WILPF Statement on the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, & Security
This Statement by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom–U.S. Section (WILPF U.S.) raises critical concerns and questions about the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (NAP) issued by President Barack Obama on December 19, 2011. After ten years of unrelenting activism towards this goal, WILPF U.S. acknowledges the Obama Administration’s effort to draft and launch the National Action Plan, which has the potential to be a milestone in advancing the role of women as agents of peace through U.S. policy.
WILPF statement on the occasion of the 101th International Women's Day (March 8, 2012)
International Women's day is 101 years old! Over a century of celebrating a day which was not born from celebration but out of protest and of demands for change. From the 1908 protest by 15,000 garment workers marching through the streets of NYC demanding shorter work hours, better pay, voting rights and an end to child labor to 19 March 1911, when the nascent International Women's Day was marked for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland and brought over a million women and men into the streets. What they were demanding was the right to vote, to hold public office, the right to work and an end to discrimination.
In 2012 the demands that WILPF and our sister organisations continue to make are remarkably similar: to bring about change through peaceful, non-violent, participatory action, and address the political economy of violence.
The world is in a state of almost permanent conflict, declared, unfinished or imminent. The causes of those wars lie not just in realpolitik and the supposed security of States, but in economics and the need for resources. It was the lack of economic rights that sparked the uprisings in the Arab States followed by demands for civil and political rights: the same message as over 101 years ago!
WILPF reasserts that demand. Social and economic rights and justice without discrimination are central to peace and sustainable development. In the context of the 21st century and globalization we must use the tools of the international and national systems to bring this about.
It is for the above reasons that WILPF’s international programme is framed by three broad areas: Challenge Militarism; Invest in Peace; and Strengthen Multilateralism. We are proud that WILPF has strengthened our programme of work in the last year with the aim of implementing the WILPF “integrated approach” to security and ensuring that the Women Peace and Security agenda lies with those it is supposed to serve and nether essentialises us nor co-opts us into the military definitions of security.
The peaceful struggle of three women who lived the demands of Security Council Resolution on women, peace and security (SCR 1325), was recognized when they were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize: Leymah Gbowee, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia) and Tawakkol Karman (Yemen). We congratulate the new Laureates for the examples they have set and dedication to peace. To date, only 12 other women were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize including WILPF's first International President Jane Addams and Emily Balch.
There is much to be done - from the wars in African countries and Afghanistan, the instability in the Arab region, the threats of war against Iran, to the global recession and environmental degradation. International women’s day is indeed a day to recognize what has been done so far but also to raise our voices, to protest and to call on all of us to keep on working for peace.
In Peace and Solidarity
The 56th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women
The 56th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women took place at United Nations Headquarters in New York Monday, 27 February to Friday, 9 March 2012.
This session focused on the theme of "the empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication, development and current challenges."
PeaceWomen/WILPF monitored events and resources specifically related to the women, peace and security agenda. Click here to find a summary of the events that WILPF was involved in during CSW 56.
Read more at peacewomen.org
In memory of Wangari Maathai
Robin Lloyd, WILPF
For a camerawoman, filming at the UN Fourth World Conference on Women was a surfeit of memorable moments. One feared, nevertheless, not being at the right place at the right time.
One afternoon a group of Women in Black gathered. They formed a large circle holding candles. We camera women were able to enter the circle and take long slow tracking shots from face to face – the strongest and most passionate I have ever seen – their suffering and determination etched in deep lines on their faces. And then, I don’t know how it happened, I was at the right place at the right time, crouching right in front of Wangari Maathai as she made a spontaneous declaration. Shooting from that angle, she was majestic. Her words were majestic too. Holding her candle up, as if to salute a rising sun, she said:
“There is hope. No matter how subjugated we feel, no matter how hopeless we feel…especially in my region when we remember Rwanda, and remember Sudan and Somalia, and all the places where slaughter goes on all the time…We speak against the arms trade. Guns are being sold to poor Africans to kill each other so that they may remain poor, underprivileged and marginalized.
But we cannot lose hope. Here in Beijing, in the midst of all of you, we feel that the sun shall rise…”
Wangari’s evocation of the goals of the women’s movement for peace and justice became the high point of our film Peace Train to Beijing made by and for the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
I lift a candle to her now: bigger than life; majestic.
Since its release, on July 19, 2011, the U.S. WILPF Policy Paper has been endorsed by Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Former Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the U.N., Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (who is circulating her endorsement letter among the Women’s and Black Caucus), Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND), Gender Action, Betty Reardon, and the Center for Global Leadership, Additionally, the policypaper has been presented and dispersed to members of the National Council of Women’s Organizations for their endorsements, and other U.N.-based organizations associated with WILPF’s Peace Women Project.
Divided into thirteen thematic chapters, the Women, Peace and Security App is a reference guide for both progress made and action to be taken on the Women, Peace and Security agenda. The App examines the consistency with which UN Security Council incorporated the language and intent of its Women, Peace and Security agenda in its country-specific resolutions over the past 10 years. For diplomats this App will provide good-practice extracts from previous resolutions and give critical recommendations for future negotiations. For the UN system this App will provide easy access to the various obligations that derive form the WPS agenda.
Date: January 2011
Author: PeaceWomen and Kammerl Software
Organization: PeaceWomen Project (PW), Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
Theme: General Women, Peace and Security, Conflict Prevention, Participation, Protection, Peace Processes, Peacekeeping, Human Rights, Violence Against Women, Reconstruction & Peacebuilding, Disarmament, Displacement, DDRRR, Humanitarian Assistance, Health,
For Immediate Release, January 18, 2011
Contact: Allison Sturma
(Washington) - The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) announced today that its initiative on gender and peacebuilding is now become a full programmatic center, naming Kathleen Kuehnast as director. Kuehnast, a socio-cultural anthropologist, joined USIP in 2008 following a 15-year career in international development and post-conflict. Her newest book, a co-edited USIP Press volume, "Women and War: Power and Protection in the 21st Century" will be launched in May 2011.
Established in October 2009, the Gender and Peacebuilding Initiative has focused on coordinating the gender-related work of USIP.
"Our elevation of this Initiative to a full Center reflects the Institute’s commitment to gender awareness in both its analytical and practitioner work on conflict and peacebuilding," noted Tara Sonenshine, executive vice president of USIP. "In its first year, the initiative hosted over 25 gender-related public events with 200 experts, and over 3,500 registrants demonstrating the demand for further understanding about this critical approach in the conflict management and peacebuilding field. The new Center will continue to convene global experts on gender, conflict, and peacebuilding to inform and expand critical understanding about gender impacts, and to contribute to policy change through analytical and practitioner work on gender, conflict, and peacebuilding."
Among the areas of focus in 2011 for the new Center will be the continued support to the U.S. Government’s development of a Women, Security and Peace Implementation Plan to make actionable core elements of the U.N. Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, a landmark framework that addresses the inordinate impact of war on women, as well as women’s critical contribution to conflict resolution and sustainable peace. To provide general background about the resolution, the Center has developed a tutorial that includes relevant USIP public presentations and written documents on the women, security and peace agenda.
The Center will continue to take a leadership role in convening various stakeholders in the field, including the U.S. and international governments, civil society, and the military on issues of gender mainstreaming. The Center’s gender-related operational work in the coming year will focus on topics such as Afghan and Iraqi women dialogues in peacebuilding; Afghan women parliamentarian leadership capacity building; women and extremism in Iran, Pakistan, and Russia; women and informal markets in North Korea; and women religious leaders and peacemaking.
Recently the program co-hosted "Women and War," a three-day conference commemorating the tenth anniversary of UNSCR 1325 focused on women, peace and security. In addition, last month USIP published the Special Report, “The Role of Women in Global Security," which draws on discussions at the conference co-hosted by the U.S. Embassy in Denmark and the Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In addition to the women, peace and security agenda, the Center has just issued the PeaceBrief, "The Other Side of Gender: Including Masculinity Concerns in Conflict and Peacebuilding." Reflecting on the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, the Center issued a report on the problem of increasing sexual violence in the IDP camps.
The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) provides the analysis, training and tools that help to prevent, manage and end violent international conflicts, promote stability and professionalize the field of peacebuilding.
Click here for the original source.
Elise Boulding died at 4:40 pm, June 24, 2010 in Needham, MA. Hailed as a “matriarch” of the twentieth century peace research movement, she was sociologist emeritus from Dartmouth College and from the University of Colorado and in on the ground floor in the movements of peace, women’s studies and futures and played pivotal roles in each. Her writings on the role of the family, women, spirituality and international non-governmental organizations have offered activists and educators new ways of conceiving the tasks inherent in making peace. Beginning in tandem with her late husband, economist and Quaker poet Kenneth Boulding and later on her own, she went on to build a life that encompassed research, writing and teaching, networking and building communities of learning. Dr. Boulding is the author of over 300 publications and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990. Her theoretical work on the role of the family in educating toward social change, and the role women have played in peacemaking, together with her ideas on transnational networks and their relationship to global understanding are considered seminal contributions to twentieth century peace education thought. Prior to her scholarly career, which formally began for her at age fifty after receiving her doctorate from the University of Michigan, Dr. Boulding was making major contributions in other areas, most notably as a peace educator and prominent Quaker and as a leader in the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), rising up to be International Chair.
She was a founder of the International Peace Research Association and later became its International Secretary-General. She was a co-founder the Consortium on Peace, Research, Education and Development. As an active opponent of the Vietnam War, Dr. Boulding ran for Congress in the 1960s on a Peace Platform in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She taught sociology and women’s studies at the University of Colorado, where she helped to found the peace studies program. She later taught sociology and helped to found the peace studies program at Dartmouth College. She took key leadership positions in the American and International Sociological Associations, worked on climate change, population, and arms control with the American Association of the Advancement of Science, was engaged with the American Futures Society, the World Policy Institute, the United Nations University in Tokyo, consultative work with UNESCO, and was appointed by President Jimmy Carter as the only woman to sit on the Commission to establish the U.S. Institute of Peace. She was on the boards of the National Peace Institute Foundation, the Boulder Parenting Center, the Exploratory Project on Conditions for a Just World Peace, the International Peace Research Association Foundation, the Committee for the Quaker United Nations Office, and Honorary Chair of the National Peace Academy Advisory Board. Prior to her retirement from Dartmouth College, she was a Senior Fellow of the Dickey Center for International Understanding at that university. In 1993 Dr. Boulding represented Quakers at the inaugural gathering of the global Interfaith Peace Council.
Born in 1920 in Oslo, Norway, her status as an immigrant profoundly affected her life and work. A graduate of Douglas College (now part of Rutgers University), Dr. Boulding joined the Religious Society of Friends at age 21, Her sense of herself as a Quaker and her deep spirituality informed all of her subsequent work. Blessed with a very high energy level, at times she also sought out Catholic monasteries for times of retreat from her very heavily scheduled life as an academic, activist, author and speaker. In 1973 she spent a year in retreat in a mountain cabin outside Boulder, CO, where she began writing her seminal work on women, The Underside of History, a View of Women Through Time. Her last book, Cultures of Peace: the Hidden Side of History, is a celebration of the many ways peace is made in everyday places and hidden spaces and its writing was a culmination of her life’s work. Retiring from Dartmouth College in 1985 she returned to Boulder, Colorado. In 1996 she relocated to Wayland, MA and in 2000 she moved to a retirement home in Needham, MA.
Pre-deceased by her husband, Dr. Kenneth Boulding and her two sisters Sylvia Griffith and Vera Larson, she is survived by her five children and their spouses: Russell and Bonnie Boulding of Bloomington, IN, Mark and Pat Boulding of Englewood, CO, Christine Boulding and the late Gregory Graham of Wayland, MA, Philip and Pam Boulding of Olalla, WA and William and Liz Boulding of Durham, NC, 16 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to the National Peace Academy, PO Box 382, San Mateo, CA 94401 (please identify Elise Boulding Scholarship Fund, which was established to honor her life of dedication to peace, on check). Russell Boulding (4464 N. Robbs Lane, Bloomington, IN, 47408, email@example.com) is collecting tributes/reminiscences of those touched by her to be complied, shared with the family and placed in the Elise Boulding Collection at the University of Colorado Archives, Boulder.
An excerpt of Elise Boulding's oral history is also located on this site here.
Thank you for having me!
When people start a new job the first thing that they say is: "it is an honour for me to be here". At the risk of being totally conformist I will say it too……and it is, it really is! For all of us who care about women, security and justice in its broadest sense, WILPF is an icon. What we say today, in our attempts to get the United Nations to define security in a way which is meaningful to women, paying attention to the impact of arms expenditure on social and economic rights, the illegality and immorality of nuclear arms, the need to network and cooperate and hold accountable…these were being articulated by WILPF 95 years ago! The context has changed, the mechanism we can use to address them have changed, but these fundamental issues remain and it is now my privilege to work with you to develop our vision, our strategies towards realisation, and to do so in a way which holds the values of WILPF at the forefront of what we do.
I am a feminist and have been since I was two! It was feminism which gave me a fundamental belief in the need for equality and ultimately, to the law as one way of seeking to achieve that. It was women from Nicaragua who told me to become a lawyer and I obeyed. It turned out to be sage advice and after qualifying I became known as a discrimination lawyer, but ultimately one who was frustrated. Cases I was doing, though important, were dwarfed by the horrors of Rwanda and of Bosnia and by our lack of action. And so I went to Bosnia to see what use lawyers could be, found the brilliant women in the NGO's and couldn't leave. I ultimately stayed in the capacity as head of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, with the privilege of doing so when Mary Robinson was that High Commissioner.
In Latin America, but specifically in Bosnia, I learnt that we needed to rethink the concept of law so that it could accurately describe women's experience and effect fundamental change in social, economic and cultural structures and hence in politics and governance. I learnt too how violence in conflict does not just stop when the peace treaty is signed; that trafficking, sexual exploitation, and the militarization of society continues and unless recognised and addressed militates against participation of women in governance and justice mechanisms. We did some good things by using the law, but on its own it is not enough; training, education, capacity building, campaigning and activism are vital. Whilst head of the Women's Rights and Gender Unit at OHCHR in Geneva, I tried to develop this thinking into concrete ways in which rights can be realised! in practical ways and in real places…..There is still much to be done!
Before I accepted the position of SG, the WILPF presidents told me that WILPF is not really an NGO; it's more of a social movement. Is there such a thing as a Secretary General of a social movement? Probably not, but, I am here to be part of it, to build on it and strengthen it, and to do whatever it is we have to do to make those who got it right in 1915 be proud of us.
Note: To read a brief biography of Madeleine Rees, visit the Peace Women: Past & Present page.
For the most up-to-date news coverage of UNSCR 1325 and events related to it, bookmark the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security web site and the web site for our sister project, Peacewomen.org.