Letter from the Laureates

Let us be frank. 2023 was a difficult year.  Levels of escalation in conflicts which previously would have sent a piercing alarm through the international community, were seen as almost commonplace. Support for Ukraine, which is still facing a war of aggression from Russia, waned leading to growing loss of life. Ongoing conflicts in Sudan and the DRC did not make news headlines despite frightening levels of sexual and gender-based violence; months of protest in Guatemala had to take place to ensure that a democratically elected president could take the office the people voted him into; another year of protest in Iran resulted in more civilians imprisoned and murdered; a brutal war between Israel and Hamas quickly became the deadliest conflict in almost a century, and swiftly engulfed the region.  

On the backdrop of war, the rise of state-sponsored targeting and discrimination of women through laws and policies around the world – known as gender apartheid – went almost unnoticed. And yet it is no coincidence that increased authoritarianism and militarization is going hand in hand with systematic exclusion of women.  

In this context peace not only seems like, but is, a distant dream.  

Now more than ever, peace needs women. 

Showing up for peace, standing together with our sisters and partners to demand accountability, supporting one another with love and compassion despite and in spite of our differences, is crucial. We need fundamentally feminist peace ideals. We need to explore new means to demilitarize and de-escalate. We need effective global accountability rules and mechanisms. 

The only response in the face of chaos and uncertainty is action. Only by doing so can we bring about the changes we know are needed to make the world a better place for us all. 

In solidarity and with determination for a more peaceful future, 

 

Jody Williams 

Leymah Gbowee 

Tawakkol Karman 

Maria Ressa 

Shirin Ebadi 

Narges Mohammadi  

Rigoberta Menchu Tum