Australian news, and some related international items

The nuclear weapons issue is a women’s issue

During Women’s History Month, thank women for preventing nuclear disaster (Commentary) 26 Mar 21, By Wendy Yost | Syracuse Peace Council Wendy Yost, of Syracuse, writes on behalf of the Nuclear Free World Committee of the Syracuse Peace Council.

Depending on how old you are, you may remember the 1950s and ’60s “duck and cover” drills in elementary school and signs leading to the atomic bomb shelters in public buildings. Or you may remember the Cuban Missile crisis when the world came dangerously close to nuclear war. Then, and now, most of us probably had or have no true idea of the devastation that such a war would bring.

During Women’s History month, we should thank women for bringing some sanity to the insanity of the Cold War. In 1961 Bella Abzug and Dagmar Wilson founded “Women Strike for Peace.” Their goal was to stop nations from nuclear testing. The movement brought 50,000 women in 60 different cities together in protest. Coretta Scott King served as the organization’s delegate to an international disarmament conference in 1962. The public pressure brought by these women and the near-disaster of the Cuban Missile crisis helped bring the Soviet Union, United Kingdom and U.S. together to sign the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, prohibiting nuclear testing underwater, in outer space and in the atmosphere in 1963. This marked the beginning of a series of hard-won international agreements that have helped prevent nuclear war since the 1960s.

Bella Abzug framed the nuclear issue as a women’s issue in saying “… We are entitled to our shared economic resources of the country. We are entitled to equal pay for comparable work … We are entitled to have some hope for our family with a decent environment. We are permanently entitled to world peace, which is the only way in which we can rebuild and restructure this society to make it for all people.”

These words ring true for our time. In 2021, women are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic in lost wages and increased responsibilities for childcare, education, and emotional support for stressed kids. While our predominantly male Congress has debated the country’s ability to afford childcare subsidies, extended unemployment benefits, child tax credits and support to reopen schools safely, our government spends approximately $67.5 billion per year on nuclear weapons. At the same time, the world has become less safe from nuclear weapons as international agreements have ended and diplomacy has been hollowed out and denigrated by the Trump administration.

There are hopeful signs as the Biden administration has recommitted efforts to end the nuclear threat by already negotiating an extension of the New START Treaty with Russia, reviving efforts to negotiate with Iran over nuclear weapons, and committing to reduced U.S. expenditures on nuclear weapons of annihilation. Notably, Biden has nominated several women to senior positions that involve nuclear non-proliferation including Bonnie Jenkins as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and Mallory Stewart as Senior Director for Arms Control and National Non-Proliferation for the National Security Council. These appointments are historic in nature for appointing women to top positions who have spent their careers working for peace, security and nuclear non-proliferation.

Let’s have Women’s History Month in 2021 be a time for women (and men) commit to making history by working for a world that is safe from nuclear weapons and a world where resources are committed to life-affirming programs and policies. This means supporting, expecting and demanding that the new administration meet and exceed its commitments to quell the threat of nuclear war. Visit and or to learn more and take action.

March 26, 2021 - Posted by | General News

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: