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Women, peace and transnational activism: a century on


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Queen Mary’s Mile End Institute and History & Policy are hosting an afternoon of events on 31 March 2015 to mark the centenary of the Women’s Peace Congress, held in April 1915 in the Hague, and to reflect on its legacy today.

Women from belligerent countries who gathered at the Hague while war waged across Europe developed a vision of gender-based solidarity which transcended national borders and in which peace and women’s rights were intimately intertwined. The Congress led to the formation of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, which developed a distinctive voice in internationalist politics in the interwar period and influential strand of feminist campaigning on international issues.

The event has three parts and delegates are welcome to attend all sessions or one. 

Part 1: 3.30pm – 4.45pm Activism in Historical Perspective

This session will focus on 1915 as a milestone in histories of feminist internationalism and a starting point for a broader discussion about the ways in which women have organised – in the past and the present-day – across national borders. Chair and commentator: Lucy Delap, History & Policy

Ingrid Sharp, University of Leeds: The Women’s Peace Congress at The Hague and women’s human rights

Laura Beers, University of Birmingham: The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the origins of feminist internationalism

Celia Donert, University of Liverpool: Feminism, transnational activism and the Cold War

Helen McCarthy, Queen Mary University of London: The United Nations and Women’s Rights in historical perspective

Part 2: 4.45pm – 6pm Activism and Institutional Change

Having considered the dynamics of women’s organising, this panel now shifts the focus on to activism and institutional impact in the present day. Chair: Kim Hutchings, Queen Mary University of London

Eleanor O’Gorman, University of Cambridge: What Difference has Security Council Resolution 1325 made?

Christine Chinkin, LSE/Matrix Chambers: International activism and sexual violence against women: The Istanbul Convention

Clare Duncanson, University of Edinburgh: Gender, peace-building and economic empowerment

Part 3: 6.30pm-8pm Are Women’s Rights Human Rights?

This roundtable will ask three leading voices in contemporary global gender politics to reflect on how far women’s rights have become fully recognised as human rights, and what role women’s organising, including feminist action, have played in achieving this change. All attendees are invited to join the speakers for a reception after the event.

Dame Barbara Stocking, Principal of Murray Edwards College, Cambridge and former head of Oxfam

Frances Guy, Christian Aid, former UN Women Representative for Iraq and former British Ambassador to Yemen

Baroness Berridge, Chair of All-Party Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief

Places are free on a first come, first serve basis. To book: http://www.qmul.ac.uk/events/items/2015/147744.html

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