May 23

Women peacemakers born today

  • 1810 Margaret Fuller born Cambridgeport, MA (d. 1850). Transcendentalist poet and author; teacher at Bronson Alcott's Temple School. Pioneering feminist and supporter of Italian unity; opponent of capital punishment; co-founder of Brook Farm.

  • 1855 Isabella Ford born Headingley, Leeds (d. 1924). English social reformer; suffragist; Quaker; labor organizer. Lifelong pacifist who opposed World War I;  WILPF founding member.

  • 1926 Aileen Clarke Hernandez born Brooklyn, NY. Civil rights leader; feminist. Second national president of National Organization of Women, 1970-71; Nobel Peace Prize nominee, 2005.

  • 1931 Louise Bruyn (née Muenzer) born Chicago, IL. Quaker peace activist. Walked 450 miles from Newton, MA to Washington DC in 45 days to protest expansion of Vietnam War to Laos, 1971. Published memoir She Walked for All of Us: One Woman’s 1971 Protest Against an Illegal War, 2013.

  • 1933 Ilaben Pathak born Gujarat, India (d. 2014). Pioneering feminist. Gandhian social reformer; linguistics professor. President, WILPF India; vice-president, WILPF International. Co-founded Ahmedabad Women’s Action Group (AWAG), 1981.

  • 1956 Ursula Plassnik born Klagenfurt, Austria. Austrian Foreign Minister, 2004-08; European delegate to reform of UN Human Rights Committee. Led negotiations on Croatia and Turkey's admission to European Union; as President of European Assembly, brought all members back to unity talks, 2005.

  • 1970 Ayo Ayoola-Amale born Jos, Nigeria. Ghanaian poet, lawyer, and peacemaker. Founding president, Ghana WILPF. Began Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC), Accra.

  • 1974 Jewel Kilcher born Payson, UT. Singer and poet. Founded Higher Ground for Humanity with her mother Lenedra Carroll, 1999; established ClearWater Project.

  • 1996 Neha Gupta born New Zealand. American humanitarian; founded Empowering Orphans when she was nine 2005; International Children’s Peace Prize 2014.

Women's peacemaking on this day

  • 1907 Finland held the world's first elections with universal suffrage, electing 19 women to Parliament.

  • 1930 Sarojini Naidu sentenced to 9 months in prison for salt protest.

  • 1953 International Labor Organization treaty on equal pay for women goes into effect.

  • 2000 Conflict Transformation in Africa: African Women’s Perspectives, Dakar.

  • 2002 Heidi Tagliavini appointed UN representative in Georgia.

  • 2013 Code Pink leader Medea Benjamin interrupted President Obama’s speech on drones and Guantanamo Bay prison. Obama said, “The voice of that woman is worth paying attention to."