February 23

Women peacemakers born today

  • 1787 Emma Willard born Berlin, CT (d. 1870). Educator. Founded first women's seminary, 1814; proposed Universal Peace, one of the first plans for an international organization, 1820; one of the first to aid women abroad, Greece, 1833.

  • 1870 Marguerite Gobat born Delémont, Switzerland (d. 1937). Pioneering peace educator; journalist; feminist. Secretary of Universal Union of Women for International Harmony, 1915; co-founded Swiss WILPF, 1919.

  • 1873 Meta Berger born Milwaukee, WI (d. 1944). Democratic Socialist reformer; postwar national leader in WILPF. Opposed World War I; member of Milwaukee Emergency Peace Committee, opposing recruiting, 1917. Delegate to disarmament conference, Geneva, 1932.

  • 1889 Lucy Godiva Woodcock born Sydney, Australia (d. 1968). Australian pacifist; teacher; union leader; feminist. Voiced opposition to Cold War policies at peace conferences, 1954-55; promoted recognition of China.

  • 1892 Sigrid Helliesen Lund born Kristiania, Norway (d. 1987). Norwegian Quaker humanitarian and peace activist. WILPF leader. Honored by Yad Vashem, 2006.

  • 1903 Denise Durant born Jemappes, Belgium (d. 1969). Belgian feminist; socialist organizer; anti-militarist; pacifist.

  • 1904 Helen Nearing born Ridgewood, NJ (d. 1995). Gandhian disciple; nonviolent theosophist.

  • 1951 Ivonne Abdel-Baki born Guayaquil, Ecuador. Artist; diplomat; peacemaker; head of Yasuní rainforest conservation project in Amazon. Founded Art for Peace, 1997; instrumental in Peru-Ecuador peace, 1998. Presidential candidate, 2002; Trade Minister, 2003-05; President of Andean Parliament, 2007-08; candidate for head of UNESCO, 2009. Created Galapagos Conservancy Foundation, 2009; UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

Women's peacemaking on this day

  • 1909 Second National Women's Day took place in New York. 2000 people met at the Murray Hill Lyceum to discuss equality for women.

  • 1966 Police arrested Ruth Tinsley in Richmond, Virginia for lunch counter protest.

  • 1986 81-year-old woman Mrs. Monzon, stopped tanks in Manila's nonviolent People Power Revolution. "Stop! I am an old woman. You can kill me, but you shouldn't kill your fellow Filipinos."

  • 2012 UN Security Council held open debate on women, peace and security; Secretary General issued first-ever report on conflict-related sexual violence.