April 12

Women peacemakers born today

  • 1891 Josephine Duveneck born Brookline, MA (d. 1978). Quaker pacifist. Early WILPF leader, 1922. Founded organic farm and social justice center Hidden Villa, Santa Cruz mountains, California, 1924.

  • 1912 Jo Ann Robinson born Culloden, GA (d. 1992). English teacher. Credited by Martin Luther King, Jr. as one of first organizers of Montgomery bus boycott, as president of Women’s Political Council; proposed bus boycott, according to Rosa Parks.

  • 1934 Yayori Matsui born Kyoto, Japan (d. 2002). Japanese journalist and women’s rights activist. Founded Asian Women in Solidarity, opposing sex tourism, 1976. Founded Violence Against Women in War Network, 1998. Sponsored Women's International War Crimes Trial, Tokyo, 2000.

  • 1940 Miriam K. Were born Lugala, Kenya. Quaker; physician; public health official. WHO Representative, 1990-93; UN Population Fund Director, 1993-2000. First recipient of Noguchi Africa Prize, 2008.

  • 1942 Gabrielle Kirk McDonald born St. Paul, MN. International lawyer; first woman judge of Yugoslav war crimes tribunal, Sept. 1993; War Crimes Tribunal President, 1997-99.

  • 1948 Bosilijka Schedlich born Split, Yugoslavia. Croatian-German post-conflict healer. Founded Southeast European Cultural Center to help thousands to recover from trauma of Balkan war, Berlin, 1991. Nobel Peace Prize nominee, 2005.

  • 1948 Sheila Sisulu born Johannesburg, South Africa. South African Ambassador to US, 1999-2003; Executive Director World Food Program, 2003.

  • 1949 Lynn Gottlieb born Bethlehem, PA. Jewish Rabbi. Led Fellowship of Reconciliation peace initiatives; only rabbi in Cairo to support lifting Gaza blockade, 2010.

  • 1950 Joyce Banda born Malemia, Malawi. Malawi Foreign Minister, 2006-09. As first woman president of Malawi, restored relations with EU, US, World Bank, 2012-14. Guarantor of Congo-M23 Peace, rejecting violence and ending long war in eastern Congo, 2013.

  • 1963 Lydia Cacho Ribeiro born Mexico City, Mexico. Mexican journalist; feminist. Activist against violence towards women and girls.

  • 1980 Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera born Kampala, Uganda. “Founding mother” of Ugandan LGBT civil rights movement, 1999. Awarded Ennals Human Rights Prize, 2011; Right Livelihood Award, 2015.

  • 1980 Tep Vanny born Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Human rights activist. Jailed for peaceful protest, 2012. Received Vital Voices Global Leadership Award for her efforts to preserve Boeung Kak Lake in land conflict, 2013.

Women's peacemaking on this day

  • 1930 Women's Peace Union backed by five nonviolent peace groups presented constitutional amendment to abolish war before Senate hearing.

  • 1934 Through the efforts of Dorothy Detzer, Congress established the Nye Committee on Investigation of the Munitions Industry, investigating arms manufacturers' influence on American involvement in World War I.

  • 1992 Lynne Gunther ended 24-hour fast at UN against taxes for war; arrested on $50,000 bail.

  • 2012 Navy Commander Leah Bolger sentenced to 60 days jail (suspended) for disrupting Congress by demanding that Deficit Committee end wars.