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News in brief of an announced meeting

vendredi 25 octobre 2002, par Josefina Gamboa

During the 9th meetings of Awid that took place in Guadalajara, Mexico, from the 3rd to the 6th of October 2002, the organizers did not hesitate to denounce the lack of investment that has followed the last international commitments, aswell as militarization and the decision to lead the world to war. The campaign Globalize this was introduced during the Press Conference.
A declaration against war in Irak has gathered all the participants under the same willing of fighting violence. Meanwhile, the participants haunted the corridors, eager to have their voices heard. With different opinions, some critical, they all had proposals to make.

En français

At the Awid Forum, the content, level of interventions as well as the opinions expressed, were just as varied as the nationalities of the participants. Many of these participants were clearly joyous at being able to share this meeting with women who act in favor of their rights, who fight to have their voices heard and who also represent those who do not have the opportunity to attend. Some of the participants pleasantly acknowledged that there is a much larger participation of young women and women who work at a local and popular level than the have seen in the precedent forums.

One idea, shared by most, was the ’healing’ in knowing that all of the women of the world, regardless of their cultural differences, face the same problems and risks. This sort of discussion area represents for some, a precious opportunity to try to find common solutions together. A couple of participants took the opportunity to condemn the notion that these meetings are oftentimes elitist, excluding women from all backgrounds and therefore the exchange of different experiences.

What’s New ?

For many, the issues discussed seem to repeat from one meeting to another, as if the feminist movement lacks something new to talk about. Once again, several new strategies and proposals did not see the light of day. Lines of action were pushed even further down on the waiting list. Some pointed out that ’we should stop talking for those who are experienced’ and instead stress the importance of successful methods of training geared toward the working classes.

Latin Americans were satisfied with the level of debate, even if the poor number of contributors from their region disappointed them. The participants from Milenio Feminista of Mexico were proud to see that their country brought innovative suggestions in several different domains, notably tackling the sensitive question of funding.

Although the quality of the expositions varied, those who are more familiar with international meetings of the feminist movement agreed that this meeting was made exceptional by the strength of the questions asked. ’It is the participants and not the contributors who brought the most reflection to the meeting’, admitted some attendees. Many of the participants, including Africans, worried about the production of actions.

Moreover, some were profoundly shocked to find that among the official brochures of the Forum, booklets of propaganda from international institutions such as the World Bank, FMI and OMC. Although these institutions are undoubtedly linked to the future of women’s movements, for some participants it seemed inadmissible to present them as allies, for they are among the most visible targets of women’s criticism.

Uncertain advancements

Follow-up seems to be a key point for the majority. ’We haven’t yet succeeded as feminists in giving adequate follow-up to international conferences, a fact that makes these exchanges sporadic and gets in the way of any real structuring of our motions’, claimed one participant. In fact, for many, the absence of spaces to hold a sort of horizontal debate- and not just ’contributors-audience’- seems a repeated error.

’These occasions should be for making decisions as a universal movement, and we are not able to do it.’ The only questions that seem to be partially moving forward are the general position for the next World Conference for Women of the UN in 2005, and the creation of an International Foundation for Women’s Solidarity, thus permitting groups to put pressure on governments.

In general, the enthusiasm and the will to analyze the principal concerns affecting women in each continent remains present and persistent in this 9th Forum of Awid. It still remains to structure the various movements so as to act concretely to change world order.

P.-S.

Monica Ledon and Josefina Gamboa - october 2002

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