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WRI Women's Working Group 25 Year History Project

For the last 25 years women within War Resisters International (WRI) have been making women's perspectives of war and violence visible within the mixed peace movement. To celebrate this work the WRI Women's Working Group (WWG) is producing a written document of our 25 year history.

Complete with personal stories, anecdotes, chronology and reprints of selected articles, this history will cover the efforts of women to gain a stronger voice, to broaden the political understanding and analysis of war and violence, and to increase awareness of the links between sexism and war, and the ways in which war and militarism affect women.

The history will be published in booklet form, for easy international distribution. It will be published around June 2001, and will appear first in English, in an accessible style so that it can be understood by readers for whom English is not their first language.

Keep the 'sisters' in War Resisters!

The booklet will extend the impact of the WWG's work to other peace movement and women's organizations, as a positive example of an organization changing to become more gender conscious, and as a positive example of an early attempt to develop a women's project that is both grassroots and international.

It can be used by both newcomers to the WWG and by WRI as a whole, as a good example of how working groups and volunteers play an active role within WRI. We will look at the ways in which women who were spread all around the world met and communicated with each other and how support networks were developed to sustain the group through the years. We will explore both the challenges and obstacles that women faced within WRI at the creation of a woman-only space, and document the important effects of bringing a gender perspective into WRI's programme. The effectiveness of the WWG and the different approaches used will be evaluated, and key challenges for the future identified.

Personal interviews and oral histories, of women involved in the founding and work of the WWG will be conducted. Reports from women's gatherings at WRI triennials conferences, issues of WRI Women and WRI newsletters, and archival material from the Institute for Social History (Amsterdam) will be examined. WRI has member sections and Associate organizations in over 40 countries, and we will obtain stories and printed information from WRI sections that were active in women's issues and the WWG.

Please help!

The history project is coordinated by a team of WWG members such as Ellen Elster (Norway), Shelley Anderson (US/Netherlands), Majken Sørensen (Denmark), Dorie Wilsnack (US/Germany), Casha Davis (Germany) and Jane Lewis (UK). If you would like to contribute stories, funds, photographs, historical material, please contact Jane Lewis at email: jane@gn.apc.org, or write: WRI Women's History Project, 5 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX, UK. Tel. + 44 171 278 4040; fax +44 20 7278 0444; email: infoatwri-irg.org. If you have ideas for fundraising for the project, please contact Majken at email: majken@fred.dk.

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