What makes WILPF distinctive?
- Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) brings a feminist perspective to the analysis of root causes of war and conflict, and emphasises the gendered impacts of conflict and war.
- WILPF has a transformative vision for permanent global peace, where a just economy and social, environmental and gender justice is achieved for all.
- WILPF brings together women and people of diversity from around the world who are united in working for peace by non-violent means; and encourages young women and others to participate.
- WILPF is recognised as an authoritative resource, a trusted support and an ongoing stable anchor point in the area of peace activism.
Addressing issues through a gendered lens, we bring women together, working locally and globally to:
- abolish the causes of war
- work for inclusive and permanent peace
- unite women peacemakers to oppose injustice, inequality, militarism and patriarchy.
WILPF affirms that peace and security efforts are more sustainable when women are equal partners in the prevention of violent conflict, the delivery of relief and recovery efforts and in the forging of lasting peace.
Lasting peace requires feminist perspectives
Our focus for action is:
- what is most important for WILPF to contribute from a feminist perspective and
- how can WILPF lead and partner with other organisations to achieve a feminist peace?
I caught the vision of WILPF foremothers. It’s about not just ending war but creating a world in which war would not occur. This is the meaning of building peace. This is the passion of the women of WILPF.
Margaret Bearlin, ACT Branch
The WILPF Australian Section works on the ground in Australia. With our focus at the grassroots level, we are active in:
- community building
- nonpartisan political advocacy and
Our activities are primarily organised around campaigns and projects in action (plus there are a number in development).
Members also meet online in groups and around particular actions and campaigns to connect, expand their network and contribute to the strategic goal and action of their choice – irrespective of location.
National campaign to raise public awareness about nuclear weapons and have Australia sign the Nuclear Ban Treaty.
Currently we have branches in five states and territories:
I would urge us all to encourage our daughters and granddaughters and their friends to join WILPF to continue the great tradition of women working for peace.
Margaret Reynolds, WILPF Tasmania Branch
WILPF Tasmania Branch members and friends commemorate the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence
We support WILPF members to build their knowledge as well as networking skills, organisational, communication and creative skill sets across a range of areas.
I appreciate the flexibility WILPF offers in networking. I’m living in Perth, WA – and I’m an active member of the WILPF campaign initiated by Qld branch: the ICAN Cities Appeal, aimed at making our cities and our planet nuclear target free.
Providing opportunities for and building leadership capacity is an important component of the organisation’s process. WILPF Australia’s structure offers a variety of volunteer leadership opportunities to its members.
Opportunities for public speaking and organising local, national and international events
Pretty much every turn of my career has seen tough and tenacious WILPF and Young WILPF women leading the way, speaking truth to power, encouraging me to find mine.
YWILPF members meet and network at the WILPF World Congress in Ghana
WILPF actively connects with all levels of government.
We work collaboratively with other volunteer peace organisations across Australia.
- contributing feminist analysis to support the peace work of other organisations
- collaborating to strengthen shared voices on big issues
- and raising awareness of and celebrating the contribution of women from all areas of the wider community working for peace.
We actively contribute to national, regional and international fora, and to WILPF’s international program, including:
- National: Australia’s Equal Rights Alliance, the Australian Civil Society Coalition on Women, Peace and Security, WPS Coalition on Annual Civil Society-Government Policy Dialogues and Report Cards, the Australian NGO Beijing+25 Caucus.
- Regional: UN ESCAP Asia-Pacific Civil Society and Ministerial Conferences.
- International: Universal Periodic Review process, UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
- WILPF’s international program: contribution via International Board positions, committees and working groups.
Our Section’s strength lies in our linkages between local, national and international participation and activism.
WILPF is a membership-led organisation governed by a Constitution and By-Laws. The WILPF Australia Section has two organs namely the Australian Triennial Conference and the Australian Board.
The WILPF Australian Triennial Conference meets every three years All financial members of the Australian Section can attend and participate however voting is vested with the delegates nominated by each Branch and Officers of the Australian Board. The Triennial reviews the past three years’ achievements and plans the next WILPF Australia triennial program; reviews Reports and elects the Australian Board
WILPF Australia Board
Between Triennial Conferences, the WILPF Australia Board is responsible for the overall governance of the Australian Section. Our National Board meets online 6 times per year, with an in-person meeting held approximately every 18 months.
The Board is composed of a President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer, and a Branch Delegate from each of the five branches, with any national member who is an elected member of the International Board included ex officio as a member of the Australian Board.
For 2021-24 the members of the WILPF Australia Board are:
- President – Margaret Reynolds
- Vice-President – Wendy Flannery
- Secretary – Lynette Lane
- Treasurer – Janette McLeod
- NSW Branch Delegate – Stella Boyages
- Queensland Branch Delegate – Norma Kleinschmidt
- ACT Branch Delegate – Isabelle Gurney
- Tasmania Branch Delegate – Harriet Binet
- SA Branch Delegate – Ruth Russell
In 1948, WILPF became one of the first NGOs at the international level – and the first women’s peace organisation – to be granted consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), a status that gives us access to all of the UN bodies that are open to NGOs, including the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council.
Consultative Status is a formal relationship between non-governmental organizations and the United Nations that allows NGOs to participate in the work of the UN. This status is essential for WILPF’s advocacy in that it enables access to official meetings with decision-makers at the highest international level.
By delivering statements, participating in negotiations, holding side events and participating in debates, interactive dialogues and panel discussions, WILPF is able to highlight the importance of issues and give voice to activists from affected communities around the world.
Having the ECOSOC consultative status also means that the quality of WILPF’s work is open to review by the UN to ensure that we live up to the standard required to maintain the access we have.
Over many decades WILPF has utilised this status to lobby the UN. In 2000, WILPF established two key international programs – Reaching Critical Will (RCW) and Women. Peace & Security (PeaceWomen) to strengthen its advocacy around disarmament and to promote feminist perspectives on peace and security.
Also in 2000 WILPF as a foundation member of the then newly established UN NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security played a major role in facilitating the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 “Women, Peace and Security”. This resolution was pivotal, representing the first time the Security Council:
- addressed the disproportionate and unique impact of armed conflict on women
- recognised the critical role that women play in all dimensions of conflict prevention, resolution and peace building; and
- stressed the importance of women’s equal and full participation as active agents in peace and security.
Internationally, in Australia and in other Sections across the world, WILPF continues to monitor implementation and lobby governments to fulfil their commitments to UNSCR1325 and subsequent Women, Peace and Security resolutions.
When you join WILPF Australia, you automatically become a member of WILPF International, and therefore part of a global WILPF sisterhood.
WILPF Australia’s strength lies in our linkages between international, national and local participation and activism.
There are close to fifty WILPF National Sections and National Groups in as many countries, with many of these Sections and groups in countries experiencing conflict.
Internationally, WILPF is grouped into six regions: Africa, Asia Pacific, South Asia, Middle East, Europe and the Americas.
WILPF Australia is part of the Asia Pacific Region, along with WILPF Aotearoa/New Zealand, WILPF Polynesia, and WILPF Japan.
The international program is established by our highest decision-making body, the WILPF World Congress. This comprises representatives from all sections, convening approximately every three years for members to discuss the work of WILPF and set the policies and direction of WILPF.
WILPF’s International President (2018-2021), elected at the 2018 Congress, is Joy Ada Onyesoh from WILPF Nigeria.
WILPF’s Secretary-General is human rights lawyer Madeleine Rees OBE, who before joining WILPF in 2010 served as the Head of Womens Rights and Gender Unit for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
WILPF has created and continues to resource two powerful and highly regarded programs and resources to promote disarmament and demilitarisation and women, peace, and security at the United Nations, through WILPF’s national sections, and to support everyone in the world working for a feminist peace.
The Reaching Critical Will Programme (RCW) coordinates WILPF’s international disarmament work.
Through Reaching Critical Will, WILPF argues for the global reduction of military spending and militarism, challenges to violent masculinities and militarism, and highlights the gendered aspects of weapons use, production, and trade.
Reaching Critical Will activities include research, policy analysis, advocacy, monitoring, and reporting on international forums, as well as collaboration with civil society networks and campaigns.
WILPF’s Women, Peace and Security Programme – known as PeaceWomen – ensures that international peace and security efforts do actually work for women. The programme promotes feminist perspectives on peace and security by:
- advocating for women’s participation
- transforming gendered power and
- bridging local experience and gender analysis with global efforts.
PeaceWomen also provides recognised leadership in the feminist movement and the peace movement on issues of peace and security.
The PeaceWomen website provides information about women peace leaders, monitors the United Nations Security Council and other UN fora, and contains almost 30,000 resources on issues of gender, peace and security. www.peacewomen.org
A network of peace women, passionate about lasting peace and women's role in achieving it. Since 1915.
WILPF holds consultative status to the United Nations.
We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and community.
We pay our respects to those past, present and future.