WILPF Report 2020

Stories of Feminist Peace

MESSAGE FROM OUR INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT AND SECRETARY-GENERAL

Photo of Joy Onyesoh

Joy Onyesoh

International President

Photo of Madeleine Rees

Madeleine Rees

Secretary-General

What are the root causes of inequality and injustice in our world today? How is the feminist peace movement a powerful force for change? In 2020, we explored the answers to these questions in a visually engaging new video showcasing how and why WILPF is committed to advancing peace and freedom for all.

View the video in the following languages:

Keeping focus,

building big ideas

WILPF’s COVID-19 Response: Action for Change

In 2020, WILPF mobilised a global movement to drive change for women and girls impacted by COVID-19 – supporting grassroots initiatives, demanding government action, and exposing inadequate responses to the pandemic through tireless research and analysis that examined and contextualised the impacts of COVID-19 through a feminist lens.

Read our publications analysing the impact of COVID-19 on women around the world and demanding action for a future of justice and peace.

2020 in

Numbers

Present in
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countries

Our
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activists live in 59 countries

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staff and consultants around the globe

0
donors (9 new)

Thinking globally, acting locally. In 2020, WILPFers around the world worked within their own communities toward a shared vision of peace, justice, and equality for all.

Meet an Activist

Building a Culture of Feminist Peace in Afghanistan

In 2020, we launched a new video series to highlight the work of WILPFers dedicated to advancing the feminist peace movement in communities around the world.

Our first video in the series – the only one we were able to make prior to the COVID-19 lockdown – shares a look into WILPF Afghanistan’s efforts to transform mindsets and cultural attitudes preventing women from active social, economic, and political participation.

Graphic illustration of three black women. All with masks.

Virtual Africa Regional Meeting

Illusration of man opening and escaping a door inside another man's muscle ...

Mobilising Men for Feminist Peace

Book cover with illustration stating: resolution 1325

Peace Women Consultations

Our Community in 2020

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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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MENA Partners

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

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ACADEMIC NETWORK MEMBERS

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

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WILPF Map (copy)

WILPF Sections and Groups

MENA Partners

WILPF Initiatives

WILPF Afghanistan

WILPF Argentina Group

WILPF Australia

WILPF Burkina Faso Group

WILPF Burundi Group

WILPF Cameroon

WILPF Canada

WILPF Chad

WILPF Costa Rica

WILPF Côte d’Ivoire Group

WILPF DRC

WILPF Denmark

WILPF Finland

WILPF Germany

WILPF Ghana

WILPF Italy

WILPF Netherlands

WILPF Norway

WILPF Pakistan

WILPF Sierra Leone group

WILPF Spain

WILPF Sri Lanka Group

WILPF Sweden

WILPF Switzerland

WILPF Uganda

WILPF UK

WILPF Zimbabwe

WILPF CAR Group

WILPF Kenya

WILPF Nigeria

WILPF Niger Group

WILPF Senegal Group

WILPF Somalia Group

WILPF Sudan Group

WILPF Togo Group

WILPF Colombia

WILPF Mexico

WILPF United States of America

WILPF Aotearoa

WILPF Japan

WILPF Palestine

WILPF India

WILPF Polynesia

WILPF Lebanon

Egypt (MENA)

Iraq (MENA)

Libya (MENA)

Syria (MENA)

Yemen (MENA)

Lebanon (MENA)

Palestine (MENA)

Ukraine

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Korean Peninsula

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

Country Stories

Yemen is a nation in crisis.

Since 2014, the country has been in the grips of a devastating civil war that has left nearly a quarter of a million people dead. In 2020, under the added strains of the COVID-19 pandemic, Yemen’s healthcare system collapsed along with its resource supply chains.

In the midst of Yemen’s historic humanitarian crisis driven by years of conflict and the effects of COVID-19, a movement for peace has emerged – and it’s being led by women.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, which continues to struggle with the consequences of the Bosnian War, WILPF is focused on networking with women activists and feminist organisations, creating spaces for dialogue on post-war reconstruction and recovery, and shaping feminist alternatives to the current neoliberal political economy.

In 2020, WILPF made three major submissions to the United Nations on areas of key concern within Bosnia and Herzegovina, including migration, human rights and conflict, and austerity.


The Korean War (1950-1953) must be resolved with a peace agreement. With a mission to educate, organise, and advocate for a peace agreement to end the Korean War, WILPF is a key partner in a global campaign called Korea Peace Now! Women Mobilizing to End the War. In 2020, Korea Peace Now! created spaces for dialogue, educated community members and governments about the need for a formal end to the Korean War, and engaged in analysis and lobbying activities in and around the United Nations.

In 2020, WILPF Cameroon published the results of a major research project examining gender dimensions related to the country’s conflicts.

Conducted in partnership with other civil society organisations and women activists, the analysis highlights the lived experiences of women and girls affected by conflict and advocates for spaces for women to participate in conflict prevention, mediation, and resolution.

The report was officially presented at the residence of the British High Commissioner during an event hosting local and international representatives for talks on human rights.

 

Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, sexual violence against women has been used as a systemic weapon of war.

In 2020, WILPF connected with key stakeholders to influence discourse, analysis and work related to sexual violence and its impact on Syrian women.

WILPF was able to successfully influence, the International, Impartial Independent Mechanism (IIIM) to apply WILPF’s proposed feminist contextual and analytical approach to their work, guiding their gender analysis framework to address sexual violence.


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OUR OUTREACH

IN 2020

29,116
Followers
(+ 11%)
38,552
Followers
(+ 13%)
2,393
Followers
(+ 57%)
682
Followers
(+ 29%)
0
visits on all of our websites, or 1,600 daily visits (34% increase from 2019)
0
Newsletters sent
(+ 56%)
0
Newsletters subscribers
(+ 48%)
0
public webinars hosted in 2020!

ADVOCACY AND

INFLUENCE

Although the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we work and communicate, our advocacy efforts continued without pause in 2020. Our progress was a direct result of the strength of WILPF’s global community — staff, members, partners, donors, and stakeholders — and the vision we share of a future defined by peace, justice, and human security.

Illusration of four women walking. One is in a wheelchair. Behind is a photo of the UN building in Geneva.

Over Two Decades Later, What Have These Women’s Rights Milestones Really Achieved?

2020 marked two major milestones for the women’s rights movement: the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and 20th anniversary of the adoption of UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. But all these years later, it’s clear that meaningful progress is still yet to be made. In this story, we examine the state of women’s rights today and highlight WILPF’s ongoing efforts to advocate, organise, and analyse for change.

Illusration of four women walking. One is in a wheelchair. Behind is a photo of the UN building in Geneva.

Feminists for Nuclear Disarmament

When the United States dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan in 1945, over 140,000 people lost their lives – and the bombs’ radiation has caused the harm to be felt for generations. Since then, WILPF has been a leading voice for the abolition of nuclear weapons. In 2020 – the 75th anniversary of the bombings – our years of activism contributed to the ratification of the UN’s Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Read some of our selected advocacy documents produced in 2020.
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statements given to the UN

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submissions made to the UN

0

conference reports produced

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activists joined one of our 14 advocacy trainings

Supporting and Protecting Women Human Rights Defenders

Monitoring the UN’s Work on Disarmament

Advancing Cyber Peace

Business and Human Rights: Raising Awareness

Launching the First-Ever Gender and Disarmament Database

Building Capacity, Strengthening the Movement

In this publication released together with the London School of Economics Centre for Women, Peace and Security, we examine the disappearance of language about the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in country-specific and WPS resolutions by the UN Security Council. Together with the publication comes a guide targeting civil society organisations.

This zine gathers stories about eco-feminist peace and showcases WILPF Sections’ and Groups’ activities done as part of WILPF’s Environmental Peace Education Initiative, which was launched in 2018. Through this zine, we highlight the close relationship between the environment, women’s rights, and peace.

What should an international post-COVID-19 settlement look like? In this publication, six feminist principles for a post-COVID-19 recovery are presented. Originally shared with the UN General Assembly, they have now been made widely available in this report with the hope to bring new ideas, perspectives, and solutions forward.

This e-Pub authored by Reaching Critical Will director Ray Acheson looks at the harms caused by border imperialism, police brutality, incarceration, weapons and war, and more. These essays demonstrate how each of these harms relies on and helps sustain the interconnected systems of militarism, capitalism, racism, and patriarchy.

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Walking the Green Feminist Road

The impacts of climate change and environmental destruction were felt deeply in 2020. As a global organisation, we renewed our commitment to advancing climate justice – including by supporting and highlighting eco-feminist activism among our Sections, and by taking a hard look at our own policies and practices.

WILPF staff group photo

Thank You

WILPF logo

Analysis and action are the lifeblood of WILPF.

Throughout 2020, many of our Sections, Groups, and partners did amazing work in responding to the multiple crises that exploded during the pandemic: the pandemic within the pandemic that is gender-based violence, the lack of access to food, the collapse of basic healthcare services. The list goes on.

In addition to grassroots action, WILPFers also looked deeply into how COVID-19 exposed the structures that create and sustain gender discrimination — and how gender interacts with racism and white supremacy to compound inequalities and injustice.

In 2020, each of these intersecting challenges cried out for our collective attention with greater urgency than ever before. And we’re not just listening: we’re amplifying voices, advocating for change, and examining our own ways of being.

But there is still so much work to be done. 2021 has already shown us that the temperature is still too high. Calmness and clarity of purpose are needed in how we work, but so is passion. Passion to make the changes that history has shown us must be made if decency, trust, and solidarity can be made real.

As a great poet recently said, “It’s the past we step into and how we repair it.” If 2020 exposed the fault lines, in 2021 the tectonic plates of change are moving. The transformative repair work must now begin.

Pakistan video transcript

(WILPF logo on blue background.)
(Roads in the city of Islamabad with a lot of traffic.)
During the coronavirus pandemic
(View of the road from the inside of a car.)
WILPF set up a solidarity care fund
(Nabeela, coordinator of WILPF Pakistan, sits in the back of the car and watches the landscape go by.)
which helped rural women to fight against the virus and best protect their families and communities.
(Lotus field with village in background.)
(Woman washing clothes, surrounded by grass and a water buffalo.)
(Young children playing on a dirt floor.)
(Smiling old man looking down from above.)
(Six young children posing in the street with plants in their hands.)
(Three young children smiling and waving to the camera.)
(Three women sit on the floor, one of them using a sewing machine while the other two look at her.)
(Two women sewing.)
On the one hand
(Purple fabric.)
(Hands holding scissors cutting the purple fabric.)
(Woman using a sewing machine.)
it equipped rural women to make masks.
(Women talking to each other, one of them holds a purple cloth mask.)
Secondly it empowered them technically
(Woman trying on a purple fabric mask.)
(Three women sitting on a bench staring at a cell phone.)
(Hands holding the cellphone.)
providing them latest mobile phones
(Women using the cell phone for a video call.)
(Three women on video call showing the phone to the camera.)
to embrace the impact of the online world.
(Images of women on video call, sewing and getting out of the car scrolling very quickly. Like a quick flashback.)
(The flow of images returns to normal and we drive slowly through the streets of Islamabad.)
(Nabeela, coordinator of WILPF Pakistan, and Misbah, WILPF Pakistan Assistant, filming themselves in the back of a car, explaining what they are going to do and making peace signs to the camera.)
So we are going to buy sewing machines and mobile phones.
(Inside of a phone store where many men are queuing.)
Women, and especially rural women are much affected by the digital divide.
(Nabeela and Misbah acquiring several cell phones.)
In Pakistan, usually women have obsolete cellphone sets as compared to men due to which they are unable to meet the challenges posed by the Corona pandemic.
(Street of a bazaar in Islamabad.)
Afterwards we visited some sewing machines shops
(Interior of sewing machine shops.)
and bought the sewing machines
(Shelves filled with sewing machines.)
recommended and requested by the village women.
(Men working in their sewing machine stores.)
In a typical Pakistani bazaar
(Man repairing a sewing machine in his store.)
almost all ways of livelihood are occupied by men. Due to favourable environment and because it is paid tailoring is men’s domain.
(Open car trunk with WILPF Pakistan signs, sewing machines and cell phones.)
(Nabeela and Misbah entering the car.)
(Nabeela and Misbah filming themseves in the backseats of the car.)
Next day early in the morning we started our journey to visit the village Narran Mughlan.
(Pakistani landscapes passing by at the speed of the car.)
Two hours drive from Islamabad.
(View of the village of Narran Mughlan. A few people, a few habitations, green spaces and water buffaloes.)
(Women taking out what’s in the trunk.)
When we entered the village first of all we visited needle and thread centre known as Soee-Dhaga Centre.
(Shelf in which threads and needles are placed.)
(Needle and thread center interior with WILPF Pakistan signs on the wall.)
(Women bringing the new sewing machine in the Needle and thread center.)
WILPF gave sewing machines thread, cloth and sanitisers to prepare masks and to train young girls in mask making.
(Women sanitizing their hands.)
(Woman taking measures on a purple fabric.)
(Woman cutting the purple fabric.)
(Woman sewing the purple fabric with a sewing machine.)
(Two women watching a third making masks with a sewing machine also explaining to them how to do it.)
We are making a pico stitch on all four sides.
(Woman continuing to show how to make a cloth mask.)
If it is a single layered mask then there is no need of stitching.
(Woman finishing a mask using a sewing machine.)
We are using a double layered mask and to join two layers a pico stitch must be used.
(Women trying on the masks.)
These masks are washable and reusable.
(Three women sitting on a bench staring at a cell phone.)
This visit was followed by WILPF monthly meeting.
(Hands holding the cellphone.)
Demonstrating how to use the newly acquired mobile phone set.
(Woman showing the phone to two other women and explaining how to use it.)
and training others to use it and teaching zoom application used by a majority of Pakistani people during lockdown periods.
(Hands holding the cellphone showing how to use the Zoom application.)
(Woman showing the phone to two other women and explaining how to use it.)
(Women using the cell phone for a video call.)
It was interesting to see Farzana Ashraf using most updated mobile phone set to connect with other members across the country through zoom. Her connection was fast, better and uninterrupted as compared to other members.
(Nabeela and Misbah getting ready to get into the car and leave the village.)
After spending almost three hours Misbah and I we started our journey back to Islamabad.
(Pakistani landscapes passing by at the speed of the car.)
(Misbah in the backseat of the car.)
And it was soothing to listen in the car ‘Wehrey aa verr meray’
(Man dancing in the car.)
(View on a landscape, people are walking in the grass, the sun is setting and some cars are driving on the road.)
(Blue background)
Filmed by Nabeela Aslam and Misbah Nazir, of WILPF Pakistan.
(WILPF logo on blue background.)

Hiroshima member statement

(Acronym Institue Founder, Rebecca Johnson, from UK, seated on her couch in front of a library and speaking to her webcam.)
The nine nuclear-armed countries are spending around 80 billion dollars just on nuclear weapons alone in one year, 2019. And of that, it’s about 7.2 billion spent just by the United Kingdom. What could we do with that?
(WILPF logo on blue background.)
(WILPF member from Ghana, named Naida, filming herself speaking in front of a white wall.)
138 000 dollars per minute, on nuclear weapons, it’s ridiculous!
(Nuclear free activist and co-founder of ICAN, Dimity Hawkins, from Australia, seated ar her desk in front of a library and speaking to her webcam.)
What would we spend our money on instead of nukes? Well imagine a world that could pay for all the medical research needed to cure chronic diseases.
(WILPF member from Spain, named Tica, filming herself speaking in front of a white wall.)
We could pay for 736 million masks for the pandemic.
(WILPF member from Spain, named Estefania, seated on a yellow couch, filming herself speaking in front of a white wall.)
We could pay for the healing of women and girls who have experienced the trauma of sexual violence during armed conflict.
(WILPF member from Pakistan, named Zarina, seated on a white chair in a garden, speaking to the camera.)
Education would be the best defence a country can have.
(WILPF member from Spain, named Laura, standing in front of a white wall with a piece of art and a plant behind her, speaking to the camera.)
We need resources to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the Agenda 2030.
(WILPF member from USA, named Robin, standing outside in front of a tree, speaking to the camera.)
Close the 800 bases that exist around the world-
(WILPF member from UK, named Taniel, seated ar her desk and speaking to her webcam.)
– so states can provide and protect their people’s socio-economic needs.
(WILPF member from Germany, named Heidi, seated ar her desk and speaking to her webcam.)
We need the money for the care and health sector where so many women are underpaid.
(WILPF member from DRC, named Annie, standing outside in front of a wall, speaking to the camera and holding a sign that says: “Spending 138 699 dollars for war is not OK. Spending 138 699 dollars for peace is OK.”)
Water, electricity, houses, education, and peace.
(United Nations Liaison for ICAN, Seth Shelden, from USA, seated ar his desk and speaking to his webcam.)
Every societal problem that I could possibly think of would be better served by those trillions, and we’d still have more left over after that.
(WILPF member from Spain, named Sonia, seated at her desk and speaking to her webcam in front of a green library.)
I think it’s time for us as humans to no longer be constantly faced with the threat of destruction.
(WILPF member from Argentina, named Pia, standing in front of a white wall and speaking to the camera.)
The impact that nuclear weapons have on the victims, on their families and communities is a constant reminder of why they should be abolished.
(WILPF member from Burundi, named Davy, standing in front of a white wall and speaking to the camera.)
It’s the worst invention the human has made.
(United Nations Liaison for ICAN, Seth Shelden, from USA, seated ar his desk and speaking to his webcam.)
Money for health care and economic relief could have saved lives during this pandemic. Why are we continuing to invest so much in threatening to destroy lives, when we could be using it to preserve life?
(WILPF member from Lebanon, named Shirine, standing in front of a white wall and speaking to the camera.)
Let us hand in hand move the money and invest in the well-being and dignity of people.
(WILPF member from GNWP, named Agniezka, standing in front of a white wall, filming herself and speaking.)
We will never achieve peace and prosperity if we don’t prioritise and invest in non-violent and peace-oriented approaches.
(WILPF member from Australia, named Chris, standing in front of a white wall with artworks, filming herself and speaking.)
Nuclear weapons are unconscionable on every single level, on every dimension.
(Director of WILPF’s disarmament programme Reaching Critical Will, Ray Acheson, standing in front of a grey wall and speaking to the camera.)
Eliminating nuclear weapons is an important piece of the puzzle for a new world order based on principles of feminist peace.
(WILPF member from UK, named Janet, seated at her desk and speaking to her webcam.)
It matters to me because I believe in life, not death. That’s why I am a feminist nuclear disarmament campaigner.
(Nuclear free activist and co-founder of ICAN, Dimity Hawkins, from Australia, seated ar her desk in front of a library and speaking to her webcam.)
All of the places, and all the people that you love in the world are under threat from nuclear weapons. We don’t have to live with that any longer. These weapons can be dismantled, and they must be. And so therefore, we work for nuclear abolition, for all that we love in this world.
(Blue background and white text that says: “Take action now. Visit wilpf.org”)
(WILPF logo on blue background.)

Credits

Creative Director – Nina Maria Mørk Hansen

Authors – Adalmiina Erkkola (stories), Emily Dontsos (stories), Molly Jerlström (Section snippets), Elena Cason (Section snippets), Tove Ivergård (Section snippets)

Copyeditor – Emily Dontsos

Video transcripts – Adélaïde Barat-Magan

Design – Nadia Joubert

Development – Pierre Joubert

Thank you to Laila Alodaat & Rasha Jarhum (The Women Leading Yemen’s Peace Movement), Elena Cason, Madeleine Rees, Ray Acheson & Nela (WILPF’s COVID-19 Response: Action for Change), Zarin Hamid & Genevieve Riccoboni (Over Two Decades Later, What Have These Women’s Rights Milestones Really Achieved?), Katrin Geyer and Ray Acheson (Feminists for Nuclear Disarmament) and Maria Butler, Jenny Aulin & Elena Cason (Walking the Green Feminist Road) for their help in writing the stories of change and giving feedback on them.

Photo contributions by: Irina Popa, Nela Porobić Isaković, Ari Beser, Korea Peace Now, Charlotte Hooij, dinosmichail, Unsplash, Adobe Stock, WILPF Sections and Groups in Aotearoa, Australia, Argentina, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, and Togo. Photos from WILPF Archives, WILPF International Secretariat

Videos contributions by: The Story, Tay Blyth-Kubota, Joanna Maxwell-Scott, Antoine Guide,
Crewstudio.