TODAY marks the 100th anniversary of the International Women’s Congress when a Scottish women’s rights leader joined hundreds of others to make a stand against the First World War.

Chrystal MacMillan, a feminist and peace activist from Edinburgh, travelled to the Netherlands, encouraging woman’s rights groups from 26 different countries to come together on April 28, 1915.

The conference attracted women involved in suffragette organisations from neutral and warring countries, coming together over their disgust at the ongoing war, which began the previous year.

Over 1100 women from 12 different countries made it to the conference at The Hague, with people travelling from as far as the USA to attend.

Due to the government denying hundreds of passports to UK women applying to travel to the event, only three made it across the water to Holland, risking their lives by sailing across a sea declared as a battle zone.

Churchill dubbed them the “dangerous women”. The newspapers of the time ridiculed them, attacking them for speaking out during a time of war.

But 100 years later, the organisation they founded has grown to become the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), and the lives of those women who made the journey will be celebrated this afternoon.

WILPF members and supporters from all over the world will meet today for a three-day conference in the same Dutch city, aiming to form a new peace agenda for the next 100 years.

Scottish-born MacMillan was key in writing the original “peace agenda”, the twenty resolutions of the International Women’s Congress.

The proposals outlined what actions could be taken to achieve peace, urging the warring governments to begin negotiations based on the principles of justice and conciliation.

The IWC also recommended a change to democratic control of foreign policy, supported by a voting system where men and women are viewed as equal.

A graduate of Edinburgh University, MacMillan had long fought for the right to vote for women, even taking the university to court.

Although she lost, MacMillan went all the way to the House of Lords making her case, and gained many plaudits along the way.

At the end of the conference in 1915, MacMillan was elected as part of a five-person team, taking their message and proposals to the leaders of 14 European countries, speaking at public meetings and assemblies along the way.

Coinciding with the anniversary of the conference, Glasgow council yesterday unveiled a memorial for all those who opposed the First World War.

The black granite stone will be placed near the People’s Palace in Glasgow Green, commemorating the role protestors played in promoting social justice.

The inscription on the memorial reads: “In memory of those who opposed WW1 in order to challenge the purpose of the war and the waste of lives. They also campaigned for social and economic justice and against the exploitation of those who lived in the city during the war.”

In 1914, just days after Britain declared war on Germany, 5,000 people protested as part of a peace demonstration on Glasgow Green.

The protests organised by the Independent Labour Party happened throughout the war but were largely ignored by the same press that attacked the female activists who attempted the journey to The Hague.

Edith Ballantyne, who was secretary general of WILPF for 23 years, said: “It was significant that women from so many countries came together with a highly political aim.

“While women had been organising in the International Suffrage Alliance, the peace women recognised that the vote alone was not enough, that women had to take a stand.”

Ballantyne said she was delighted that the organisation had made it to this landmark century year, but added: “100 years later, we have not stopped war, and in fact we face many wars. So it’s both a great and sad day.”