates sat in Versaille to receive the submissions from Zürich and transfer them to the participants in the governmental conference. The women's congress (in Zürich) denounced the final terms of the peace treaty as a treaty of revenge of the victors over the vanquished, sowing the seeds of another world war. They decided to make the International Women's Committee a permanent organization and called it the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
Its aims and objectives are:
- 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
- To work toward world peace; total and universal disarmament; the abolition of violence and coercion in the settlement of conflict and their substitution in every case of negotiation and conciliation; the strengthening of the United Nations system; the continuous development and implementation of international law; political and social equality and economic equity; co-operation among all people; and an environmentally sustainable development.
- Believing that under systems of exploitation these aims cannot be attained and a real and lasting peace and true freedom cannot exist, WILPF makes it one of its missions to further by non- violent means the social and economic transformation of the international community. This would enable the establishment of economic and social systems in which political equality and social justice for all can be attained, without discrimination on the basis of sex, race, religion, or any other grounds whatsoever.
- Lobbies governments on international, national and local levels
- Connects communities with the international scene, through national sections
- Participates in, collaborates and networks with international institutions and global movements
- Develops reference, education and action tools through websites, conferences, seminars and publications
- Monitors and contributes to the work of the UN
- Ensures a gender perspective
WILPF’s national sections can be active in international politics by monitoring their government representatives’ actions and positions at the United Nations. Based on this, WILPF representatives design local and national campaigns and lobby their governments.