18th June 2017
Thousands of people, many from a wide range of countries across the globe, flocked to downtown NYC on Sunday for the #womenbanthebomb march as a show of support for the #nuclearban negotiations currently underway at the United Nations. The march was superbly organised by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and featured a host of wonderful female speakers. The weather conditions were wild, in fact a torrential downpour for most of the time, but this did not dampen spirits. In fact some march attendees remarked that in many cultures rain on an important day is auspicious.
The New Zealand civil society delegation braved the elements and were there in full force carrying our rainbow nuclear free New Zealand banner. 70 solidarity marches were held across the globe in support of the NYC rally and the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty negotiations.
Lucy Stewart, of the Peace Foundation and WILPF Aotearoa, reports from the march:
Why are women specifically important in this conversation?
Women have a powerful role to play in abolishing nuclear weapons for a number of reasons. Firstly, nuclear weapons are traditionally seen as masculine and powerful tool to protect populations, with the role of protection again traditionally seen as a masculine role. Arguments for abolishing nuclear weapons have too often been sidelined as emotional, idealistic and irrational. As such, women’s voices have traditionally been lacking for conversations about nuclear weapons and specifically disarmament.
However, this is changing. Across the globe, governments and civil society are waking up to the foley behind these patriarchal sentiments, and women are showing that abolishing nuclear weapons is feasible, rational and practical!
Secondly, women and girls are disproportionately impacted by the ionising radiation of nuclear weapons, which not only has horrific effects on their health but also has enormous effects on other areas of their lives due to the stigma. Check out this great video with Ray Acheson from Reaching Critical Will who explains both of these points further.