Our history starts in 1915, when 1,200 women from a diversity of cultures and languages came together in The Hague during the First World War, to study, make known and eliminate the causes of war.

They issued resolutions, sent out delegations to most countries engaged in the First World War and created our organisation: the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. WILPF for short.

At that time, as well as now, the purpose in founding WILPF was to have an organisation through which women could work for peace and freedom by claiming women’s right and responsibility to participate in decision-making on all aspects of peace and security.

Below you’ll find just a few of the ways in which WILPF has made progress as an organisation and impacted on a global level.

100 years of work for peace and freedom

Almost as soon as it was created, WILPF’s values were hailed and adopted by some of the world’s most powerful leaders. WILPF’s International President Jane Addams was personally received by President Woodrow Wilson in Washington.

WILPF’s beliefs provided President Wilson with nine of his famous Fourteen Points, the basis of a peace programme that was used when Germany and her allies agreed to an armistice in November 1918.

Not only do we take pride in being the oldest women’s peace organisation in the world, we can also boast two Nobel Peace Prize winners within WILPF’s history.

In 1931, Jane Addams, WILPF’s International President was awarded the prestigious prize for her peace-keeping efforts. Shortly after, in 1946, WILPF’s first International Secretary, Emily Greene Balch, was also presented with the award – an obvious acknowledgement of WILPF’s success in its endeavours.

During its lifetime WILPF has organised dialogues between women in the Middle East, sent delegations of women to North and South Vietnam to oppose the Vietnam War, and worked closely with the UN to enact change for women’s peace and security.

In 2014, WILPF received the 2014 Peace in Progress award by the International Catalan Institute for Peace (Institut Català per la Pau, or ICIP). According to ICIP, WILPF was unanimously chosen “for its century-long involvement in the work of women for peace, its commitment to disarmament, the defence of human rights and the persistence to obtain the recognition of the role of women in the building of peace.”

You can also follow our history on in our timeline.
Or study all of our anniversary exhibitions. 


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