Feminist Peace Movements from around the world: WOLMAFP

This year’s theme: conflict, gender and peace

The second Feminist Peace Movement from around the world that we would like to introduce you to is the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace (WOLMAFP)

  • “Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace” is a peace movement that started in 2003
  • Organisers: Crystal Roh Gawding and social workers Leymah Gbowee and Comfort Freeman
  • Who participated: thousands of Muslim and Christian women from various classes (over 3,000), mainly women in Monrovia, Liberia
  • Their goals: ending the Second Liberian Civil War (from 1999-2003), demanding peace, and to stop using boys as child soldiers => the women of Liberia were tired of the killing of their people – especially their boys and men. The war resulted in the deaths of over 50,000 people.



  • Their actions: To achieve peace in their country, they…
    • staged silent nonviolence protests, that included a sex strike and the threat of a curse, wore white to demonstrate that they want peace;
    • forced a meeting with President Charles Taylor, extracting a promise from him to attend peace talks in Ghana to negotiate with the rebels from Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy and Movement for Democracy in Liberia;
    • formed a delegation of Liberian women, who went to Ghana to continue to apply pressure on the warring factions during the peace process (two hundred women surrounded the room, dressed in white, dominating the conversation; any time the negotiators tried to leave, the women threatened to take off all of their clothes). Enclosed in the room with the women, the men would try to jump out of the windows to escape their talk. But the women persisted, staging a sit in outside of the Presidential Palace. They blocked all the doors and windows and prevented anyone from leaving the peace talks without a resolution. The silent protests outside of the Presidential Palace, brought an agreement during the stalled peace talks.


  • Gender dynamic:
    • Their creative non-violent protest allowed them to use the power within women and mothers of Liberia; tactics included a sex strike until their men chose to set aside weapons, and threatening to undress during a sit in outside the peace talks in Ghana.

    • Following Gbowee’s leadership the movement organized strategic tactics that would ensure the mass mobilization of women internationally to end the continuation of violence against women
    • With the emphasis on religion as a nonviolent framework the movement was successful in presenting the power women as a collective hold in improving the system of injustice across nations


  • Result: end of the war in 2003, achieve peace in Liberia after a 14-year civil war and the election of Africa’s first female president: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

    • Ellen Johnson Sirleaf election was inspired by the powerful commitment of women who had seen the war perpetuated by men in their country and were unwilling to put a man back into that powerful role
    • Ellen Sirleaf made women’s rights one of her priorities. Her administration focused on the condition of women in Liberia and their needs (putting more women in office, establishing the Women’s Legislative Caucus, a multiparty committee in the House of Representatives that ensures a gender-sensitive approach to the legislature, and creating The Inheritance Act, an act that made rights of inheritance for spouses of statutory and customary marriages)


UN Article: https://www.un.org/africarenewal/magazine/april-2018-july-2018/women-liberia’s-guardians-peace


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