September 17

Women peacemakers born today

  • 1657 Sophia Alekseyevna Romanov born Kremlin, Moscow (d. 1704). First woman ruler of Russia; Princess and Regent during minority of her brother Peter the Great; she suppressed military revolt; controlling foreign policy, made Eternal Peace with Poland (Moscow) 1686, which lasted for a century; first treaty with China (Nerchinsk) 1689.

  • 1846 Marie Popelin born Schaerbeek, Brussels (d. 1913). First Belgian feminist; educator who founded Alliance of Women for Peace through Education 1898; first Belgian woman lawyer 1888; organized International Feminist Conference Brussels 1897.

  • 1862 Anna Bugge-Wicksell born Egersund, Norway (d. 1928). Norwegian feminist and suffrage leader. Sweden's first woman diplomat; secretary of Swedish Peace Society. Traveled throughout Norway to promote women's suffrage, 1888. Advocated for international arbitration and reconciliation, 1890. Attended League of Nations inaugural session as alternate member, Geneva, 1920; became first woman to join its Permanent Mandates Commission, 1921.

  • 1866 Mary Burnett Talbert born Oberlin, OH (d. 1923). Prominent African-American social reformer. Suffragist; orator; peace activist; WILPF pioneer. Co-organized Niagara Movement against segregation. Served as Red Cross nurse in France during WWI.

  • 1896 Margarethe Lachmund born Woldegk, Mecklenburg (d. 1985). German Quaker who led north German aid to Jews; arrested in postwar East Germany; opposed postwar conscription and nuclear weapons.

  • 1918 Marii Hasegawa born Tadanoumi near Hiroshima, Japan (d. 2012). Peace activist, called "Gentle Woman of a Dangerous Kind"; head of US WILPF 1971-75; led peace delegation to Vietnam; early Nike missile protest; promoted meetings of Russian and American women; Niwano Peace Prize 1996; interned by US World War II.

  • 1937 Mary Shanthi Dairiam born Malaysia. International expert on human rights of women; UN Human Rights Commission investigator of Gaza Flotilla episode 2010; co-founder International Women Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific 1993.

  • 1950 Soledad Alvear born Santiago, Chile. First woman Foreign Minister of Chile 2000 improved relations with US and Europe; first minister of Women's Affairs; as Justice Minister replaced colonial criminal code; tried to prevent Iraq War.

  • 1952 Verity Burgmann born Sydney, Australia. Professor of Political Science; socialist. Along with her sister Meredith Burgmann, arrested for running on field of Sydney Cricket Ground during the South African rugby team's Australian tour to protest apartheid, 1971. Opposed nuclear weapons; supported aboriginal rights.

  • 1953 Radhika Coomaraswamy born Colombo, Sri Lanka. Human Rights expert; UN Special Envoy on children in war 2006; UN Rapporteur on Violence against Women 1994-2003.

Women's peacemaking on this day

  • Feast Day of St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179). Altruist, mystic and political critic, "First Woman Doctor of Europe" who condemned violence in the church ca. 1160, and predicted fall of Holy Roman Empire partly through war.

  • 1994 Conscience and Peace Tax International founded Hondarribia, Spain by Marian Franz.

  • 2014 Secretary of State Kerry acknowledged previous day's Code Pink protest at Senate Foreign Relations hearing.

  • 2016 500 Buddhist nuns of Drukpa Order finished 4000 km. bike trip from Katmandu to Leh to protest human trafficking.