Feminists for Nuclear Disarmament

Building the Movement
Women are our greatest strength. We are more than half of the world’s population, we are an enormous global constituency. WILPF maintains and builds this network as a safe and inclusive organisation, using it to advance ideas and create momentum for change.
Redefine Security
WILPF rejects the idea that security is synonymous with military strength. We believe that real security can only be achieved through a shift to a different political economy with investment in environmental protection, social and economic rights, moving money from the machinery of war to the foundations of peace.
Leverage Feminist
Perspectives on Peace
In a patriarchal world, the feminist perspective has been missing from discussions on conflict, sustainability, and more. WILPF develops and amplifies feminist perspectives on root causes and promotes them on the international and national policy agenda. In doing so, we advance the cause of peace.

Just over 75 years ago, the United States (US) dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan – one on the city of Hiroshima, one on Nagasaki. The bombs, with their blast, fire, and ionising radiation, immediately incinerated hundreds of thousands of people, plants, animals, and buildings. By the end of 1945, 140,000 people had lost their lives. And the bombs’ radiation has caused the harm to be felt for generations.

Despite knowing their catastrophic effects, certain nuclear-armed state officials and academics still point to nuclear weapons as important tools of “security”. This perspective willfully overlooks how, for nearly a century, nuclear weapon activities have contaminated land and water and have disproportionately endangered and harmed the lives of many of the world’s most marginalised populations – particularly Indigenous and economically disadvantaged communities.

In 1999, WILPF formalised its focus on anti-nuclear activism with the launch of our disarmament programme, also known as Reaching Critical Will (RCW). For over two decades, RCW has been working to undo the nuclear way of thinking – better described as nuclearism.

Ray Acheson, RCW’s Programme Director, calls nuclearism “‘an epic feat of gaslighting”’ upheld by academics, politicians, and bureaucrats who profit from the unconscionable investments made in technologies of massive violence and destruction.

In 2020, WILPF and its partners in the fight for the elimination of nuclear weapons celebrated a historic milestone: the ratification of the UN’s landmark Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which will come into effect on 22 January 2021. The TPNW prohibits the use, possession, and development of nuclear weapons and marks a major step forward for the global peace movement.

This achievement was only possible through a decade of collective action, which included WILPF’s dedicated efforts to campaign for the adoption of the treaty alongside the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

Looking back as we look forward

In the months leading up to the 50th ratification of the TPNW on 24 October 2020, WILPF members around the globe worked to raise awareness of the human impact of nuclear weapons.

Photo of lanterns on water. A city is seen in the background. It is evening.
On 6 August, WILPF Finland in collaboration with other Finnish peace organisations lighted floating lanterns to remind the world of the senselessness of nuclear weapons and the importance of working for peace.

On 6 August – the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing – WILPF members around the world lit up lanterns in the night and let them float down streams of water as a silent reminder of all the lives lost on the same day 75 years ago.

Other moments of remembrance that day included a peace concert organised by WILPF Netherlands at the Peace Palace in the Hague and a camphor tree planted by US WILPFers at the Peace Garden of California State University. At the heart of our efforts was the understanding that on the road to abolition, we must centre the perspectives and experiences of atomic bomb survivors (hibakusha).

On 9 August, the Nagasaki anniversary, WILPF members and disarmament activists collectively delivered a statement against nuclear weapons.

In addition, WILPF Cameroon organised a workshop to urge Cameroon to ratify the TPNW and WILPF Finland sent an open letter to the government asking it to sign and ratify the TPNW.

It’s time to move the money

In August, we also launched a four-day campaign against nuclear weapon spending to mark the 75th anniversary of the bombings.

Our anniversary campaign sought to raise awareness of the absurd amount of money that is currently invested into nuclear weapons, and advocate for better uses of it.

Illustration sample from campaign: "France will never engage into a nuclear battle or any forms of graduated response." says Emmanuel Macron, President of France. Poster then states: However ... As of early 2020, france had a stockpile of around 300 nuclear warheads. Approximately 280 of these are already deployed or ready for deployment on short notice.
This illustration was part of WILPF’s campaign against nuclear weapon spending. It was shared on social media as part of a series of similar illustrations showcasing the differences between what nuclear armed states say and what they do.

We asked WILPF members how this money could be better spent and received an inspiring array of responses. Many of our members also used WILPF’s social media toolkit to share graphics online on nuclear spending.

Uniting our voices for nuclear abolition

When the TPNW comes into effect in 2021, we will be one step closer to a future of feminist peace. But our work is far from over: together with WILPFers, activists, and allies all over the world, we will continue to fight for an end to the very existence of nuclear weapons – and for the right of all people to live free from the threat of the unimaginable violence witnessed by the world 75 years ago.

Illustration of poster with WILPF quotes since 1915.
Click on the tree to see what WILPF has said over the years on disarmament and nuclear weapons
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Hiroshima statement video

(WILPF logo on blue background.)
(Woman from UK named Hayley Ramsay-Jones speaking to her webcam, seated with cushions behind her.)
On 6 August 1945, the United States dropped a nuclear weapon on Hiroshima.
(Woman from Argentina named Pia Devoto speaking to her webcam, seated with a white wall behind her.)
On 9 August, just three days later, it dropped a nuclear weapon on Nagasaki.
(Kozue Akibayashi – WILPF Asia Pacific Regional Representative– from Japan, speaking to her webcam, seated with a library behind her.)
Hundreds of thousands of people were killed. And those who survived the blast were exposed to massive doses of radiation and went on to succumb to different types of cancers later on in life.
(Ray Acheson – director of WILPF disarmament programme – from Canada, speaking to her webcam, seated with a white wall behind her.)
The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki shows the horrors of nuclear war and the devastation caused by even a single nuclear weapon detonation.
(Woman from APY Lands, Australia, named Karina Lester speaking to the camera, seated outside with an aboriginal flag behind her.)
The thousands of nuclear weapon tests around the world have further shown the catastrophic environmental and human health impacts of nuclear weapons, causing intergenerational harm to Indigenous communities, downwinders, and soldiers involved in the tests, as well as grave and lasting environmental damage.
(Woman from UK named Hayley Ramsay-Jones speaking to her webcam, seated with cushions behind her.)
There is no possible humanitarian response to the detonation of even a single nuclear weapon.
(Woman from Argentina named Pia Devoto speaking to her webcam, seated with a white wall behind her.)
Right now, there are more than 13,000 nuclear weapons on the planet.
(Kozue Akibayashi – WILPF Asia Pacific Regional Representative– from Japan, speaking to her webcam, seated with a library behind her.)
We are told that some countries need these weapons of mass destruction to “keep us safe”.
(Ray Acheson – director of WILPF disarmament programme – from Canada, speaking to her webcam, seated with a white wall behind her.)
But these are weapons of genocide.
(Woman from APY Lands, Australia, named Karina Lester speaking to the camera, seated outside with an aboriginal flag behind her.)
Of patriarchy and of racism
(Woman from UK named Hayley Ramsay-Jones speaking to her webcam, seated with cushions behind her.)
Of horrific human suffering.
(Woman from Argentina named Pia Devoto speaking to her webcam, seated with a white wall behind her.)
Of environmental devastation.
(Kozue Akibayashi – WILPF Asia Pacific Regional Representative– from Japan, speaking to her webcam, seated with a library behind her.)
Of economic collapse.
(Ray Acheson – director of WILPF disarmament programme – from Canada, speaking to her webcam, seated with a white wall behind her.)
The only way we can really be safe is by eliminating nuclear weapons.
(Woman from APY Lands, Australia, named Karina Lester speaking to the camera, seated outside with an aboriginal flag behind her.)
Join us in taking action to abolish nuclear weapons.
(Woman from UK named Hayley Ramsay-Jones speaking to her webcam, seated with cushions behind her.)
Support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
(Woman from Argentina named Pia Devoto Pia Devoto speaking to her webcam, seated with a white wall behind her.)
Demand the end to the modernisation, possession, and proliferation of nuclear weapons.
(Kozue Akibayashi – WILPF Asia Pacific Regional Representative– from Japan, speaking to her webcam, seated with a library behind her.)
Divest your money from these tools of mass murder and instead invest in peace, justice, and equality.
(Ray Acheson – director of WILPF disarmament programme – from Canada, speaking to her webcam, seated with a white wall behind her.)
Nuclear weapons are a catastrophic expression of the broader structures of violence and oppression in our world.
(Woman from APY Lands, Australia, named Karina Lester speaking to the camera, seated outside with an aboriginal flag behind her.)
They are about power, not peace.
(Woman from UK named Hayley Ramsay-Jones speaking to her webcam, seated with cushions behind her.)
Nuclear weapons are used by their possessors to exert control and authority.
(Woman from Argentina named Pia Devoto speaking to her webcam, seated with a white wall behind her.)
Their maintenance and modernisation are wasting trillions of dollars, money that we desperately need to protect people and preserve our planet.
(Kozue Akibayashi – WILPF Asia Pacific Regional Representative– from Japan, speaking to her webcam, seated with a library behind her.)
It’s time to end nuclear weapons.
(Ray Acheson – director of WILPF disarmament programme – from Canada, speaking to her webcam, seated with a white wall behind her.)
Only by abolishing nuclear weapons can we ensure that they will be never ever used again.
(Woman from APY Lands, Australia, named Karina Lester speaking to the camera, seated outside with an aboriginal flag behind her.)
Never Again.
(Woman from UK named Hayley Ramsay-Jones speaking to her webcam, seated with cushions behind her.)
Never Again.
(Woman from Argentina named Pia Devoto speaking to her webcam, seated with a white wall behind her.)
Never Again.
(Kozue Akibayashi – WILPF Asia Pacific Regional Representative – from Japan, speaking to her webcam, seated with a library behind her.)
Never Again.
(Blue background and text that says: “Take action now. Visit wilpf.org.)
(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.