August 18

Women peacemakers born today

  • 1898 Amalia González Caballero de Castillo Ledón born Santander, Tamaulipas, Mexico (d. 1986). Mexican stateswoman and women's rights leader; poet and playwright. First woman in presidential cabinet position. Mexican delegate to San Francisco Conference on founding of United Nations, 1945.

  • 1900 Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit born Allahabad, India (d. 1991). First woman president UN General Assembly 1953; diplomat ambassador to USSR, US, UK. Gandhian nonviolent resister 1919; jailed for civil disobedience 1932, 1940, 1942; Vice President India WILPF.

  • 1904 T. S. Soundaram Ramachandran (née Iyengar) born Thirinulveli, Madras, India (d. 1964). Physician associate of Gandhi; active in Quit India movement; started Gandhigram program of rural health, education, development; founded Kasturba Hospital 1947; began Gandhigram Rural Institute 1947; member of national legislature 1957-67; as Deputy Minister of Education she introduced compulsory free education, and National Service.

  • 1911 Amelia Boynton Robinson born Savannah, GA. Nonviolence advocate and civil rights activist. Key figure in planning of Selma marches, 1965. Beaten unconscious by police during first Selma to Montgomery march at Edmund Pettus Bridge, March 7, 1965.

  • 1912 Elsa Morante born Rome, Italy (d. 1985). Author. Published her essay “For and Against the Atom Bomb”, 1965. Wrote stage musical “The World Saved by Children”, 1968. Contrasted the horrors of war as she experienced the underground in World War II with world history in History: A Novel, 1974.

  • 1937 Sheila Cassidy born Cranwell, Lincolnshire. English doctor tortured in Chile under Pinochet, 1975; led international campaign to expose torture.

  • 1949 Florence Rita Arrey born Buea, Cameroon. Judge of International Rwanda Tribunal (ICTR) 2003; convicted Rwandan singer Bikindi of genocide.

  • 1959 Winona LaDuke born Los Angeles, CA. Native American; member of Anishinaabe people. Vice Presidential candidate for Green Party 1996, 2000; founded Indigenous Women's Network 1985; Reebok Human Rights Award 1998.

  • 1970 Samar Yazbek born Jableh, Syria. Syrian writer, journalist, and editor. Feminist; follower of Gandhi.

Women's peacemaking on this day

  • 1968 17th WILPF Congress, Nyborg Strand, Denmark; Dorothy Hutchinson's keynote "The Right to be Human", "to express and to implement human compassion is a human right."

  • 1981 Rosa Cisneros assassinated aiding poor in El Salvador; human rights lawyer.

  • 2000 Hina Jilani named first Special Rep. For Human Rights Defenders; founded first Pakistani women's law firm.

  • 2003 Liberian Peace agreement achieved by women Accra, Ghana.

  • 2005 Karambu Ringera convened first Women's International Grassroots Peace Congress, Nairobi.