About Us

Our Organization

WAW banner  Mabel  Barbara  Bertha 1 12 Occupy demo

Women Against War was founded in 2002 by a group of Capital District women who felt it was imperative to mobilize against the United States government’s plan to go to war with Iraq. Their call for action was answered by hundreds of area women committed to raising their voices against the impending violence. In the years since then, Women Against War has become a vital participant in the larger national and international peace and justice movement through its various projects and affiliations.

Our Purpose  

There is a core belief in our society that war is the answer to conflict.

Women Against War is based on the belief that war is not the answer to conflict and that women can lead the way to developing alternatives to violence.

We seek to bring the voices of women, their collective energy, and their unique skills to bear on peace and social justice issues.

Equal rights and opportunities for women are an essential requirement for creating a peaceful world. We seek to make ending violence against women a central concern of the peace movement.

We seek to educate people about the special impact of war and violence on women and children.

We work to empower women with a commitment to peace to participate in foreign policy decisions so that the United States addresses conflicts from a peacemaking perspective. This perspective must be in accord with international law and must respect human rights.

We recognize that peacemaking is hard work and requires great courage.

We seek to find ways to honor peacemakers and join our voices and energies with theirs.

Our Structure

Membership June 13 09 event cards & crowd Hazel

Women Against War members are women who have become part of our network by joining the Women Against War list serv. To join, click here [link to the Contact section of the website]. Members are active in our projects and attend our Annual Meeting to help the organization make decisions; to suggest, initiate, organize, and participate in projects; to assist in management of organizational tasks; and to select members of the Steering Committee. Decisions in Women Against War are made by consensus whenever possible.

Steering Committee

Since December 2006, Women Against War’s activities have been coordinated by a seven-person Steering Committee. A coordinator oversees the committee’s activity. Committee members are selected for two-year terms, which can be renewed. The committee manages organizational needs, undertakes long-range planning, and makes decisions about proposed actions and issues, seeking input from members where appropriate. Decisions are made by consensus whenever possible.

Steering Committee Members As of February, 2017

Kate photo for Steering CommitteeKate Cavanaugh

Committee Member since November of 2015

Having protested war and weapon sales for many years through organizations such as Witness for Peace, I took part in the Women’s Fast for Peace, when Women Against War joined with many other peace activists in opposing the start of the war in Iraq.  I became part of the Steering Committee in 2015 and am also a member of the Iran Project.  I’ve been consistently inspired by the many impressive women of peace I’ve met through Women Against War.

Priscilla FairbankPF photo Feb 2014, square version

Committee Member since February 2014

I first learned about Women Against War from my participation with the Muslim Solidarity Committee’s efforts to support local Muslims who had been unjustly targeted.  I have been involved with WAW, particularly the Iran Project group, since traveling to Iran in December 2007 as part of a citizens’ peace delegation with Fellowship of Reconciliation.

DSCN1977 Elaine Klein, SCElaine Klein

Committee member since January 2014

Elaine Klein has taught college English for 20 years, and is a mother, grandmother, aunt, and peace activist with various groups, including Women Against War, Peace Action, Schenectady Neighbors for Peace, and J Street. She has been active with the League of Women Voters, and has taught immigrants English for Literacy Volunteers.

SrFrancineDempsey Sister Francine Dempsey

Committee member since August 2013
Sharing the seat with Sister Doreen Glynn

“I’ve been a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for 56 years. I’ve always found ways to work for peace and justice. Ministries: taught American Studies and English at College of St. Rose; worked with recovering addicts with Father Peter Young; was parish pastoral associate; did jail ministry and ran a peace and justice office in Syracuse. I was arrested once at the Seneca Army Depot. Enjoying retirement.”

IMG_5124 Maud at annual meeting, 2013 Maud Easter

Steering Committee Coordinator since 2006, develops meeting agendas for the Afghan Project, the Iran Project, and Grannies for Peace

“I’ve been an activist for women’s empowerment and a peaceful U.S. foreign policy since the 1960s, so Women Against War is the perfect fit. I’ve been active in WAW since its beginning in 2002.

SrDoreen Sister Doreen Glynn

Committee member since August 2013
Sharing the seat with Sister Francine Dempsey

“I’m a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet. I currently serve as the justice coordinator for the Albany Province of my congregation. Throughout my life I’ve worked with and for the poor and advocated for justice. For more than 35 years I’ve been a prison volunteer, and I’m currently a volunteer chaplain in the Albany County Correctional Facility. I’m also a member of the New York Coalition of Religious Congregations to Stop Trafficking of Persons, and a board member of Joseph House in Troy and of the NGO Partnership for Global Justice––and now, Women Against War.”

2014-02-12 10 16 52 (2) Marcia for SC Marcia Hopple

Committee member for several years, coordinator of Iran Project.  Just retired from the SC in February 2017 to be replaced by Joan Thornhill.

“I joined Women Against War from the start, helping to organize the Women’s Fast for Peace to protest the march to war with Iraq. The Iran Project has been a great learning experience about Iran and about the ways women can work together for peace.”

IMG_5123 Elizabeth Spencer, annual meeting, 2013Elizabeth Spencer

Committee member since October 2012, member of Iraqi Refugee Project

General bio: I have lived and worked in Albany for 8.5 years. I have worked for over 20 years as an Conservation Biologist/Ecologist first in Wisconsin and now for the NY Natural Conservancy. This work focuses on identifying and assessing biodiversity, rare species and natural communities throughout the state of NY in the context of gathering, synthesizing, interpreting and disseminate data and information about biodiversity and ecosystems to aid in their conservation and ecological management through NY state.

WAW related: I became involved with WAW to participate in locally based, tangible, on-the-ground work related to my interest in and passion for peace and global social justice. I have been involved with Women Against War’s Iraq Refugee Project (IRP) core group for over 3 years.  Working with the other core group members in 2011 and 2012, I co-organized  two “Know your rights workshops” for Iraq Refugees in the Capital Region.  Working with other members I have staffed various WAW events, and again worked with the core group of IRP to bring Becca Heller to the Albany to present her “Iraqi Refugee, An Ongoing Crisis, A Broken Obligation” talk at the Albany School of Pharmacy and interview segment with Joe Donahue on the round table.

Most Recent Previous Steering Committee Members

woodsSaira Khan

Committee member from January 2014 to September 2015

Saira Khan is a Master of Public Administration student at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany. She has been involved with several social justice organizations. Saira left the Steering Committee in August of 2015,  when she finished her degree and moved to New York City to work as a Budget Analyst in the NYC Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.

JeanneJeanne Finley

Committee member from October 2012 through January, 2014

“I’m a writer, editor, and photographer who joined WAW in 2002. In 2006 I began to work on the issue of unjust Muslim prosecutions, and have now ‘come back’ to WAW, finding that a commitment to civil liberties is a vital part of working in the larger arena for peace and justice.”

Marwa ElbiallyMarwa Elbially, Esq.

Committee member from October 2012 through December 2013

“I graduated from Albany Law School in 2010. As president of the Muslim Law Students Association there, I organized to help raise awareness of issues related to Muslims and civil liberties. I’ve continued this effort by working with the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms (NCPCF) and by serving as a board member of Women Against War and the local chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union.”

Linda at Good Friday Linda LeTendre

Committee member from November 2011 through December 2013

“I have been a woman against war for more decades than I care to remember at this point. I am a semi-retired social worker with a specialty in developmental disabilities. Some of my heroes are the Freedom Riders of the 1960s and Fr. Daniel Berrigan, SJ.”

Our Meetings

The WAW Annual Meeting is held each fall and is open to the public. It’s a celebration of WAW’s accomplishments over the past year, an opportunity to meet other like-minded community activists, and a chance to begin and remake friendships and commitments to peace. At the Annual Meeting we also honor an outstanding woman for her activism and peacemaking with the Woman of Peace Award. Along with discussion of regular business and plans for what we want to accomplish in the next year, the Annual Meeting features speakers on pertinent topics and plenty of food and goodwill.

Annual Meeting, December 3, 2012

Marwa speaking

Marwa Elbially

Held at Friends’ Meeting House, this was also WAW’s 10th anniversary celebration. Organizational business included inauguration of three new steering committee members and the formation of a new project to investigate the uses and abuses of drones. The featured speaker was Steering Committee member Marwa Elbially on “Old Tricks, New Toys,” how the government uses the same old tricks of cultural ignorance to justify waging war, but with incredible new technology. The first Woman of

Connie Houde

Connie Houde

Peace award was presented to Connie Frisbee Houde, departing Steering Committee member and member of WAW’s Afghan Project, for her tireless advocacy as a global village photographer and peacemaker for the women and people of Afghanistan and the world. Read more about Connie here and here.

Annual Meeting, November 14, 2013

Our 2013 Annual Meeting was held on Thursday, November 14 at 5:30 PM at St. Andrews Episcopal Church, 10 North Main Ave. at the corner of Madison Ave., Albany

Rachel Smolker

Rachel Smolker

Featured speaker: Rachel Smolker, on “Bombs, Bases and Biofuels: The Pentagon and

Global Warming.” Rachel Smolker is co-director of Biofuelwatch, an organizer with Energy Justice Network, and works with the Mobilization for Climate Justice and with Climate Justice Now.

Presentation of the Woman of Peace Award to Pat Beetle, longtime WAW member and tireless activist for peace and justice.
IMG_5812 (2) Pat holding the center

Our Projects

Download WAW’s brochure here (PDF).