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Women's International League for Peace and Freedom

The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) 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.

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom logo.jpg
FoundersJane Addams,
Marian Cripps, and Emily Balch
Margaret E. Dungan

The WILPF is headquartered in Geneva and maintains a United Nations office in New York City.


Organizational historyEdit

"Peace issues discussed with president, Washington, D.C. Sept. 30, 1936. Delegation from the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom leaving the White House today after discussing peace issues with President Roosevelt. The women plan to campaign during the month of October. In the group, left to right: (front) Miss Dorothy Detzer, recently returned from the world Peace Congress in Brussels; Mrs. Hannah Clothier Hull, President of the League; Dr. Gertrude C. Bussey, of Goucher College; Mrs. Ernest Gruening. Back row, left to right: Mrs. Frank Aydelotte, of Swarthmore, Pa., and Mrs. Mildred S. Olmstead, who just made an expensive trip through the West and Middle West speaking on the need for peace"

WILPF developed out of the International Women's Congress against World War I that took place in The Hague, Netherlands, in 1915 and the formation of the International Women's Committee of Permanent Peace;[1] the name WILPF was not chosen until 1919.[2][3] The first WILPF president, Jane Addams, had previously founded the Woman's Peace Party in the United States, in January 1915, this group later became the US section of WILPF.[4] Along with Jane Addams, Marian Cripps and Margaret E. Dungan were also founding members. As of 1920 the US section of WILPF was headquartered in New York City.[5] Marian Cripps, Baroness Parmoor, who later served as president of its British branch.[6][7]

Furthermore, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom is opposed to wars and international conflicts. The major movements of the league have been: open letter to UN secretary general to formally end the Korean War, a statement on weapons and an international day for the total elimination of nuclear weapons, gender-based violence and women human rights defenders.

Woman's Peace Party (USA)Edit

A forerunner to the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, 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 a subsequent International Women's Congress for Peace and Freedom, held in The Hague from April 28–30, 1915.

International Congress of Women, The Hague, 1915Edit

The 1915 International Congress of Women was organized by the German feminist Anita Augspurg, 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 the war then raging in Europe, and to suggest ways to prevent war in the future. The Congress opened on April 28,[8] wound up on May 1,[1] and was attended by 1,136 participants from both neutral and belligerent nations,[9] 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 the US Section of ICWPP.

Second International Women's Congress for Peace and Freedom, Zürich, 1919Edit

Jane Addams met with President Woodrow Wilson and is said to have worked out some common ground on peace. However, at their second 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.[4] 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. The League called for international disarmament and an end to economic imperialism.[4] The US branch of WILPF grew in recognition and membership during the post-WWI era, despite some attacks on the organisation as "unpatriotic" during the First Red Scare.[4] The WILPF supported treaties such as the Washington Naval Treaty and the Kellogg-Briand Pact, regarding them as stepping stones to a peaceful world order.[4]

During the 1930s, Vera Brittain was the WILPF's Vice-President.[10]

Prior to the outbreak of World War Two, the League also supported measures to provide relief for Europe's Jewish community.[4]

Although WIPLF membership is restricted to women, several male peace activists have contributed to WIPLF meetings and publications, including Bart de Ligt[11] and J. D. Bernal.[12]

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.[13]

WILPF and the United NationsEdit

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.

WILPF todayEdit

Mission and visionEdit

Work areas

  • Building the movement
  • Redefining security
  • Leveraging feminist perspectives on peace
  • Promoting socio-economic justice [14]

Broad areas of concern are:

  • Global programs
  • Human Rights Programme
  • Women, Peace and Security Programme
  • Disarmament Programme
  • Crisis Response Programme [15]

Famous MembersEdit

WILPF's list of members include Jane Addams, Aletta Jacobs, Alice Walker,[16] Coretta Scott King,[17] Madeleine Rees, Cornelia Ramondt-Hirschmann, Selma Meyer, Brandy G. Robinson, Margaret Hills (née Robertson), Shina Inoue Kan, and Emily Greene Balch.

Congresses and Congress ResolutionsEdit

WILPF's international records are held at the University of Colorado Boulder. They contain the reports of the congresses.[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Paull, John (2018) The Women Who Tried to Stop the Great War: The International Congress of Women at The Hague 1915, In A. H. Campbell (Ed.), Global Leadership Initiatives for Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding (pp. 249-266). (Ch.12) Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
  2. ^ Bussey, Gertrude; Tims, Margaret (1980). Pioneers for Peace. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom 1915-1965. Oxford: Alden Press.
  3. ^ Women, peace and transnational activism, a century on History and Policy (2015)
  4. ^ a b c d e f Faith, Thomas I. (2014). "Women's International League for Peace and Freedom". In Wayne, Tiffany K; Banner, Lois W (eds.). Women's Rights in the United States: a comprehensive encyclopedia of issues, events, and people. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. pp. 272–3. ISBN 978-1-61069-214-4.
  5. ^ Harriet Hyman Alonso (1993). "Former Suffragists for Peace during the Interwar Years, 1919-1935". Peace As a Women's Issue: A History of the U.S. Movement for World Peace and Women's Rights. Syracuse University Press. pp. 85–124. ISBN 978-0-8156-0269-9.
  6. ^ Oldfield, Sybil. "Ellis, Marian Emily". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  7. ^ "Sir John Lavery Portrait of The Lady Parmooor Oil on canvas, 76 x 64cm (30 x 25) Signed". Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  8. ^ "International Congress of Women opens at The Hague". History.Doc. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  9. ^ van der Veen, Sietske (22 June 2017). "Hirschmann, Susanna Theodora Cornelia (1871-1957)". Huygens ING (in Dutch). The Hague, The Netherlands: Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands. Archived from the original on 30 August 2017. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  10. ^ Deane, Patrick (1998). History in our hands: a critical anthology of writings on literature, culture, and politics from the 1930s. London: Leicester University Press. pp. 63–4. ISBN 978-0-7185-0143-3.
  11. ^ de Ligt, Bart (July 1929). "The Intellectual Class and Modern Warfare". Reconciliation. (Speech originally given at WIPLF conference in Frankfurt-am-Main).
  12. ^ Swann, Brenda; Aprahamian, Francis (1999). J.D. Bernal: a life in science and politics. London: Verso. p. 234. ISBN 1-85984-854-0.
  13. ^ Ford, Liz (27 April 2015). "Centenary Stand: Female Activists Head for The Hague to Set a New Peace Agenda". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Women's International League for Peace and Freedom [WILPF] Records, Accessions from 2000-2013, Swarthmore College Peace Collection". Retrieved 2017-09-19.
  17. ^ "Women's International League for Peace and Freedom [WILPF] Records, Accessions from 2000-2013, Swarthmore College Peace Collection". Retrieved 2017-09-19.
  18. ^ "WILPF Collection (DG043)". Swarthmore College Peace Collection. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  19. ^
  20. ^

Further readingEdit

  • Harriet Hyman Alonso, Peace as a Women's Issue: A History of the U.S. Movement for World Peace and Women's Rights Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1993.
  • Gertrude Bussey and Margaret Tims, Pioneers for Peace: Women's International League for Peace and Freedom 1915-1965. Oxford: Alden Press, 1980..
  • 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, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1995.
  • Catherine Foster, Women for All Seasons: The Story of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1989.
  • Leila J. Rupp: "Transnational Women's Movements," European History Online, Mainz: Institute of European History, 2011.
  • Ethel Snowden, A Political Pilgrim in Europe, New York: George H. Doran, 1921.
  • Wiltsher, Anne (1985). Most dangerous women: feminist peace campaigners of the Great War (1. publ. ed.). London: Pandora Press. ISBN 0863580106.

External linksEdit