WILPF was founded in April 1915, in the Hague, the Netherlands, by 1300 women from Europe and North America, from countries at war against each other and neutral ones, who came together in a Congress of Women to protest the killing and destruction of the war then raging in Europe.
They issued 20 resolutions, some of immediate importance – to end the conflict and negotiate differences, and others with long-term aims to reduce conflict and prevent war, and lay the foundations for a permanent peace. They called on neutral governments to press the belligerents to stop fighting and settle their differences by negotiations, asking them to take immediate steps to establish a conference of neutral states and offer continuous mediation (such as asking each belligerent to put forward their grievances and suggest remedies, and make their suggestions to each equally).
They also called for a conference of women to take place at the same time and same place as the ‘conference of powers’ that would meet at the end of the war to frame the terms of the peace settlement, and submit to the participating states their practical proposals to meet the conditions for a lasting peace. They also resolved to send ‘envoys’ to carry the messages contained in the resolutions of the congress.
We are only four years from celebrating our 100th Anniversary in the Hague. Today is our 96th birthday and WILPF sections and branches throughout 35+ countries will be making their own celebrations. Those women, our WILPF ‘mothers’ were braver than many of us have needed to be, though equal to the trials and endurance that many of our sisters have faced.
28 April 2011