Women who joined the League of Nations and the early United Nations were often motivated to join out of a desire to promote peace. Having just gotten out of World War One and World War Two, respectively, many women and men alike believed that having more women in international organizations would exert a moderating and peaceful influence over the bodies. But as their numbers grew in both the League of Nations and the United Nations, the women of both organizations did more than promote peace. They began to lay the groundwork for women arond the world to become more involved in politics on all levels.
"I myself had always believed that women might have a better chance to bring about the understanding necessary to prevent future wars if they could serve in sufficient numbers in these international bodies."--Eleanor Roosevelt
UNOG Library Catalog
UN Archives and Records Management (New York)
At the formation of the League of Nations, women's organizations were one of the major influencers of the League. Many women's groups were so invested in the League that the International Women's Suffrage Association wrote to the Secretary General to suggest a woman be appointed to the Secretariat to act as a liaison between the League and women's organizations around the world. The IWSA even recommended Anna Wicksell of Sweden be appointed to the position, whom the group noted was "a good feminist." However, in their correspondence, Secretary-General Eric Drummond and Dame Rachel Crowdy agreed that being a liaison to women's organizations would not occupy all of Wicksell's time, and therefore was not a practical position for her or anyone else to hold. Newspaper columnist Constance Drexel later suggested the liaison also take on a study of women in politics in each of the member countries. Although one was never appointed, this question of choosing someone to be a liaison to women's organizations illustrates the strong interest these groups had in the activities of the League of Nations.
These organizations were active during the time of the League of Nations, and many even before that. They interacted with the League and many influenced decisions made at the League of Nations. These organizations outlasted the League and have continued to work on the advancement of the rights of women to today.