International Women’s Day 2022: #BreaktheBias

Wales’ Temple of Peace lit up in Solidarity for Ukraine on International Women’s Day, March 8th 2022

WCIA’s activities to mark International Women’s Day 2022, have been understandably overtaken by the rapidly unfolding war in Ukraine and its terrible humanitarian consequences, as women and children flee the fighting in numbers not witnessed since World War Two.

The theme for International Women’s Day 2022, #IWD2022 is #BreaktheBias; and whilst intended to confront a raft of inequalities worldwide, nowhere sadly is this more visible than in the face of war. As in most humanitarian crises, women and girls are disproportionately affected the world over: as victims of war; as refugees seeking sanctuary; voices excluded from political and military decision-making processes – almost exclusively dominated by men – and as voices critical to brokering any prospective peace pathways.

Women #BreakingtheBias, from past…

Winifred Coombe Tennant

100 years ago this year, a woman from Wales became the first to #BreaktheBias against women in international diplomacy. In 1922, Winifred Coombe Tennant from Neath became Britain’s first ever woman delegate to the League of Nations in Geneva. WCIA in partnership with Academi Heddwch originally planned to mark #IWD2022 by celebrating Welsh women in diplomacy; Coombe Tennant pioneered what was considered a radical new approach to peace building and international relations in the aftermath of World War One, as she fearlessly entered Geneva’s ‘parliament of men‘ to advocate not just for the voice of women to be heard as ‘half the world’ – but specifically, the perspective of mothers. Her ‘maiden speech’ in Geneva remains as relevant to pursuit of peace and reconciliation today:

“This [League of Nations] will not reach its full authority and its full power, until it has become in some real sense a League of Mothers – for it is from the Mothers of the World that it will receive a dynamic power, a driving force, which is essential to it if it is to accomplish successfully a task which has hitherto baffled all ages and all races – the task of establishing an enduring peace.” 

…to present

100 years later, as we process the rapid escalation and fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, WCIA calls on all in Wales to #BreaktheBias and take effort to hear to voices of women and mothers from all sides of the conflict: to amplify voices, and bridge divides.

WCIA will be organising our next Panel of Women on the Ukraine conflict on 23rd March 2022, for which we welcome the widest possible participation – Register here

Explore a range of women’s perspectives on the Ukraine conflict:

And why not join women worldwide in making your own commitment to #BreaktheBias – and involve where you can family, friends, workplaces, communities, your local media and political representatives:

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