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Forum Social Européen

Where is the space for women’s perspectives in the formulation of a Europe of alternatives ?

vendredi 8 novembre 2002, par Malin Björk

Glancing quickly through the programme at the European Social forum (ESF) one must conclude that there are very few workshops specifically highlighting women’s perspectives or a feminist analysis, and women are also highly under represented as speakers in both the plenaries and the seminars. In order to give specific visibility to women’s resistance and analysis the World March of women held a press conference on the first day of the Forum.
After having had to wait for the excited press to finish with Dario Fo, the podium was finally theirs. Although most of the cameras and reporters left the room following the Italian Nobel Prize winner, quite a number of journalists, mostly form alternative press, were present. By their very different focus areas, the women panel speakers gave an idea of the role of feminism and women’s movement at the ESF, ranging from trade unionist women’s struggles, to younger feminist academic articulation of feminism, and migrant women’s activism, as well as the global fight against all forms of violence against women. The different perspectives of the panel speakers gave a small illustration to the fact that women’s analysis and realities are relevant in all political struggles highlighted at the Forum.
Nadia De Mond from the European Women’s March explained that the strategy in relation to the Forum organisation had been to try to integrate women’s perspectives into as many other areas as possible while at the same time ensuring specific feminist spaces. One can maybe consider that the success is limited but acceptable from both viewpoints. There is nothing new in the under-representation of women’s voices, and the relative rejection of feminist analysis. But with the new dynamics in the alternative globalisation movement one would maybe have expected that these barriers were becoming obsolete. So many other divides between different movements and struggles are slowly being bridged within the movement. A critical analysis of the links, and how to create more space for women and feminist analysis will without doubt form part of the discussion of feminists attending this the first ESF.

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