Back to being a woman in black 13.02.2020

A report from the women in black weekly protest vigil against the Israeli occupation, at Paris square, West Jerusalem

Women in Black (Hebrew: נשים בשחור, Nashim BeShahor)

is a women’s anti-war movement with an estimated 10,000 activists around the world

. The first group was formed by Israeli women in Jerusalem in 1988, following the outbreak of the First Intifada.[1]

משמרת המחאה השבועית של “נשים בשחור

Signs in Hebrew, Arabic and English held by women in black

, a feminist pro peace organisation.

Stop the occupation
ارفعوا الحصار عن غزه- אירפעו אל חסאר ען ע’זה
להסיר את המצור מעל עזה.

End Gaza Blocade. Paris square, Jerusalem.

Stop the occupation

zoraya Hadad at the weekly vigil of women in black
Women In black weekly protest

صور من المظاهرة الاسبوعيه في القدس اغربيه شاحه فؤانس –

نساء بالاسواد  ما يوريدون  الحرب العنصري  يوريدون يعيشو مع الشعب الفلسطيني في الحب والسلام.
משמרת המחאה השבועית של נשים בשחור בכיכר צרפת – ירושלים המערבית.
השלטים: بكفى لاحتلال (ביקאפי לאיחתילאל: די לכיבוש).
ارفعوا الحصار عن غزه- אירפעו אל חסאר ען ע’זה
להסיר את המצור מעל עזה.

A woman in black
An Israeli Peace activist at Paris square Jerusalem- “Women In Black”

About Women in Black

Who are Women in Black?

originally published on women in black website


Women in Black is a world-wide network

of women committed to peace with justice and actively opposed to injustice

war, militarism and other forms of violence.

As women experiencing these things in different ways in

different regions of the world,

we support each other’s movements.

An important focus is challenging the militarist policies of our own governments.

We are not an organisation, but a means of communicating and a formula for action.

WiB vigils


Any group of women anywhere in the world at any time may organize a

Women in Black vigil against any manifestation of violence, militarism or war.

Women in Black (WiB) actions are generally women only.

Our actions often take the form of women wearing black,

standing in a public place in silent, non-violent vigils at regular times and intervals,

carrying placards and handing out leaflets.

Other non-violent actions

We use non-violent and non-aggressive forms of action.

In addition to vigils Women in Black groups

use many other forms of non-violent direct action such

as sitting down to block a road,

entering military bases and other forbidden zones,

refusing to comply with orders,

and “bearing witness”.

Wearing black in some cultures signifies mourning,

and feminist actions dressed in black convert women’s traditional

passive mourning for the dead in war into a powerful refusal of the logic of war.

A worldwide movement


It is impossible to know exactly how many

Women in Black groups exist, how many women they include

and how many actions have been held.

When Women in Black in Israel/Palestine,

as part of a coalition of Women for a Just Peace, called for vigils in June 2001

against the Occupation of Palestinian lands,

at least 150 WiB groups across the world responded.

Countries reporting vigils included:

Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Canada, Denmark,

England, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Maldive Islands, Mexico, Netherlands,

Northern Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the USA.

The organisers estimate that altogether

10,000 women may have been involved.

International women’s solidarity

International Women in Black conferences and encounters have been held in Jerusalem, Beijing, Serbia,

and Brussels, Italy, Spain, India and will take place in South Africa in 2018.  

In 2001 Women in Black was awarded the Millennium Peace Prize

for Women by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and International Alert.

Women in Black in Israel/Palestine

and former Yugoslavia (Serbia) were also nominated

for the Nobel Peace Prize and the Right Livelihood Award.

A feminist perspective

Women in Black groups do not have a constitution or a manifesto,

but our perspective is clear from our actions and words. It is evident for instance that we have a feminist understanding: that male violence against women in domestic life and in the community, in times of peace and in times of war, are interrelated.

Violence is used as a means of controlling women.

In some regions, men who share this analysis support and help WiB, and

WiB are supporting men who refuse to fight.

Women’s different experience of war

Women-only peace activism does not suggest that women,

any more than men, are “natural born peace-makers”.

But women often inhabit different cultures from men,

and are disproportionately involved in caring work.

We know what justice and oppression mean,

because we experience them as women.

Most women have a different experience of war from that of most men.

All women in war fear rape.

Women are the majority of refugees.

A feminist view sees masculine cultures as specially prone to violence,

and so feminist women tend

to have a particular perspective on security

and something unique to say about war.

Women’s different and varied voices
WiB includes women of many ethnic and national backgrounds,

co-operating across these (and other)

differences in the interests of justice and peace.

We work for

a world where difference does not mean inequality,

oppression or exclusion.

Women’s voices are often drowned out

in mixed actions of men and women.

When we act alone what women say is really heard.

Choosing our own forms of action

Sometimes even peace demonstrations get violent

, and as women alone

we can choose forms of action we feel comfortable with,

non-violent and expressive.

Demonstrating together can give us a sense of the richness

and scope of our varied experiences, and solidarity and purpose as women.

Women in regions differently situated in relation to armed conflicts,

including those that perpetrate violence and those that are victims of it, can lend support to each other.

Together we can educate, inform and influence public opinion,

and so try to make war an unthinkable option.

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