The Women, Peace and Security Programme (PeaceWomen) was founded in 2000 to strengthen women’s rights and participation in international peace and security efforts.
It promotes feminist peace by strengthening women’s meaningful participation, transforming gendered power, and bridging local gender conflict analysis with global efforts to implement a holistic WPS Agenda. This builds on WILPF’s overall priorities of addressing root causes of violence with a feminist lens and mobilising for non-violent action.
Based in the New York Office of WILPF, PeaceWomen facilitates monitoring of the United Nations system, with a particular focus on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, engages in advocacy work to strengthen the implementation across the UN system and provides effective outreach and capacity building to amplify and support local gendered conflict analysis and expertise.
Meet our staff team and leadership below.
Meet our current fellows and learn about the fellowship/internship programme here>>>
Madeleine Rees, WILPF Secretary General
Madeleine Rees qualified as a lawyer in 1990 and became a partner in a large law firm in the UK in 1994 specialising in discrimination law, particularly in the area of employment, and public and administrative law and she worked on behalf of both the Commission for Racial Equality and the Equal Opportunities Commission mainly on developing strategies to establish rights under domestic law through the identification of test cases to be brought before the courts. Madeleine Rees brought cases both to the European Court of Human Rights and the European Court in Luxembourg. She was cited as one of the leading lawyers in the field of discrimination in the Chambers directory of British lawyers. In 1998 she began working for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights as the gender expert and Head of Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In that capacity, she worked extensively on the rule of law, gender and post-conflict, transitional justice and the protection of social and economic rights. The OHCHR Office in Bosnia was the first to take a case of rendition to Guantanamo before a court. The OHCHR office dealt extensively with the issue of trafficking and Madeleine was a member of the expert coordination group of the trafficking task force of the Stability Pact, thence the Alliance against Trafficking. From September 2006 to April 2010 she was the head of the Women’s rights and gender unit focusing on using law to describe the different experiences of men and women, particularly post-conflict. The aim was to better understand and interpret the concept of Security using human rights law as complementary to humanitarian law and how to make the human rights machinery more responsive and therefore more effective from a gender perspective.
Maria Butler, WILPF Global Programmes Director
Maria Butler is the Global Programmes Director of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and is based at the Geneva office. A leading expert, she is the author of numerous publications including the "Women, Peace and Security Handbook", a ten analysis of the Security Council's resolutions, editorials and resources. Maria regularly presents at, and facilities briefings, trainings and consultations with security council members, other states, UN officials and civil society groups across a range of policy, peace and security topics. Maria works directly with women advocates and partners in conflict-affected situations to link local and global policy implementation.
For example, she led the work to organise the first ever meeting of the UN Security Council with Syrian civil society in January 2014. Maria has pioneered the development of new tools for knowledge-sharing, including the first-ever iPhone application on area of work of the Security Council and an ongoing successful lecture series. Maria is an Attorney-at-Law and a member of the New York State Bar. She holds a Masters in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and is a native of Ireland. Prior to WILPF, Maria gained experience working in a human rights, a humanitarian, and a community development organisation, she has also worked for a short period with the Permanent Mission of Ireland as an advisor on a range of policy matters including Middle East.
Ashish Mahajan, WILPF UN Office Manager
Ashish has extensive experience in non-profit governance, risk management, and compliance. Before joining WILFP he worked as program operations manager for the Sarai Program at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi, which engages with the transformation of urban space, contemporary issues, media, and information.
As an independent production consultant, Ashish has also handled the production of many documentaries and audiovisual art installations, working with leading filmmakers and contemporary artists from around the world.
Zarin Hamid, WILPF Women, Peace, and Security Progamme Manager
Zarin Hamid is the Manager of the Women, Peace and Security Programme and contributes to monitoring and analysis on women, peace, and security issues at the UN Security Council, and serves as the main liaison with key coalition partners, as well as UN, government, and civil society colleagues. She has previously worked at the Center for Women’s Global Leadership, where she ran the global 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence Campaign. Zarin has coordinated trainings on human rights treaties, mechanisms, and advocacy. As part of her previous work, Zarin has advocated with the Security Council and Human Rights Council on gender based violence issues and engaged with UN country teams. She is experienced in delivering projects on building action for nonviolence, gender justice, and feminist peace. Zarin also worked with the Afghan Women's Network (AWN), Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) and the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP), and served as civil society committee representative on the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women, managed by UNWomen. She has an MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from American University, School of International Service and has earned a BA in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University, where she worked as a program assistant at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. She is also fluent in Persian.
Genevieve Riccoboni, WILPF Communications Associate
Genevieve Riccoboni is the Communications Associate for WILPF's Women, Peace and Security Program, where she coordinates all communications and delegations for the program. She holds a BA with Joint Honours in History and Political Science from McGill University, and a Master's in World History from the University of Cambridge. She conducted her masters research on the global outsourcing industry and Indian economic development policy, and has also researched natural resource exploitation in the MENA region and US food aid and humanitarian policy. Genevieve was previously the marketing lead for the podcast Declarations, based out of Cambridge's Centre for Governance and Human Rights, as well as the Politics Editor and Chief Sub-Editor for the Cavendish Chronicle magazine, where she focused on showcasing feminist perspectives on current affairs. Genevieve is passionate about activism, and is actively involved in organising in New York City around racial justice as part of the police accountability working group and coordinating committee of SURJ NYC. She is fluent in German and proficient in Spanish.