August 31

Women peacemakers born today

  • 1858 Helena Stuart Dudley born Florence, NE (d. 1932). Biologist; Christian Socialist; pioneer settlement worker who remained pacifist through World War I; member of WILPF and FOR; partner of pacifist Vida Scudder; died Geneva after WILPF convention.

  • 1869 Elizabeth Knight born Northfleet, Kent, England (d. 1933). Pacifist, Quaker physician and suffrage leader. Arrested for suffrage protest to Prime Minister Asquith, 1908. Twice imprisoned for tax refusal. Arrested for leading suffrage protest at Parliament, 1913. Barred from attending International Women's Peace Conference, The Hague, 1915. Treasurer, Woman’s Freedom League, which opposed World War I and advocated nonviolent tactics, 1913-33.

  • 1870 Maria Montessori born Chiaravalle, Ancona, Italy (d. 1952). Pioneer in peace education and research; lifelong opponent of war and militarism, promoted League of Nations and UNESCO; first Italian woman doctor 1896.

  • 1909 Lagi Ballestrem born Vailima, Upolu, Samoa (d. 1945). Samoan-born German Countess. Member of Solf Circle, a Nazi resistance group. Helped rescue many Jews. Imprisoned, 1944; died before war ended.

  • 1970 Rania of Jordan born Kuwait. Advocate of UNICEF, UN Women's Fund, UN Girls Education Initiative.

Women's peacemaking on this day

  • 1830 Quaker Lucretia Mott "liberalized" nonviolent pioneer William Lloyd Garrison's view of war by showing Old Testament God did not authorize war.

  • 1852 Persian theologian and poet Fátima Baraghání martyred.

  • 1917 Socialist Bertha Frazer of New York fined $50 for alleged seditious remarks in street-corner speech during WWI.

  • 1995 Aung San Suu Kyi delivered keynote address via video tape to the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing. "[N]o war was ever started by women. But it is women and children who have always suffered most in situations of conflict. Now that we are gaining control of the primary historical role imposed on us of sustaining life in the context of the home and family, it is time to apply in the arena of the world the wisdom and experience thus gained in activities of peace over so many thousands of years. The education and empowerment of women throughout the world cannot fail to result in a more caring, tolerant, just and peaceful life for all.”

  • 2004 The Mindanao Commission on Women opened a conference to discuss peace and conflict resolution at Loleng’s Mountain Resort, Phillippines.

  • 2016 Aung San Suu Kyi opened peace talks with rebel groups.