Women's International League for Freedom and Women's Rights Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and Women’s rights The time of the year is nearly approaching to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the WILPF. In April 1915 a congregation of women from a range of backgrounds and cultures gathered together in an International Congress in The Hague as a reaction to the end of the First World War and to protest against war in the future. This was when the WILPF was founded in 1915 and it is still ongoing. Women raised issues such as equality, rights for women, justice and freedom. These are what the WILPF have set their aims on in order to free women to work in peace and to participate in decision making. Many programmes are being undertaken such as ‘The Human Rights Programme’ and ‘The Gender, Peace and Security Programme’ to fulfil their mission. As well as this you can get yourself involved by sponsoring, donating or by being a member. For more information, visit their website: http://www.wilpfinternational.org/get-involved/ Women’s rights are about women having the same rights as men. Feminists have fought for many rights which have made women’s lives much easier in today’s society. Votes for women, being part of the election, owning a property, equal pay to men’s, being able to work and be involved in the decision making process were all fought for. This has created independence ensuring women no longer have to rely on their husbands for money and other social aspects. Times have changed in much of the world and huge reforms have been made for women in today’s society, even though there are still many stereotypes that exist. Women are now able to work outside of the home with the rights to a wage, as well as achieving full time education. However, this is unfortunately still not the case for women in some countries; therefore the WILPF and other women’s organisations remain important. We have a range of items in our collection which specify women as peacemakers. The ‘Greenham Common 25 years on’ This booklet was produced on September 6th October 2006 to attend an exhibition held at Newsroom, the Guardian and Observer Archive. A group of Welsh women known as ‘Women for Life on Earth’ arrived at the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp in Berkshire on September 5th 1981. They marched to Cardiff with the intention to debate about the location of the 96 Cruise missiles there. When they arrived they conveyed a letter to the Base Commander which was one of the things stated ‘We fear for the future of all our children and for the future of living world which is the basis of all life’. A guide to Freedom, Peace and Friendship This pack consists of eleven bookmarks with an illustration and text in Japanese and English and a coloured ribbon attached. It was published by Grassroots House in Kochi, Japan. The museum highlights article 9 of the Japanese constitution which renounces war ‘Lets grow trees of peace’. In the mid-19th century, young people from Kochi have been visiting to Europe to learn about new thinking which is why the area has always been orientated. From the above statement (image) you can see that women really wanted peace as well as gaining justice and equality. Women have often felt invisible and have been treated like a robot. They have often been excluded from the political, social and economic aspects of society. Badges These badges symbolise peace. The badges consist of two Campaigns for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) which is a well-known symbol indicating peace and in Britain it stands for nuclear disarmament. There are two badges with a symbol of CND which states ‘Pensioners for peace’. One of the badges highlights ‘Give Peace a Chance’ which again has a symbol of CND. The wooden white dove represents peace, appreciating simple things in life as well as signifying qualities of home, security and maternal characters. Aiding to find inner peace by meditation and by deep breathing. The ‘Green Peace’ badge of a white dove carrying an olive branch specifies the rainforest being demolished. The olive branches are being used for palm oil which is destroying the forest. The green badge, an illustration of a dove with a pound sign which states ‘Peace Tax Campaign’. This badge clearly shows that taxes were being paid for the war. It aims legal rights to conscientious objection to taxes and for it to be spent on peacebuilding rather than spending it in the war. Badges have been a long been used to highlight different campaigns. We have many badges on display in the museum that relate to women’s rights and other important issues. For more information pay a visit to the museum to see our collection. Written by Seerat Mahmood. Seerat is a current student at Bradford College studying BA (Hons) Education Studies. She recently completed a three week work placement at the Museum.