Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


WILPF and the National Council of Women's Organizations (NCWO)

One of the ways I still serve U.S. Section WILPF is to represent our venerable organization at the bi-monthly meetings of the National Council of Women's Organizations (NCWO)in Washington, DC. CJ has suggested I tell a little about that organization. I just attended a very interesting NCWO meeting yesterday, so I am inspired to write about it now.

NCWO originally began as an organization called the Council of Presidents. It grew out of the United Nations Conference on Women in Nairobi, Kenya in 1985. Most of these women's organizations have national headquarters in Washington, DC. Under the leadership of recent past president, Martha Burk, the group changed the name to the National Council of Women's Organization and has doubled in membership in the last 6 years.

It was Gillian Gilhool, our former Legislative Coordinator, who suggested I attend NCWO meetings as U.S. Section WILPF's national president. Then during the term of our co-presidents, Sandy Silver and Darien De LU, who live in CA, I continued to represent WILPF, since Baltimore is just a short train ride from DC. Chris Morin and Tamara James, our new co-presidents have asked me to continue representing WILPF at the meetings, though Chris is looking forward to coming from Williamsburg, VA to some of the meetings too.

The more than 200 organizations in NCWO include such organizations as the National Organization of Women (NOW), General Federation of Women's Clubs, Black Women's Agenda, National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, Women in Government, Jewish Women's Coalition, Inc., League of Women Voters, Girls Incorportated, YWCA of the USA, Organization of Chinese American Women, MANA, A National Latina Organization, Older Women's League (OWL), Digital Sisters, Women's Sports Foundation, American Association of University Women (AAUW), International Black Women for Wages for Housework, Church Women United, National Abortion Federation, Women in Military Service to Amerca Memorial Foundation, Inc,. Catholics for Free Choice, and of course, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

In looking through the index of the NCWO directory, there are various categories to help readers find organizations of interest to them. The categories include Civil Rights, Economic Equality/Justice, Education, Employment/Workplace, Empowerment, Equality, Faith, Family and Work, International, Media, Military, Political Equality, Reproductive Rights, Technology, etc. There is no category in the index for Peace.

WILPF is listed under economic Equality/Justice , Human Rights, and International. There is one other organization called Women Waging Peace...but not enough peace groups for a category of our own. As we all know, it's lonely work.

This just gives a few facts about NCWO. In another blog I will write about some of the issues NCWO is currently dealing with. I feel that it is important that the oldest women's peace organization in the world be represented amid all these other good causes that women have organized around. I distribute our materials at the meetings and try to make sure that WILPF is heard from in major discussions. I'll be glad when Chris can be there to speak on behalf of U.S. WILPF too.

Phyllis Yingling


  • Thank you for your post, Phyllis! I'm interested in knowing how YWTF, the Younger Women's Task Force, which is a project of NCWO was introduced to representatives of NCWO organizations. Only individual membership is accepted in YWTF (so, for example, I couldn't participate as a represenative of WILPF, with my primary goal being recruiting other young women for WILPF). It seems intriguing to me that the organization created to bring together women's organizations in the US set up a rival organization for younger women.

    By Blogger C.J. Minster, at 6:31 AM  

  • Hi, CJ, I don't really know that much about membership in the Younger Women's Task Force. I don't think it is a rival organzation. I think it grew out of NCWO. There is also a Global Task Force, which I am a part of , but which is currently inactive, and a Domestic Priorities Task Force, which is pretty active. I didn't know that the YWTF only accepts individual membership....not representatives of groups like WILPF. I remember hearing you say you went to one of their "meet ups" and were disappointed in it. It would be good if you, and maybe some other younger WILPF women, could go as an individual, but actually representing WILPF. Are there dues members have to pay? Maybe WILPF could support you in this. I think member groups in NCWO, like WILPF, pay $100 a year. That's sort of steep...but I think our voice needs to be heard. I will write more about NCWO's priorities in another blog. For instance, they are very upset about the windows of Victoria's Secret at Tyson's Corner Mall which apparently is super exploitive of women. They probably have a good point, but it is not something WILPF would have an Issue Committee on I think.

    By Blogger Phyllis Y, at 6:06 PM  

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