The symbol of the 1980 Women's Pentagon Action,
by artist Bonnie Acker


Pam McAllister on the Women's Pentagon Action

Author activist Pam McAllister on the Women’s Pentagon Action at
Activists With Attitude
, thoughts on courage and creativity:
"In November 1980 and again in ‘81, women gathered at the Pentagon to mourn, rage, empower, and defy, in a pageant-like demonstration that combined rational thought with deep emotion."

The Women's Pentagon Action 'revisited' -- 2016

"We are gathering at the Pentagon on November 17 because we fear for our lives. We fear for the life of this planet, our Earth, and the life of our children who are our human future..."
from the UNITY STATEMENT of the Women's Pentagon Action, 1980

On November 15, 2016, women in Western Massachusetts and beyond remembered this historic women's peace action. Just a week after the watershed election, we looked at war, violence and the challenges at home.

We marked the 36th anniversary of the November 16-17, 1980 Women’s Pentagon Action, when after a day of workshops and discussion, 2,000 women surrounded the Pentagon, demanding peace, justice and conversion from weapons of war to meeting human needs.

This year's internet action 'surrounded' and confronted the Pentagon with statements and video messages from women activists. Presented at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, it is available worldwide through posting on this website and internet platforms. This project is on-going, and additional reports will be added.

"The Women's Pentagon Action Revisited" is the first public event in the US of the Women and Life on Earth Internet Project. It was made possible by our fiscal sponsor, the Traprock Center for Peace & Justice, and the UMass-Amherst Special Collections and University Archives.

Our program, with texts to download and talks on YouTube:

Part 1: The Women’s Pentagon Action, November 1980: then and now

Welcome by:
Anna Gyorgy for the WLOE Internet Project: (download text)
Patricia Hynes, Director Traprock Center for Peace & Justice (co-sponsor):
"For myself and the Traprock Center for Peace and Justice in western Massachusetts, I want to convey that our partnership with Women and Life on Earth and collaboration on the women’s Pentagon Action 2016 has been strengthening and amplifying of our work.
     We are feminists; we are advocates, educators and activists for peace; we know that the Doomsday Clock has been moved from 5 to 3 minutes to midnight because of the twin threats to life on Earth from climate change and nuclear weapons.
     Our partnership fortifies our resolve to work on behalf of a world that values and sustains human life and, equally, the web of life within which we live."

Why the Women's Pentagon Action in 1980?

Original song by Sarah Pirtle and friends: see the video, download the lyrics

Reading of the Women's Pentagon Action Unity Statement video
(download text)

Archival material courtesy of the Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College

Where are we now?

Paula Green, Karuna Center for Peacebuilding:
"Despair to Empowerment in Our Watershed Moment"
(text) video: Part 1
Part 2

On December 7, 2016, Paula Green gave an updated version of this talk In Northampton, MA. Read this new version here. And a local press report:
"Leverett activist: Trump presidency calls for 'shift of consciousness'

Part 2: Reports from 'the field'

Miltarization of society: Energy war at home -- report from Standing Rock, North Dakota (Paki Wieland with Grandmothers from the Standing Rock camp -- coming)

Priya Ghosh, Coalition to End Rape Culture, UMass-Amherst: Report on the anti-sexual and gender-based violence movement Part 1
Part 2

The Movement for Black Lives  statement: "A Cut in US Military Expenditures and A Reallocation of those Funds to Invest in Domestic Infrastructure and Community Wellbeing" (download, 7 p.)   From A Vision for Black Lives Platform

Part 3: War and Climate Disruption

Patricia Hynes, Director, Traprock Center: The full text is now online here: "War and Warming: Can we Save the Planet without taking on the Pentagon?"
(and see the original video part 1 and part 2)

Part 4: National and international voices, with more coming


On violence, war and gender: message from Cynthia Cockburn, longtime London-based Women in Black peace activist, researcher and author (video)
(download text here)


(c) Ellen Shub

Testimony: Mina Hamilton on weaving the doors of the Pentagon shut:
On Being a Weaver: Memories of the Women's Pentagon Action,
November 17, 1980
(download text here)