International Women’s Day for Peace and Disarmament Date in the current year: May 24, 2024

International Women’s Day for Peace and Disarmament International Women’s Day for Peace and Disarmament is observed annually on May 24. It was established in the early 1980s to protest the buildup of arms and nuclear weapons and unite women from all over the world in the struggle against militarism.

For thousands of years, the only acceptable role for women in armed conflict was that of the grieving mothers, wives, sisters and daughters left behind while the men in their lives went off to war, possibly to never return again. It was a men’s world, and war was a men’s affair. However, as women started to fight for their rights, including their right to be heard and initiate change, their role in armed conflict changed. Today, they are not afraid to speak out against war and weapons proliferation.

International Women’s Day for Peace and Disarmament (IWDPD) was initiated in the early 1980s by a group of pacifist feminists from across of Europe. Today, the campaign is spearheaded by the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF), the world’s oldest women’s peace organization, and supported by numerous feminist, pacifist and human rights organizations and activists around the world who strive to achieve a peaceful and violence-free future based on diplomacy.

According to a statement released by the WILPF, more than 500 people around the globe die from gun violence and about 2,000 more are injured every day. At least 2 million people are living with physical injuries caused by firearms, and an indeterminate number are living with emotional trauma resulting from armed violence.

While most direct victims of armed violence are men, women and other marginalized groups (people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ people, ethnic minorities, etc.) are disproportionately impacted by the presence and use of firearms. For instance, women are more likely than men to be murdered by an intimate partner in homes where a gun is accessible. Guns are commonly used to intimidate women, which is a form of psychological violence. Increasingly, weapons are used by far-right groups in pursuit of their chauvinist, racist, xenophobic, homophobic, and transphobic worldview.

The main goals of IWDWD are to raise awareness of these and other facts that illustrate the urgent need to end the production and transfer of weapons, initiate steps to control the availability of weapons in individual countries, and implement educational programs that will teach people about the devastating impact of weapons on human lives and challenge societal norms that perpetuate toxic masculinity and encourage men to use force and violence in conflict situations.

IWDPD events and activities are held worldwide. They include peace marches, public panel discussions, film screenings and community theater productions, and more. You can join the campaign by participating in an event near you, joining a virtual event or organizing an event of your own, donating to or volunteering for a nonprofit organization that fights for disarmament or helps war refugees, and spreading the world on social media using the hashtag #IWDPD.

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International Women’s Day for Peace and Disarmament, international observances, awareness campaigns, Women’s International League for Peace