May 12

Women peacemakers born today

  • 1820 Florence Nightingale born Florence, Tuscany (d. 1910). Organized first wartime nursing in Crimean War, 1854.

  • 1872 Eleanor Florence Rathbone born South Kensington, London (d. 1946). Suffragist; feminist. Independent Member of British Parliament, 1929-46. Published War Can Be Averted, 1938.

  • 1924 Claribel Alegría (née Clara Isabel Alegría Vides) born Estelí, Nicaragua. Salvadoran-Nicaraguan poet and novelist. Lifelong nonviolence advocate. Nobel Literature Laureate, 2006.

  • 1948 Akmaral Arystanbekova born Kazakhstan. Chemist and diplomat. First Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan, 1989-91. Initiated destruction of world’s fourth-largest cache of nuclear weapons; closed Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, 1991.

  • 1957 Ertharin Cousin born Chicago, IL. “The Woman Who Feeds the World”; Director World Food Program 2012; lawyer and food executive; Nominee for UN Secretary General 2016.

Women's peacemaking on this day

  • 1919 Women's International League for Peace and Freedom founding conference met in Zurich.

  • 1938 Forty-eight militant feminists chained themselves at Bastille protesting “the slavery of women.”

  • 1957 2,000 women marched in London from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square in the rain, protesting H-bomb tests in the first major anti-nuclear protest, organized by Ianthe Carswell.

  • 1976 INSTRAW, UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women established by UN Economic and Social Council Resolution LX.

  • 2003 British Minister of Development Clare Short quit British Cabinet over Iraq War betrayal of UN.

  • 2014 General Kristin Lund named first woman leader of UN Peacekeeping force.