Women Strike for Peace

On November 1st, 1961, tens of thousands of housewives and mothers across the United States came out from their homes and their jobs to participate in a “Strike for Peace.” Responding to a call from a handful of Washington, D.C. activists made just six weeks before, demonstrators took to the streets in 61 communities from Los Angeles to New York and demanded that world leaders “End the Arms Race – Not the Human Race.”

Emerging from this one day action, Women Strike for Peace became one of the most significant and influential social movement groups of the Cold War. Drawing on a uniquely talented community of women, WSP became famed for its creative protests, the humor of its activists, its unstructured and loosely coordinated “nonorganization,” and the harmonious community fostered by its politically inexperienced constituents. Its members influenced the passing of the Partial Test Ban Treaty in 1963, were early opponents of the Vietnam War, participated in the birth of the women’s liberation movement, and remained stalwart opponents of nuclear weapons throughout their lives.

In this section you can read more about important moments in the group’s history, detailed biographies of key figures, and the ongoing debate surrounding how best to explain the phenomenon of Women Strike for Peace.