March Brown Bag: Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

By WWN Intern Rachel Cohen

Today at the Wisconsin Women’s Network we were lucky enough to enjoy the company of Nancy Graham, the President of the Madison chapter of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), one of our member organizations.

WILPF’s vision is for:

“a transformed world at peace, where there is racial, social, and economic justice for all people everywhere—a world in which:

  • The needs of all people are met in a fair and equitable manner
  • All people equally participate in making the decisions that affect them
  • The interconnected web of life is acknowledged and celebrated in diverse ways and communities
  • Human societies are designed and organized for sustainable existence”

While here, Graham discussed how the US has still failed to ratify the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). CEDAW “defines discrimination against women as ‘…any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.’” The only nations besides the US that have failed to ratify this landmark international convention are Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Iran, Palau, and Tonga. Clearly the US has some catching up to do. Graham suggested that if this is an issue you care about, you write your Senators (Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson) to express your support. You can find a great fact sheet on CEDAW here, from Amnesty International.

Graham also discussed the wide array of issue areas that the Madison branch works on including CEDAW, the grasp big corporations have on the US, nuclear disarmament, environmental and food issues, and women’s vision for foreign policy. Members can get involved in any of these areas.

To learn more about WILPF, there are several events coming up where you can meet members and learn more about their work!

Join Madison WILPF for a free dinner in celebration of International Women’s Day! Though the holiday is officially March 8th, WILPF will be gathering at St. Marks Lutheran Church (605 Spruce St.) from 4:30-8:00 pm on Friday, March 7th for food, networking and singing. All are welcome!

Madison WILPF hosts the monthly Jane Addams Book Club every month at the Goodman South Public Library where they discuss fiction and non-fiction, members and non-members welcome! For more information about upcoming books and meetings call 358-5100.

Like our Facebook page for upcoming information about our next Brown Bag talk in April!

Sources: WILPF, UN.org

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