January 31

Women peacemakers born today

  • 1820 Concepción Arenal Ponte born Ferrol, Galicia, Spain (d. 1893). Pioneer Spanish feminist; opponent of all wars; first woman university graduate; poet; prison reformer.

  • 1897 Saiza Nabarawi (née Zainad Murad) born Cairo, Egypt (d. 1985). Egyptian anti-imperialist feminist, journalist; took off veil to protest British occupation 1919; unveiled in nonviolent protest May 1923; editor feminist journal L’Egyptienne, 1925-40; co-founder Egyptian Political Union; founded Women’s Popular Resistance Committee; postwar advocate of nonalignment; prewar defender of Palestinian human rights.

  • 1902 Alva Myrdal born Uppsala, Sweden (d. 1986). Swedish diplomat. Swedish Cabinet Minister for Disarmament, 1966-73. Founded Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 1964. Shared Nobel Peace Prize, 1982. Raised peacemaker daughter Sissela Bok.

  • 1920 Lillian Meller Genser born Detroit, MI (d. 2006). Pioneering peace educator. Director, Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, Wayne State University, 1970-90. Began Visions of Peace children’s art show, 1986. Introduced companion to pledge of allegiance.

  • 1930 Megan Rice born Manhattan, NY. Catholic nun. Arrested over three dozen times for nonviolent civil disobedience against US nuclear weapons and the School of Americas, for which she served two 6-month terms.

  • 1938 Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands, born Baarn, Netherlands. Received pacifist education in Bilthoven; awarded Charlemagne Prize for European Unity, 1996.

  • 1950 Lisa Pelletti Clark born Los Angeles, CA. Interpreter and peace activist. Worked in Sarajevo during Bosnian War, 1993-95. Vice-President of Italian NGO Beati I Costruttori di Pace ("Blessed are the Peacemakers").

  • 1961 Fatou Bensouda born Banjul, Gambia. International Criminal Court Deputy Prosecutor, 2004; International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor, 2012.

  • 1987 Oksana Shachko born Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine. Ukrainian artist. Co-founded FEMEN, 2008; took part in first topless protest, Kiev, 2009; arrested in Simferpol, Crimea for topless protest, 2014.

  • 2001 Ta’Kaiya Blaney born Sliammon, British Columbia, Canada. First Nations environmentalist and singer. Began activism at age 10; protested Enbridge pipeline; addressed UN Summit Rio, 2012.

Women's peacemaking on this day

  • 1917 Alice Wheeldon and 2 daughters arrested for aiding World War I draft resisters.

  • 1956 At a low point in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Mother Pollard encouraged Martin Luther King, Jr., "I done told you we is with you all the way."

  • 1994 Members of women's peace camp blocked entrances to Menwith Hill spy base at Harrogate, Yorkshire.

  • 2006 Cindy Sheehan arrested in Congressional Gallery during the president's State of Union address, wearing t-shirt which read: "2,245 Dead. How many more?"

  • 2012 Silvia Carrera led shutdown of Pan-American Highway at Ojo de Agua, Panama in protest against mining.

  • 2014 Deb Van Poolen arrested in Grand Rapids, MI for interrupting a speech by Gen. David Petraeus to protest his role in American militarism.

  • 2014 Women of the village of Nabi Saleh participated in the Melh Al-Ard (Salt of the Earth) campaign, establishing the village of Ein Hijleh in protest of Israeli efforts to annex the Jordan Valley.