Women Lead to Peace

After years of war and humanitarian disaster for millions of Syrians, negotiators will finally meet January 22 for peace talks. Yet, crucial voices for the negotiations are in danger of being shut out -- the voices of women.

Women's rights advocates from Syria and around the world are challenging this injustice. We are calling for an immediate ceasefire in Syria, drastically increased humanitarian aid for refugees and displaced people, and the full participation of women at the peace negotiations.

MADRE is working with CODEPINK, WILPF, the Nobel Women’s Initiative and other advocates to shine a light on a vital yet overlooked reality: peace treaties without women do not work. More than 50% of them fail within five years, often plunging communities into further violence.

To avoid this outcome, we are launching a Women Lead to Peace campaign to mobilize at the peace talks for the inclusion of women.

WLP - Yifat and Lisa.JPG

In a three-day summit (January 20-22, 2014), women from Syria will share their testimonies, revealing their experiences of war and their solutions for a sustainable peace. They will be joined by women from around the world, including Nobel peace laureates Shirin Ebadi and Mairead Maguire, to share strategies learned from their own struggles for peace.

Together, we will model how to negotiate peace agreements that produce a lasting, sustainable end to war and that prioritize women's human rights and the needs of local communities.

A full list of endorsers is available here.

Read our Q & A to learn more on how the conflict in Syria impacts women and children, and their demands for peace and justice, here

WLP Syria 100,000 dead


Watch archived footage of the summit here

All times listed are Central European Time (CET) 

January 20

Gathering of the Women (Geneva)

12:30 to 2:00 - Lunch at the Graduate Institute Cafeteria
2:00 to 5:00 - Creating the Summit: Participants share their ideas, learning about each other and ways of peace. Final planning for the 22nd day of action
6:30 to 8:30 - Peace Film Festival at the Maison des Associations (15 rue des Savoises, 1205 Geneva)

  • 6:30 - "Beyond Right and Wrong" By Lekha Singh
  • 8:00 - "Suffering Grasses" by Iara Lee
  • 9:00 - "Pray the Devil Back to Hell"by Gini Reticker

January 21

Women Lead to Peace Summit (Geneva)

From Liberia to the Balkans, to Colombia and Sri Lanka as well as Northern Ireland, and of course, Syria. Nobel Laureates Shirin Ebadi, Mairead Maguire and the renowned academic, and writer on gender and militarism, Cynthia Enloe, will attend.

10:00 to 11:15 - From war to a treaty and holding on to peace
11:30 to 12:45 - The realities of war: experiences of conflict and its gendered assumptions.
1:30 to 3:00 - The participation of women in Geneva II peace talks and beyond: Modalities of how to break the confrontational narrative.

January 22

Press Release: Women’s Demonstration In Montreux during Syrian Peace Talks; Demand Ceasefire Immediately and Women at the Peace Table 

Women at the Table (Montreux)

A bus will take participants from Geneva to Montreux at 7:00. The meeting point is behind the Gare Cornavin (Geneva's main train station), in rue de Montbrillant. It will also take people back to Geneva around 5:00 that same day.

  • Street theater
  • Banner drop
  • Demonstration outside of the official negotiations

In addition to women from Syria, Bosnia, Egypt, Iran, Ireland, Liberia, Rwanda and Tunisia, the Summit's speakers will include:

  • Caroline Ayoub, Syrian Activist, 
  • Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and lawyer
  • Mairead Maguire, Northern Ireland activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate
  • Luisa Morgantini, Italian European Parliment member
  • Luz Mendez, Vice President of the executive board of Unión Nacional de Mujeres Gautemaltecas
  • Visaka Dharmadasa, founder and chair of the Association of War Affected Women (AWAW) and Parents of Servicemen Missing in Action
  • Ann Wright, former United States Army Colonel and former US diplomat