Archive for the ‘Women’s Event’ Category

Women from a dozen countries convened in New York last week to share their struggles to implement state legislation and empower women at the grassroots level to put an end to gender- based violence (GBV) worldwide.

Hosted by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Nov. 4-5 high-level consultation entitled ‘Delivering as One on Violence Against Women: From Intent to Action’ addressed the triumphs and tribulations of the Inter-Agency Task Force’s pilot programme on GBV.

Since Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched ‘UNiTE to End Violence Against Women’ in 2006, various U.N. agencies, civil society organisations and national coalitions have taken up the struggle, with renewed vigour.

The pilot programme, launched in Burkina Faso, Rwanda, Jamaica, Paraguay, Chile, Fiji, Jordan, Yemen, Kyrgyzstan and the Philippines, was based on the supposition that greater cohesion across regions and between organisations was needed to yield the greatest benefits for women’s security. The pilot sought to connect multiple stakeholders through joint programming in the 10 countries.

“We have to first turn victims into survivors and then into activists and advocates. … You have to put the issue of VAW [violence against women] within the context of women’s low status in the world and of women being treated like disposable commodities. To challenge that perception, you have to challenge the very foundation of patriarchy.”

“The joint programme allows stakeholders to jointly assess progress and decide what has worked and what has not. They allow multi-sectoral approaches to addressing issues that are often dealt with by a single entity”.

Virtually every participant echoed this sentiment and expressed dissatisfaction with the bureaucratic nature of competing U.N. agencies that often replicate each other’s work and fail to pool their efforts effectively.

The two-day consultation covered a lot of ground, touching on everything from Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGM/C) to the engagement of men and boys in ending GBV, and ended with several positive conclusions.

Representatives from each of the pilot countries discussed experiences across a range of regional, religious and cultural realms, highlighting the successes of the programme.

In Rwanda, this initiative led to the creation of the ‘Isange One-Stop Center’ based at the Police Hospital in Kigali, a shelter-cum-rehabilitation center for abused, battered women.

In Paraguay, several leaps were taken towards bringing issues of GBV and VAW into the mainstream, including a manual for journalists, round-table discussions at the national level on trafficking of women and children, and workshops for media personnel involved in TV and radio programming.

In Jamaica, an after-school programme focused on educating young men on the importance of working in solidarity with women towards ending violence. Boys came up with slogans like “Abusers are losers” and “Don’t fight it out, talk it out.”

This is a tremendous step for youth in a country that is saturated in the culture of ‘dance hall’ music, which posits women as sex objects and binds male identity to images of aggression, violence and masculinity.

Tom Minerson, executive director of the Toronto-based White Ribbon campaign, referred to the “disadvantages of the advantages of being a man.” According to Minerson, educating young men on the harmful effects of the system of male power and privilege can transform gender identities and generate compassion and an enlightened sense of self for men.

But despite a few victories dotting the battlefield on which women wage a daily struggle for respect, equality and survival, the overall picture is still extremely grim.

Every single country reported a host of barriers to broader implementation of the pilot programme, including consistent lack of funds, disorganisation within U.N. agencies, cultural and governmental blockades – particularly in Asia, Africa and the Middle East – and low awareness on a national level.

Pamela Averion, the national programme officer for UNFPA in the Philippines, discussed the disconnect between legislation and reality on the ground. Although the Gender Development Index in the Philippines for 2010 was 99.6 percent of the Human Development Index, 90 percent of reported pregnancies were unwanted and ended in abortion.

And although the Philippines ranks 59th out of 108 countries on the gender empowerment measure, men dominate 90 percent of all political positions in the country.

The Philippines emerged 9th out of 134 countries in a study on the global gender gap, but one out of every five women experienced gender-related domestic violence and almost half of those women believed that husbands were justified in abusing their wives. These are only a few of countless disheartening yet unavoidable statistics. In Yemen, for example, a marriage bill was passed in 2008 making it illegal for girls under the age of 18 to be married. Imams across the country quickly collected over five million signatures of citizens opposed to such a constitutional change and the bill was quickly overturned.

Despite ongoing efforts by activists and ordinary women around the world, the road towards women’s equality looms interminably ahead. Women, and their male allies all over the world, are weary from the march, but cannot afford to drag their feet.

Part of a longer article at http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=53473

See also: Encouraging police to tackle violence against women in Rwanda

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As set by the United Nations, this year’s theme is “Equal rights, equal opportunity: Progress for all.”

While we here at GAB believe that equal rights for women should be celebrated every day, this particular event is a day for people to come together and blog about the progress of rights and opportunity for women worldwide.

Blog for IWD will take place on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2010. Please take a moment to sign up using the form here and you can also download a Blog for IWD graphic to let readers know you’re participating. We ask bloggers to think about any of the following questions in regards to the U.N.’s theme for IWD:

  • What does “equal rights for all” mean to you?
  • Would you describe a particular organization, person, or moment in history that helped to mobilize a meaningful change in equal rights forall?

Once you sign up, a link to your blog’s URL will appear on the Blog for IWD blog directory page. Also remember to tag your posts as “Blog for IWD” or “Blog for International Women’s Day” so that we can identify your posts!

At GAB we will live-blog throughout the day, highlighting some of your posts and what you have to say about “equal rights for all.”

For those who forget, we will also send out a reminder email about Blog for International Women’s Day a few days before March 8, 2010 when you check the box on the sign up form. By participating in this event, you are taking action in equal rights for all. So, what are you waiting for?

Thanks in advance for signing up. Please feel free to tell your blogger friends about Blog for International Women’s Day! The official site for Blog for IWD is http://genderacrossborders.com/blogforiwd.

If you have any questions about Blog for IWD, contact myself or our general email, info@genderacrossborders.com.

Sincerely,

Emily and the rest of the GAB editorial board
Gender Across Borders, a global feminist blog

See also:
* International Women’s Day 2010 events and statement in the UK and Ireland
* InternationalWomensDay.com Is NOT The “Official” IWD Website!

Arab women are more likely to win political rights than secure personal and civil status rights, said participants at an international conference on Arab feminism, held at the American University of Beirut Oct 4-7, 2009.

Attracting a strong turn-out that was overwhelmingly female, the conference was organized by the Lebanese Association of Women Researchers, Bahithat, in partnership with The Anis Makdisi Program in Literature (AMPL), the Women and Memory Forum in Cairo, the Department of Women’s Studies at Bir Zeit University, and the Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World in the United Kingdom.

The conference was introduced by Professor Maher Jarrar who heads AMPL.

Najla Hamadeh, a former AUB professor of philosophy, said that Arab tradition does not denigrate the humanity of women, as is reflected by the Arabic language. For instance, she said, the Arabic word ‘insaan’ [human] is used for both genders, unlike Western languages which often use “man” to denote human beings. On the other hand, Arabic terms for sex with a woman can be disrespectful of women, said Hamadeh.

“This explains why women do not have family and civil status rights, although they can obtain political rights,” added Hamadeh.

Religion and religious interpretation, too, have contributed to restrictions on women’s freedoms, she said.

Hamadeh suggested to activists to push for women’s family rights before pushing for their political rights. “Studies have shown that a woman’s happiness is closely linked to her wellbeing as a mother,” she said. “If a woman doesn’t have rights with respect to her children, she’s not happy.”

Some participants said that the absence of a unified Arab feminist movement was attributed to a historical preoccupation for fighting colonialism, occupation, and pushing for regime change. However, others argued that the Arab feminist movement does not necessarily have to be unified in order to achieve tangible results. It only needs to converge and collaborate on specific themes.

Keynote speaker, Mervat Hatem, president of the Middle East Studies Association and a political science professor at Howard University in Washington DC, mapped out the future of Arab feminism, noting that both Arab states and religious groups have curtailed the progress of the movement.

Hatem argued that while secular regimes, such as the Baath regimes of Syria and Iraq, and Arab nationalism in Egypt and Tunisia, had expanded women’s rights to education, public work and political participation, these rights were confined to middle and upper class women. “In exchange for these formal rights, middle and upper class women have remained silent about the needs of working class women,” said Hatem. “These states presented themselves … as socially progressive although their political authoritarianism could not be doubted.”

Moreover, Hatem said that “the rise of political Islam and its successful re-Islamization of the discourses of many Arab societies have been viewed with hostility and suspicion by secular and nationalist elites, feminists and intellectuals.”

Nevertheless, this “does not justify the objectionable language used by some secular feminists to denigrate and devalue the Muslim women who have chosen to return to the modest and conservative Islamic mode of dress,” she added.

In fact, Hatem said that the modernization discourse had, for a long time, “convinced many Muslim women that Islam is an obstacle in the struggle for women’s liberation.”
Moreover, this discourse had claimed that “the only way they could achieve equal rights is through secularism which marginalized Islam as the source of gender inequality in divorce inheritance, marriage and testimony in court,” she said.
But “Islamic feminism lays this argument to rest,” she said. “It makes an important distinction between the religious texts and the male interpretations that have dominated our understanding of the Islamic tradition… It is possible to be simultaneously opposed to the political project of Islamism which is the creation of a religious/Islamic state, but to support the project of Islamic feminism.”

As for Zeina Zaatari, who is currently the senior program officer for the Middle East and North Africa at the Global Fund for Women, her presentation prompted a loud round of applause, after she called for pushing for women’s sexual and reproductive rights and advocating for women as human beings, not just as mothers and wives.

Several other topics were discussed during the conference. These included feminist expression in Arab fine arts, modernizing Koranic interpretations, colonial feminism, examples from various Arab countries, and Islamic feminism.

http://www.albawaba.com/en/countries/UAE/254858

See also:
* Academics from around globe assess state of feminism in Arab world
* Academics, activists and researchers gathered at the American University of Beirut (AUB) Wednesday for the third and last day of a major conference to discuss Arab feminisms.

Participants at the International Congress on Islamic Feminism emphasized different obstacles to their work for women’s rights, including a rise in political Islam and fundamentalism, along with U.S. foreign policies.

At one point during the third gathering of the International Congress on Islamic Feminism, Arifa Mazhar grew tired of talking about religion.

“Instead of debating Islam, we should be debating culture and its impact,” she burst out at a microphone during a discussion after one of the sessions. “Culture is so conservative in some tribal areas. Women can’t move around; they can’t work. There are a lot of social taboos and tribal traditions that oppress women and they have little to do with Islam.”

And the principles of local courts and councils are so deeply entrenched that women accept them because they don’t know their rights, she added.

Mazhar is the manager of gender issues for the Sungi Development Foundation, a nongovernmental group that has been working in the northwestern province of Pakistan for 15 years.

But for all her focus on culture, she knows the importance of working within an Islamic framework.

Mazhar and colleagues develop rural women’s employment prospects through initiatives such as micro-credit and helping them organize collectives to talk over public health and social issues such as water supplies.

In the past few years, she says that when she and her colleagues spoke about women’s rights from the human rights perspective, they were increasingly accused of participating in a Western agenda.

With the rise in religious extremism and growing antagonism among ordinary Muslims against the West–largely a response to U.S. interventionist policies abroad–secular, Western-style feminists in countries such as Pakistan are increasingly seen as U.S. agents and regarded with suspicion and distrust.

“Don’t tell us how it’s done in the West, we have our own culture and religion” is the common response.

“After 15 years of work we have realized that we should incorporate the egalitarian messages of the Quran into our grassroots work,” Mazhar said.

The International Congress on Islamic Feminism was started by the Islamic Council of Catalonia (Spain) in 2005. Its founder and director is a man called Abdennur Prado, who is also the secretary of the Islamic Council of Spain. The congress is sponsored by British Council, the government of Spain, the European Institute of the Mediterranean region and the Catalonian Islamic Council.

At its third gathering in Barcelona in late October, participants confirmed what other meetings–along with other activists and scholars–have been saying about the primacy of an Islamic framework for their efforts.

The meeting also brought out appeals from some activists for a reversal of U.S. military interventions in the Middle East.

Musdah Mulia, a progressive Islamic scholar from Indonesia, received the U.S. State Department’s International Women of Courage Award in 2007 at a ceremony presided over by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. “When Mrs. Rice asked me what she can do to help my country, I answered, ‘Just stop violence as a way of dealing with Muslim countries,'” Mulia said in an interview.

Asma Barlas, a Pakistani-born scholar on Islamic feminism, was among the most vocal about the need for a more progressive and non-patriarchal interpretation of Islam’s holy book. “The Quran has been privatized by a handful of men, mostly Arabs, who decide how we should relate to God,” she said while addressing the congress. Sharia religious law and fatwas are decided and issued by grand muftis or ayatollas of the Middle East countries, and all of them are men.

Female Islamic scholars are a rare find these days, especially in Muslim societies, but it was not always so. In his independent research, scholar Mohammad Akram Nadwi has discovered 8,000 female scholars who transmitted and interpreted the hadith–the deeds and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad–and even made Islamic law as jurists throughout history.

“Muslim feminists face a dual mandate,” said Barlas, “to challenge the substandard status of women living under Islamic laws and to challenge the belief spread outside of the Muslim world that Islam and Muslims are not competent to compete fully in the global movement for democracy, social justice and equality.”

Souad Eddouada, a Moroccan gender scholar, echoed concerns about cultural conservatism as she discussed the difficulties of implementing Morocco’s progressive 2004 family law, which was hard-fought by several national women’s rights groups.

The law, influenced by progressive Quranic interpretations of gender equality and domestic harmony, instituted several significant changes. These included raising the marriage age of women to 18 and abolishing the notion of a marital obligation of obedience toward husbands, known as “ta’a” and imposed by a traditionalist view of the Sharia. Joint decision-making between spouses is encouraged in the reformed law.

“There is a lot of resistance, especially in rural areas,” said Souad. “The law and its language is not relevant to every woman in the country. It is more suited to educated, urban women.”

Eddouada also downplayed another sign of progress–the fact that 50 Moroccan women are taught each year to be mosque preachers–as mainly symbolic. She says the women express conservative ideas and are very much controlled by the male clergy.

Other scholars agreed that comparable progress in North African and Persian Gulf countries is hindered by social resistance, showing that grassroots work is needed to assist progressive laws and policies.

Norani Othman is a board member of Sisters in Islam, a leading Muslim women’s rights group in Malaysia, where a rise in political Islam and religious fundamentalism swayed the government in 1988 to elevate Sharia religious courts and give them equal status with civil courts to handle family matters. Most Malaysian states now have Sharia-infused marital laws.

Sisters in Islam has been trying hard to reform one particular issue–polygamy–which is allowed with restrictions to Muslims in Malaysia.

“But we have come to the wall with this issue,” said Othman.

She says Islamist political forces that focus on increasing religion’s role in shaping the nation-state use a campaign for full legal polygamy to expand their constituencies by attracting men who want to have more than one wife.

In response, Sisters in Islam decided it needed empirical evidence showing the negative effects of polygamy to reverse public opinion. The group is now conducting a survey and says some respondents are willing to speak publicly.

“We have eager respondents, especially among children of the first wives, who say the second marriage of their father has affected them on several levels, especially emotionally,” says Othman.

Fatou Sow, a women’s rights advocate from Senegal, says any important debate on outlawing polygamy is stymied by the political influence of extreme religious groups and strong local traditions.

“Local culture still gives a much higher status to married women, so women continue to agree to become second wives,” she says.

Margot Badran, a U.S. scholar of Islamic history and feminism, says Muslim activists are under attack from a range of conservatives, be they religious leaders, self-appointed community spokesmen, followers of political Islam or conservative Islamist women who promote patriarchal interpretations of Islam through Quran study groups.

Othman agrees. “Most of us are small, under-funded groups trying to fight against the tide, against the traditional Islamic interpretations.”

—————————————————————
Nadira Artyk is a Brooklyn-based women’s rights advocate, journalist and media consultant. She was born and raised in Uzbekistan, Central Asia. Women’s eNews welcomes your comments. E-mail us at editors@womensenews.org.

http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm?aid=3848

From the south of Auckland to the southern Highlands of PNG, women of the Pacific claimed a historic moment at the opening of the 11th AWID International Forum at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in South Africa last month.

It was the first time they have gathered in numbers at any global forum since close to 100 delegates from all corners of the Pacific went to Beijing, China, in 1995 for the 4th United Nations World Conference on Women. 15 years later, less than half that number are attending this meeting; but given it’s on a much smaller scale – some 2,000 delegates compared to the 20,000 who went to China; the representation and talking spaces by the Pacific at this event is already encouraging for the younger Pacific women who are here.

Fiji’s Tara Chetty and Michelle Reddy, Tonga’s Ofa-ki-Levuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki and Papua New Guinea’s Maya Popul are amongst those keen to close the gap between the new generation of Pacific feminists and older women from the region who formed the early awareness of women’s rights as a social movement for change.

“I would hope that the movement for us back home anyway would be about mentoring young women because I think that’s the future for women,” says Popul, who is a board member for the YWCA in PNG. She says there’s a need for older women to give of their knowledge very generously to younger women. “Yes, there are a few barriers in there unfortunately but once we start embracing the mentoring of young women we’ll know what it means to grow a movement, and make it move on.”

Fiji Women’s Rights Director Virisila Buadromo sees the energy from the younger delegates as a positive part of the undercurrent of change running through gender equality work in the Pacific.

“We’re rejuvenating Pacific feminism. Currently, it needs some rejuvenation and nourishing and it’s important that young women get involved in this process,” says Buadromo.

“If we’re going to have any kind of movement in the Pacific; to be part of any change that’s social; the women’s movement and the feminist movement need to have solidarity.”

Tara Chetty, who is now with the FWRM, has been working closely with Noeleen Nabulivou from the Fiji-based Women’s Action for Change network. Like FemLINKpacific’s Sharon Rolls, who is part of a global women’s media training initiative targeting young women during AWID 08, Chetty has actively shaped input into the AWID program aimed at helping young women share their stories using a range of media.

Based on her experience at the last AWID in Bangkok two years ago, where Chetty says delegates from the Pacific met up during the meeting, and only while in the conference, she has used the internet to prepare delegates, share information and support AWID international committee member Noelene Nabulivou.

Together with DAWN activist Michelle Reddy, also of FWRM, they have managed a strong online discussion group of the Pacific delegates coming to South Africa sharing information, program and arrival details and ideas well in advance of arrival.

That networking and organising commitment to keep those in gender activism in the Pacific aware of others in the same field is welcomed by Buadromo who says it has helped broaden the Pacific presence at this event – where Pacific delegates can talk about rights for women without the usual backlash.

“Unfortunately in the pacific feminism is still considered the f word — people still identify themselves as women’s rights activists or defenders. They have all these different sorts of identities – and have to make the journey towards realising we are all working in one direction in their own time.”

Part of that journey involves claiming Pacific spaces on conferences such as AWID, and putting the rest of the world on notice that the Pacific advocates have arrived. United Nations ESCAP adviser Vanessa Griffin of Fiji, who is part of the AWID board of Directors along with New Zealand’s Marilyn Waring, says the higher profile and numbers for Pacific women at the global event bodes well for a Pacific impact on the program of events and speaker panels.

She says the AWID forum provides a chance for the Pacific delegates to “think and reflect; and connect with what’s important in the Pacific from your priorities.”

The overall ‘power of movements’ theme to AWID will allow women from the Pacific to talk about what movements mean for them, what movement building is, and how it can be done; in the same ways that women from other regions of the world are coming together to discuss the same issues.

“Having a large number of Pacific women allows you to think about that together because that is quite rare to have so many in one place such as this,” says Griffin.

The writer is part of the Pacific Delegation to the Association Of Women’s Rights In Development (AWID).

http://www.pacificmagazine.net/news/2008/11/16/south-africa-meeting-rejuvenates-pacific-feminism

See also:

Levelling Through Links – Empowering Grassroots Voices in Africa

Emphasising the centrality of consolidating links within the women’s movement in Africa, Carlyn Hambuba underlines the importance of involving grassroots women to ensure their voices be heard. With grassroots women increasingly sensitive to their own needs for representation, the author urges NGOs to refrain from simply speaking on behalf of others and to work towards the effective incorporation of local women into development debates.

Read the full comment at http://allafrica.com/stories/200812110657.html

From the 10 to the 13th of October was held the first pan-Canadian young feminist gathering, called “Waves of Resistance”. It was more than 500 young women who invaded the classrooms of UQAM for those 3 days to reaffirm the pertinence of feminism and to act collectively about issues like feminization of poverty, hypersexualization and racism, to name a few. The young feminists have even been invited to experiment radical cheerleading!

The energy emanating from those young feminists was worth the travel! The adoption of the pan-Canadian young feminists’ manifesto was the climax of the Gathering, this manifesto compiling and declaring their hopes, what they give and take of the actual system and what they propose to perpetuate the struggle to obtain equality between men and women. The manifesto is available on this website and will be used as a political tool for all the young feminists in their communities. For all those who think feminism is dead, the young feminists are far from silent!

http://www.rebelles2008.org/en/node

Manifesto of the Pan-Canadian Young Feminist Gathering

We are the young RebELLEs who have answered a feminist call and we are proud to call ourselves feminists. We recognize that there are multiple interpretations of feminism and we celebrate and integrate this diversity. We are committed to the continual expansion of the plurality of our voices. We are committed to an ongoing process of critical self-reflection to inform and transform our movement. We acknowledge the historical exclusion of “Othered” women by the majority Western feminist movement. We strive to learn from the past, honour the struggles of our foremothers and continue to dream for the future. We value the allies of feminism who support us in our fight for equity and justice.

We are women of diverse abilities, ethnicities, origins, sexualities, identities, class backgrounds, ages and races. Among us are employed, underemployed and unemployed women, mothers, students, dropouts, artists, musicians and women in the sex trade. We state that transfolks, two-spirited and intersexed people are integral to our movement and recognize and respect gender fluidity and support the right to self-identify. Our women-only spaces include everyone who self-identifies and lives as a woman in society.

We are told that feminism is over and outdated. If this were true then we wouldn’t need to denounce the fact that:

In reality, many of the demands of our feminist mothers and grandmothers remain unmet. Women continue to be the victims of sexual violence. Our communities are haunted by the silence that follows these assaults. Throughout Canada, in spite of our right to it, access to abortion services remains insufficient. Across Canada as well, colonized, marginalized, racialized and disabled women are coerced and/or forced to undergo unwanted or uninformed abortions, forced to use contraception and are subjected to forced sterilization. The hyper-sexualization of women in the media has taught us to view women as sexual objects rather than complete human beings. Getting off, lesbianism and being queer are taboo and a women’s choice to seek sexual pleasure is seen as negative. Our identities are eroded as we are taught, from the time we are children, and through television and magazines, that how we should look, dress, and act is determined by our sex. Violence is normalized, sexual abuse eroticized. Our sexual health education is inadequate and our reproductive rights are disrespected. Our needs are not being met.

In reality, women still represent the majority of the underprivileged. Our government steals children from poor and Aboriginal women. Capitalism exploits working-class women and confines middle- and upper-class women to “consumer” roles. We are told that equality has been achieved, but still the wage gap persists. Immigrant women are denied acknowledgment of their academic credentials and are forced to endure intolerable work environments in order to stay on Canadian soil. We lack affordable and accessible childcare. Women remain underpaid, underappreciated, and undervalued in the work force. We have gained the right to vote, yet gender-based discrimination keeps women virtually unrepresented in political office.

In this globalized world, we must construct international feminist solidarity. The actions of Canadian political and economic elites harm women around the world, and in a way that is specifically gender-related. War, genocide and militarization are characterized by the use of rape as a war weapon, femicide, and the sexual exploitation of thousands of our sisters. Free trade contributes to women’s increasing social, economic and cultural insecurity. In response to Canadian imperialism, we will globalize our feminist solidarity.

In this so-called post-feminist world, our roles in society are still defined by traditional views on gender. Religious and political forces aimed at maintaining the pillars of power in our society silence us from voicing our rights. We denounce the current rise of right-wing ideology in Canadian society and the steps backward in women’s rights that this has caused. We are being stripped of rights for which those who came before us fought hard. Geography marginalizes women, with remote, northern and rural women lacking access to basic services. Showing solidarity with our sisters means trying to understand all of the issues we face – including race, class and gender – and standing together against oppression.

Finally, we denounce the dismissal of the feminist movement as redundant. Our struggle is not over. We will be post-feminists when we have post-patriarchy.

Feminists Unite!

DOWN WITH the colonial legacy of genocide and assimilation of Aboriginal peoples, particularly of Aboriginal women
DOWN WITH the sexism and racism of the Indian Act
DOWN WITH dishonoured treaties
DOWN WITH assimilation
DOWN WITH racial profiling
DOWN WITH Canada’s fake multicultural policy
DOWN WITH warmongers & military power
DOWN WITH racist child welfare policies
DOWN WITH stereotypes in the media
DOWN WITH genocide and femicide
DOWN WITH stealing women and children
DOWN WITH COLONIALISM

RebELLEs AGAINST banks for hijacking the world
RebELLEs AGAINST drug companies for institutionalizing women’s health
RebELLEs AGAINST public spaces that don’t accommodate all bodies
RebELLEs AGAINST development that destroys nature
RebELLEs AGAINST the class system that keeps us impoverished and deprives us of safe, affordable housing
RebELLEs AGAINST the state that forces other countries to adopt the capitalist system
RebELLEs AGAINST the devaluation of women’s paid and unpaid work
RebELLEs AGAINST corporations for making money off our backs
RebELLEs AGAINST the advertisers who destroy our self- esteem and then sell it back to us
RebELLEs AGAINST CAPITALISM

RISE AGAINST the industries that cause us to hate our bodies and our sexuality
RISE AGAINST heterosexism that makes it seem that there is only one way of living, loving and being sexual
RISE AGAINST the socialization of children in gender binaries, race categories and colonial erasures
RISE AGAINST the education that reinforces the heteronormative nuclear family
RISE AGAINST the religious Right and its influence on State policy and legislation
RISE AGAINST rape and violence against women
RISE AGAINST the objectification and control of women’s bodies
RISE AGAINST all anti-choice bills, laws and strategies
RISE AGAINST the sexual division of labour
RISE AGAINST poverty and women’s economic disadvantage and dependency
RISE AGAINST income support programs based on family status instead of individual status
RISE AGAINST masculinists, their false claims and demagogic arguments
RISE AGAINST sexual exploitation
RISE AGAINST PATRIARCHY

We envision communities committed to:
-> Eradicating all forms of violence – including sexual, institutional, emotional, economic, physical, cultural, racial, colonial, ageist and ableist
-> Challenging all forms of oppression, power and privilege
-> Recognizing that others’ struggles against oppression cannot be separated from one’s own, because all people are intrinsically linked; and being conscious of how one fits into the different structures of oppression while fighting to eliminate them all
-> Freeing our children and ourselves from the gender binary
-> Building institutions and structures that promote the principles of Justice, Peace & Equality
-> Eliminating economic inequality
-> Funding and supporting affordable, accessible childcare, and the economic freedom to mother in the way we choose
-> Learning and teaching true herstory and histories of our victories and struggles, especially those of women of colour and Aboriginal women
-> Fighting the stigma and shame of mental health and psychiatric survivors and supporting their struggles

We will: Change our attitude: get pissed off, refuse, resist, walk out, speak up!
We will: Transform our daily lives and relationships: actions can take place in small interactions
We will: Encourage people to learn about, care for and love themselves and their bodies
We will: Support safe and accessible space for individuals to define and express themselves without fear of judgement
We will: Create alternatives, write poetry, articles, letters, make art
We will: Join with others, find common ground, build community, create feminist spaces and gatherings, raise awareness, educate, spread the word
We will: Believe that a better world is possible and work to achieve it

We will: Organize and struggle: build alliances with existing feminist groups and create new ones, fight together in solidarity, be seen and be heard, disrupt, trouble, destabilize established powers, become culture jammers
We will: Build solidarity based on the commonality of our diverse struggles and perspectives
We will: Value people rather than profits
We will: Demand massive State reinvestment in social programs and the end of privatization
We will: Organize pan-Canadian decentralized days of feminist action against the rise of the Right
We will: Protest and resist sexist bills and laws that threaten our reproductive rights, racist immigration laws, war, free trade, repression, the criminalization of political movements, corporate exploitation and plunder of the earth, and violence against women
We will: Champion safety, respect, justice, freedom, equality and SOLIDARITY!

This manifesto was adopted at the Pan-Canadian Young Feminist Gathering Toujours RebELLEs / Waves of Resistance, Montreal, October 13, 2008.

It is a call to action!

Find out more, get involved!
http://www.rebelles2008.org
info@rebelles2008.org

Attachment Size
* Manifesto of the Pan-Canadian Young Feminist Gathering.pdf 166.32 KB
* Manifesto FR + EN.pdf 288.14 KB
Download from http://www.rebelles2008.org/en/manifesto

Radical Women’s “The Persistent Power of Socialist Feminism” conference will take place on October 3-6, 2008 at the Women’s Building. Featuring activists and scholars from Central America, Australia, China and the U.S., and panels and workshops on topics like multi-racial organizing in a society divided by racism, the dynamic leadership of youth and queers, a labor revival ignited by immigrants and women of color, and the need for an independent grassroots feminist movement.
In today’s tumultuous climate, we hope this event will produce concrete plans to energize and focus the women’s movement on the many issues that affect us all. The event is open to all genders.

Optimistic rebels from all walks of life are invited to participate in a national Radical Women conference, “The Persistent Power of Socialist Feminism,” to be held at the San Francisco Women’s Building, October 3-6, 2008. The major goal of the four-day public event is to produce a concrete education and action plan to focus and strengthen the feminist movement. Speakers include activists and scholars from Central America, China, Australia and the U.S.

Highlights on Friday, Oct. 3 include a 9:30am keynote address by Nellie Wong on “Women and revolution—alive and inseparable.” Wong is an acclaimed Chinese American poet, whose works include Stolen Moments, The Death of Long Steam Lady, and Dreams in Harrison Railroad Park. A former Senior Analyst of Affirmative Action, she is also a founding member of Unbound Feet, an Asian American writers group. Afterwards, Laura Mannen will present proposals and spearhead a discussion on how to build a strong, independent, grassroots U.S. feminist movement. Mannen is a bilingual teacher, mother of two and seasoned antiwar organizer from Portland, Oregon. The afternoon will feature a roundtable of female unionists on “Standing our ground on labor’s frontlines.”

At 7:30pm Friday evening, Lynne Stewart will address “Radical dissent: The righteous response to an unjust system.” Stewart, embattled human rights attorney, was convicted in 2005 of providing support for terrorism by delivering a handwritten press release to Reuters from a client. Though prosecutors sought a 30-year prison term, Stewart was sentenced to serve 28 months. The shorter sentence, the judge said, was in recognition of her “service to the nation” as a representative of the poor and unpopular. The government is appealing her shorter sentence. Stewart is appealing the conviction.

“Magnificent warriors: female leadership in the global freedom struggle,” a panel presentation on Saturday, October 4 at 9:00am, will include Debbie Brennan, workplace delegate for the Australian Services Union and Melbourne RW president; Dr. Raya Fidel, an Israeli-American feminist and supporter of Palestinian rights; Patricia Ramos, a Costa Rican labor lawyer and leading organizer against the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA); and Wang Zheng, a University of Michigan Women’s Studies professor and co-chair of the U.S.-based Chinese Society for Women’s Studies.

Christina López, Chicana-Apache advocate for reproductive justice and frontrunner in the battle for rights for undocumented workers, will present her paper “Estamos en la lucha: Immigrant women light the fires of resistance” at 11:30am.

Interactive workshops in the afternoon include Challenging the Minutemen; ABC’s of Marxist feminism; Women’s stake in the struggle for union democracy; Federally funded childcare NOW; End the war on women—in Iraq, Afghanistan and the U.S.; On the barricades for reproductive justice; Confronting movement sexism; Free trade is a feminist issue; and Young queer radical—what are we fighting for?

Sunday, Oct. 5 begins at 9:00am with a panel on “The galvanizing impact of multiracial organizing in a society divided by racism.” Sharing first-hand experiences will be author Christina López of Seattle, reproductive rights activist Toni Mendicino of San Francisco, and campus organizer Emily Woo Yamasaki of New York City.

The remainder of Sunday will be devoted to issues and skills workshops. Topics include Power to the poor!; Radical campus organizing; For affirmative action not “civil wrongs”; Alternative feminist radio; Radical youth and rebel elders; Disabled rights activists on RX for toxic healthcare. There will also be sessions on getting media attention, confident speaking and writing, knowing your rights as a worker, and producing effective fliers and banners.

The conference concludes on Monday, Oct 6, 10:00am with a National Organizer’s report and action plan presented by Anne Slater, veteran campaigner for queer rights, the environment and women’s equality.

All sessions will be held at the Women’s Building, 3543 18th St., in the Mission District, near the 16th Street BART stop. Wheelchair accessible. Registration is $15 per day; students and low income $7.50 per day. Register at http://www.RadicalWomen.org. For more information, phone 206-722-6057 or 415-864-1278.

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/09/19/18539920.php

Women’s shelters help promoting democracy worldwide

The 1st World Conference of Women’s Shelters is going to take place in Canada, Alberta on Sept. 8-11 2008. The meeting is hosted by the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters and close to 800 experts in the field of domestic violence from 51 nations – ranging from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe – will gather to exchange, network and find strategies to prevent violence and protect victims.

The most common cause of death for women worldwide is domestic violence. In Europe, about 20% of all women are affected by domestic violence. There are currently over 1500 shelters which offer protection to the survivors and give them space to prepare their future and those of their children free of violence. The WAVE (Women Against Violence Europe) Network with its head office in Vienna is going to report on the situation of shelters in Europe, which proves to be different in each country.

WAVE is a European network consisting of 91 partner organizations in 46 European countries founded in 1994. At the homepage http://www.wave-network.org you can access the database with over 4000 entries of services for victims of violence, you can download publications on this topic and find information about ongoing projects e.g. with the European Commission. WAVE supports European organizations working on violence against women through information, networking, lobbying and training.

In their presentation at the World Conference of Women’s Shelters, Rosa Logar and Maria Rösslhumer of WAVE and the Austrian Women’s Shelter Network will stress and recommend the following points:

– Promotion of the understanding of violence against women as gender-based violence
Every person has the right to live his or her life free of violence. Violence against women is structurally caused, it is a violation of human rights and therefore has to be taken care of by society.

– The right to be a feminist as a human right
Feminists are concerned with the elimination of discrimination against women and the promotion of women´s full enjoyment of all human rights. This position is aligned with democratic ideas. It is unacceptable that being feminist often results in discrimination, even in democratic countries.

– No democracy without women’s NGOs
Women´s NGOs were the first to bring taboo issues like violence against women onto the political agenda and strategically worked and researched to find solutions. Unfortunately, many women´s NGOs still work unpaid and are discriminated in their work.

– The right to autonomy, support and protection for every victim of violence
Not all women survivors of violence receive adequate support in Europe today. Yet there are clear recommendations and standards set by international institutions like the Council of Europe or the European Parliament which every country should follow.

– The right to funding for and autonomy of women’s shelters
Masses of women seeking shelter made it necessary, that these services have to request state funding. Still it´s necessary to recognize the autonomy of shelters in order to fulfil standards needed for professionally supporting women survivors of violence.

– The importance of being political for being professional
Critical questioning societal structures leads to profound changes and allows for causal problem analysis.

– Participation of survivors and services based on their needs
Every survivor of violence against women has her specific needs and problems, these should be considered and attended as far as possible.

– Strengthening the role of women’s shelters in their work with perpetrators and the building of effective intervention systems
Survivors and perpetrators need support when returning into a relationship where violence has occurred or when building up a new relationship. Special perpetrator programmes are needed, and shelters can contribute to this work.

– Continuation of multi-agency cooperation and maintenance of a critical distance
Cooperation of multiple actors and agencies is necessary for effective protection of the survivors and ending the circle of violence.

– The fight for children`s right to live free from violence
Children are always affected directly or indirectly by the violence committed to their mothers. The question of custody is extremely difficult to answer but important in these cases.

– Forming alliances with feminist men who work for women’s rights

Fortunately, there are feminist men who work on the topic of violence against women. Unfortunately, they are very few. Still cooperating with them is desirable for shelters.

For further information please contact maria.roesslhumer@aoef.at or alina.zachar@wave-network.org

or

Alberta Council of Women‘s Shelters:
Patti McClocklin
Communications & Partnerships
ACWS
T (780) 456-7000
F (780) 456 -7001
C 298 – 2371
p.mcclocklin@acws.ca

http://www.wave-network.org/start.asp?ID=23038&b=7

SIDA Conference Stockholm September 12 2008

Sweden’s Minister for Development Cooperation Mrs Gunilla Carlsson will launch Sweden’s Action Plan on Gender-based Violence in Development Co-operation.

Speakers include Lesley Abdela, recent GenCap Senior Gender Adviser to UN OCHA Chief Humanitarian Co-ordinator Nepal. See search engines at “lesley abdela”+”post conflict” or Wikipedia.

Conference subjects include:
• sexual abuse in conflict and post-conflict situations – why GBV tends to increase in many post-conflict societies
• gender-based violence due to harmful traditional or customary practices

For further Conference information contact GBV@sida.se

For the seriousness of the post-conflict gender-based violence visit:
http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/EGUA-78PUJ8?OpenDocument
http://www.dd-rd.ca/site/media/index.php?id=2273&subsection=news

Rape: Weapon of war (en anglais)
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/RapeWeaponWar.aspx

Resolution S/RES/1820 (2008) Women and peace and security
http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N08/391/44/PDF/N0839144.pdf?OpenElement

http://www.eldis.ids.ac.uk/go/events-and-announcements&id=39141&type=Item

AKINA MAMA wa AFRIKA A Non-Governmental Development Organisation for African Women presents The African Women’s Leadership Institute (AWLI)

Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA) is an International, Pan-African, non-governmental development organisation for African women based in Kampala, Uganda with a UK/Europe Regional Office in London, United Kingdom. AMwA was set up in 1985 by women from different parts of Africa resident in the United Kingdom. Translated from Swahili, the name means `Solidarity among African Women’, signifying African sisterhood. AMwA was founded to create space for African women to organise, and build links with African women active in the areas of their own development.

Mission Statement

AMwA is an African women’s international non-governmental development organisation based in the UK and Africa, which coordinates local, regional and international initiatives. AMwA serves as a networking, information, advocacy and training forum for African women, and builds their leadership capacities to influence policy and decision-making. AMwA does this by:
* Building the leadership capacities of African women and their organisations
* Networking and consulting on local, regional and international levels
* Marketing the skills, expertise and creativity of African women
* Mobilising and empowering African women
* Challenging sexist and racist stereotypes by emphasizing positive images of African women.

The African Women’s Leadership Institute

The African Women’s Leadership Institute (AWLI) is a regional networking, information and training forum, which trains women, aged 25-45 in critical thinking on gender issues, organisational and resource development and strategic planning. The AWLI was established as a program of AMwA in 1996, as a contribution towards the post-Beijing initiatives in the Africa region. The AWLI has two main features. Firstly, it serves as a network of young African women (25-45) for professional support, advice and information, and sharing of expertise. Secondly, the AWLI convenes intensive two-week residential leadership training institutes every year.

The Horn of Africa Sub-Regional African Women’s Leadership Institute

The Sub-Regional Leadership AWLIs were developed to address context specific issues in each of the African Sub-Regions. There have been important political, social and economic developments at these levels over the past few years, which require the active participation of women. The Sub-Regional Institutes take place over two weeks, and aim to bring closer ties and working partnerships amongst young women activists in the various contexts in Africa.

This AWLI is under the theme: Women in Conflict and Peace Processes aimed at enhancing women’s leadership in peace building and post conflict processes at all levels of civil society, national and local government. Trainees for this Thematic AWLI will include young women professionals in government, civil society, feminist organizations and multilateral agencies with a strong professional background on gender, migration, sexual and reproductive rights, International Criminal Court, Peace Building, Relief and Emergency, etc in order to allow for push for these issues further.

Since this will be a Sub-Regional AWLI for the Horn of Africa, the following 7 countries are eligible: Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Djibouti, Eritrea, Somalia and Somaliland. A total of 25 participants will be trained at this AWLI.

The Objectives of the AWLI are to:
* Develop the leadership potential of young African women who would like to commit themselves to a progressive women’s movement in Africa.
* Provide leadership training for young African women who are in leadership positions in women’s NGOs, mixed NGOs, government institutions or corporate bodies.
* Empower African women living in fundamentally patriarchal communities with self-development and life skills training.
* Initiate a forum for young women to meet and build alliances for individual and professional support.
* Develop a mentoring and role modelling system in order to benefit from the knowledge, skills and expertise of older women.
* Strengthen existing regional and sub regional networks through networking and solidarity and to build and sustain links with the international women’s movement.
* Improve the quality of gender analysis and research coming out of Africa, and give African women more access to international publishing.

Activities of the African Women’s Leadership Institute
* Organising an annual residential leadership training institute, sub-regional institutes and specialist leadership workshops.
* Supporting institute graduates to run training in organisational skills and development for organisations in their own communities.
* Organising panels and workshops at regional and international conferences.
* Publishing a journal twice a year to link institute participants and other women’s organisations on the continent.
* Publication of policy briefing papers and occasional research documents on gender, development and analysis in Africa.

The ultimate goal of the AWLI is to encourage and train significant numbers of women for informed leadership positions that will ultimately promote a progressive African women’s development agenda. The development of a feminist constituency among the next generation of African women leaders is essential to the future of the African women’s movement.

Eligibility For Particpation In The Horn Of Africa Sub-Regional African Women’s Leadership Institute

The following criterion applies to all AMwA leadership development programs:
* Candidates must be young African Women professionals resident in African Countries aged between 25-45 years.
* Participants will be selected from the Horn of Africa Sub-Region from the following 7 countries: Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Djibouti, Eritrea, Somalia and Somaliland.
* Strong professional background and working in the area of women in conflict, peace processes and post-conflict processes in the Horn of Africa.
* Must be from local, national, sub-regional or regional women’s organisations, civil society organisations, government departments, or regional economic blocks, donor agencies, inter-governmental organisations.
* Applications from eligible organisations should be from a minimum level of Program Officer or the equivalent.
* Applicants must have a minimum of two years experience (voluntary or professional) in gender issues.
Participants should be able to demonstrate how they will carry forward what they learn at the institute. We will therefore select only those who will be in a position to report back to their organisations or establishment, and not those applying as individuals.
* Participants will be required to stay throughout the duration of the program, i.e. two weeks for sub-regional institute.
* Participants will be asked to prepare a discussion paper (minimum 2,500 words) on current issues concerning their area of work prior to the institute, for discussion at the institute plenaries or working groups. These discussion papers will be developed for publication afterwards.
AWLI participants should be prepared to engage in critical discussions and analysis of feminist theory and practice.
* Ability of participants to share costs.

Funding

The total cost for individual participants at the AWLI is as follows:

a) The two-week sub-regional AWLI: $5000 per participant

The costs cover travel, accommodation, all meals and refreshments, site visits, local events, and excellent training materials. AMwA usually raises funding to sponsor participants to attend the AWLI programs. However, due to the increasing demand for the AWLI programs, and for sustainability purposes, we are encouraging future participants to approach local donors for full or partial sponsorship to meet their costs.

For original message and downloads go to http://freecharity.org.uk/pipermail/womeninlondontraining/2008-August/000744.html

Or for further information please contact:

Akina Mama wa Afrika
Head Office
Plot 30 Bukoto Street, Kamwokya, Kampala
P.O. Box 24310
Kampala, Uganda
Tel: +256 414 543 681
Fax: +256 414 543 683
Email: amwa@amwa-ea.org
http://www.akinamamawafrika.org

Akina Mama wa Afrika
UK/Europe Regional Office
Unit 1B Leroy House
436 Essex Road
Islington N1 3QP
Tel: +44 2073 598 252
Fax: +44 2073 549 015
Email: info@amwauk.org
http://www.akinamamawafrika.org

African women leaders vowed(*) to press for the deployment of more female peace-keepers to protect women in conflict and called on the African Union (AU) to appoint more female peace envoys.

The African women, who met to discuss the state of women affairs in the continent ahead of the African Union (AU) semi-annual conference convening in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm El Sheikh, also called for an urgent end to violence against women in Africa.

The pre-AU Summit meeting was sponsored by the Fammes Africa Solidarite (FAS) to discuss the state of women, with a special attention on the implementation of specific declarations by the AU over the last four years, seeking to improve the women welfare.

The talks also agreed on a raft of measures, touching on the health and economic welfare of women.

The gender rights activists sought urgent removal of school fees in primary schools and urged African leaders to work on a staggered plan to phase out fees in secondary schools to enable more women in the continent to access education.

The conference was attended by African ministers in charge of gender, legal experts within Africa and the Diaspora and regional institutions engaged in the campaign to improve the women welfare, among a host of other institutions to popularise the gender campaign.

It was convened to provide a platform for following up on the pledges made by the African leaders to improve the status of the women welfare in the continent and brought together women rights organisations, under the ‘Gender is My Agenda’ campaign network.

The participants urged the AU to strengthen its campaign against violence, noting that the women in the continent remained less active in peace negotiations, even though they were the worst affected by the conflict.

“Peace and security is a pre-requisite for development,” said Monica Juma, the Executive Director of the South Africa-based Africa Policy Institute.

She said the meeting agreed to push for the nomination of women in senior political positions and as lead envoys for peace in the continent.

The conference urged the African leaders due to meet here to consider nominating more women to lead conflict negotiations.

In particular, the women leaders urged the AU to appoint former Mozambican First Lady Graca Machel, who also joined the Kenya peace mission early this year, to lead the mediation efforts for an end to the political crisis in neighbouring Zimbabwe.

Other measures agreed upon by the women include the need to recruit more female soldiers for the peacekeeping operations within the continent to protect girls and provide specialised care to women; and for the AU Commission to tackle the crisis facing women in countries emerging from conflicts, especially Burundi and Liberia.

The AU Gender Directorate, the women said in their communique, should be strengthened to become the watchdog against violations of women rights.

Meanwhile, the AU has been urged to convene a round table discussion on women land ownership ahead of the 2009 land Summit, to enable African women make specific contributions on the issue of land ownership, still a major issue for most of the women folk in Africa.

Juma, who read the communique on behalf of the participants at the gender confab, said special focus should also be turned to the people living with HIV/AIDS.

She said the meeting agreed to push for women contraceptives to be available on demand.

(*) Sharm el Sheikh on Sunday 22/06/2008

http://www.afriquenligne.fr/news/africa-news/forum-seeks-female-peacekeeping-troops-to-protect-women-in-conflict-200806237364.html

The ongoing 18th Global Summit of Women (GSW) granted Global Women’s Leadership Award to Mozambique prime minister, Vietnam’s Women’s Leadership Award to a former vice state president, and Entrepreneurship awards to a Japanese businessman, and a Vietnamese woman.

Luisa Dias Diogo, the first woman prime minister of Mozambique, is well-known for her endless efforts to accelerate poverty reduction, ensure public health, reach gender equality, and foster women’s empowerment. She has urged African health ministers to offer free reproductive and sexual health services throughout Africa, in a move to slash infant and maternal mortality, and curb the spread of HIV and AIDS.

Mozambique is striving to reach gender equality and provide better education for girls, Diogo said after receiving the award, noting that 26 percent of her country’s cabinet members are women.

Truong My Hoa, who used to be vice state president and vice chairwoman of the National Assembly of Vietnam, the country’s top legislature, and chairwoman of the Vietnam’s Women Union, got Vietnam’s Women’s Leadership Award.

At the ceremony, Hoa called on women around the globe to consolidate unity for women liberalization cause, and lessen impacts of wars, conflicts, ignorance, poverty and natural disasters.

The GSW has, for the first time in its 18-year history, granted Entrepreneurship Award to a man, Mitsumasa Kawai, president of Japan’s General Engineering Co. Ltd, for his continuous support for business start-up of women in his country, China and Vietnam.

Another award was given to Tran Thi Thuy, vice president of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and chairwoman of Vietnam’ s Women Entrepreneurs Council.

The GSW, held in Vietnam for the first time on June 5-7 with the participation of over 900 business women, professional and government leaders from 70 economies, is focusing on two major factors: dynamic Asia-Pacific economies led by China and India, and the important role of women.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-06/06/content_8323173.htm

The Palestinian Women Writers Conference is underway for three days at Bethlehem University. The guest that most were hoping to see was Sahar Khalifa. Born in the northern West Bank’s Nablus in 1941, she has published six novels and is considered one of Palestine’s foremost writers. She is widely acclaimed for being the first feminist Palestinian writer and her works are translated second only to the poetry of the sublime Mahmoud Darwish.

She spoke to the audience in a manner described as “beautiful.” Her literary creativity was the most commented upon by those in the crowds. She said that despite some “propaganda to the contrary,” Palestinian women are still reeling in inequality, still searching for the dawn of awakening. She was referring to women in all sectors, including politics, activism, writers and scholars. Khalifa said that the process of liberation was, and has been, underway, but has a long way to go.

She has won the prestigious Naguib Mahfouz Prize, but it was 1975’s “Wild Thorns” that made her truly famous. However, Khalifa’s 1974 “We are Not Your Slave Girls Anymore” was turned into a television series in 1977. She was also the recipient of the Fulbright in 1980, the award that Gaza students are currently fighting the Israeli government to be able to accept. During her Fulbright period she received a MA from Chapel Hill, and later, in 1988, a PhD from Iowa.

The former Minister of Women in the Palestinian Authority and the Director of the Center for Palestinian Women for Research and Documentation, Zahira Kamal, spoke of women’s defiance. She also noted Khalifa’s creativity and that of all Palestinian women.

“We are in more need than ever now of women writers who have mastered the art of expressing our feelings and sentiments about the issues facing our nation.”

http://english.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2878&Itemid=28

24 -26 June 2008
Waterfront Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Interesting Facts
– 95% of all direct violence is committed by men
– Wars occur more frequently where the political representation of women is lower
– Domestic violence increases in the transition from conflict
– 80% of conflict-generated refugees are women and children
– Two thirds of those seeking help from victims groups in Northern Ireland for conflict-related trauma are women
– The only national parliament to have achieved 50% representation of women is the Welsh Assembly

Armed conflict disadvantages women. In Northern Ireland, the priorities of conflict were constitutional issues, the question of national identity and equality between the conflicting groups. Issues that impacted more upon women, such as education, health, childcare, gender equality and social welfare, were less important to the conflict priorities. In addition, women were the sustainers of family and community while conflict raged around them. They were left to pick up the pieces and rebuild communities after the violence passed. Dealing with the legacy of conflict, therefore, requires the empowerment of women to make up for years of lost time, to develop and participate where the mechanisms of conflict has excluded them and take their rightful place in the design and development of a post-conflict society.

The focus of this three-day conference is to bring women from Northern Ireland, Europe and international arenas together to reflect, share, strengthen and celebrate the positive role of women internationally in times of conflict, stepping into transition and moving towards a future where women participate equally on a political, social, economic and judicial level.

After a long legacy of suffering, Northern Ireland is now emerging from 30 years of conflict. 2008 is the 10th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, an all-Ireland Agreement which commits to peace and democracy and building a society based on equality and justice.

We are inviting delegates to come to Belfast to share their own experiences and in particular gain an insight into the diversity and strength of the women’s sector in Northern Ireland and the role women have played in strengthening communities and contributing to politics and policy development.

See original posting in full on womensgrid at http://womensgrid.freecharity.org.uk/?p=86

Scarborough Women’s Group has its inaugural meeting at the Friends Meeting House in Woodlands Drive today 28th April at 7.30pm.

The group is open to all women who are interested in feminism and plans to hold debates, lectures, film evenings and trips as well as to campaign on feminist issues and raise money for Women’s Aid.

Source http://www.scarborougheveningnews.co.uk/news/First-meeting-of-women39s-group.4026283.jp

Scarborough Friends Meeting House, Quaker Close, Woodlands Drive, Scarborough YO12 5QZ / (01723) 362756

University of York – 30th May 2007

The Centre for Women’s Studies have organised this one-day conference to discuss current debates and research in the field of violence against women. The conference will cover issues relating to domestic violence, rape in war and war crimes, men and violence and representation of violence.

Plenary discussions will include:
• Three decades of well founded fear: where are we now in measuring violence against women
• Gender violence and conflict: revisiting violence and the social control of women
• Exploring emotion work and domestically abusive relationships
• Adjudicating sexual violence in armed conflict: The international criminal court
• Studying media in the context of violence against women

Confirmed speakers include: Prof Catherine Donovan, Prof Jill Radford, Prof. Liz Kelly, Prof. Jeff Hearn, Prof. Marianne Hester and Julie Bindel (journalist and activist)

For further information including detailed programme and costs go to http://www.york.ac.uk/inst/cws/gsp/violenceconf.htm

80 years on from women’s suffrage, it is predicted that it will take:
* 20 years to achieve equality in civil service top management
* 40 years to achieve an equal number of senior women in the judiciary
* Up to 200 years – another 40 elections – to achieve an equal number of women in Parliament
(Equal Opportunities Commission 2006 survey of women’s representation in positions of power)

Women Take Part invites you to be part of changing this……. to contribute your ideas, experiences and knowledge, and hear:
– what women have to say ……
– how organisations are working to change things …..

Introduced by Barbara Follett MP, Deputy Minister for Women & Equality
Date: Tuesday 13th May 2008
Time: 9.30am for 10.00am start with 4.30pm finish
Venue: The Deaf Cultural Centre, Ladywood, Birmingham B16 8SZ (http://www.deafculturalcentre.com)

Fully accessible, parking available on request
Plenty of taxis at the station
Hotel deals can be arranged

R.S.V.P by Monday 28th April
01743 350198 or WTP@changesuk.net

WTP has been collecting information about two sides of the story

‘what works’ in terms of approaches, initiatives and learning models that encourage different groups of women to become more involved in community and public life

‘what needs to happen’ so that structures, policies and organisations work in ways that encourage the recruitment and support of more women, particularly currently under-represented women

This event is about sharing initial findings from research and conversations with people who have been working around these issues for years. It is a real opportunity to provide a flavour of some of the fantastic work that is happening around the country.

It is also about sharing your experiences and thoughts through interactive sessions. We will be exploring the key things that need to happen to increase the participation of women, particularly women from underrepresented groups in governance and decision making – in both public and community life.

Last, but not least, it is about sharing your views on how this research can be used to make a real difference and make sure that women are in the places where decisions are made and priorities set.

The day is aimed at those who are committed to increasing numbers of women in community and public life.

You might be:
* involved in delivering learning programmes
* from an organisation that wants to recruit more women into governance
* in a position to commit resources to relevant programmes and initiatives
* already involved in this research

It is an invitation-only event with a limited number of places, so please let us know if you intend to join us or not, so we can re-offer available places or book you in and check any dietary or access requirements, including travel or caring costs which may help you to take part.

Display space is available if you have literature which may be of interest – please contact us for details

Women Take Part, c/o changes, 53 North Street, Shrewsbury SY1 2JL
01743 350198 / WTP@changesuk.net

5 June 2008
Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London

Are we getting the politics and the politicians we deserve?

Ninety years after the first woman MP was elected to Westminster, and 80 years after the franchise was finally extended to women on equal terms, still only one in every five MPs is female.

One hundred and forty years after the Trades Union Congress (TUC) was established, and despite the large number of women members of trades unions, only one in five of the general secretaries of the ten largest TUC-affiliated unions is a woman.

Across the UK, women are shockingly underrepresented in the political structures and the decision-making processes which shape our lives.

Why is this?

Are women still being actively excluded from political power? Or is it that, disenchanted with the political process, women seek other avenues to express a commitment to public life?

And what are the repercussions for our society as a whole when the highest tier of political representation is so heavily weighted towards men?

One in Five will bring together high-profile speakers from across a range of political spheres and engage delegates in discussion to explore the following questions.
• One in five – does it matter?
• Is there a concrete ceiling for black and minority ethnic women in politics?
• How does access to economic power influence women’s access to political power?
• Does education reinforce or challenge gender roles in politics?

Is One in Five for me?

One in Five will create a space where delegates’ voices can be heard and deeply held views can be exchanged. One in Five does not promote the views of any party or organisation but raises important questions and focuses delegates’ minds on the scale and the scope of the challenges we face.

One in Five is for women and men who are concerned with and about the representative nature of our politics. You may already be involved in organised politics or work in a role that is fundamentally shaped by those who make political decisions.

In particular, One in Five is for the following groups:
• local and national politicians;
• policy-makers and practitioners working in the field of equalities;
• leaders in public service delivery;
• education leaders;
• teachers, lecturers and researchers;
• regeneration practitioners and activists working with local communities;
• trade unionists;
• campaigning organisations and women’s groups;
• economic and business development providers.

One in Five is a national conference organised by the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) – the largest union representing teachers and headteachers throughout the UK.

■ Conference Fee £150

To reserve your place contact the Conferences and Events Team on 0121 453 6150 or e-mail conferencesandevents@mail.nasuwt.org.uk.

Conferences and Events
NASUWT, Hillscourt Education Centre, Rose Hill, Rednal, Birmingham, B45 8RS
Fax: 0121 457 6229
E-mail: conferencesandevents@mail.nasuwt.org.uk
Tel: 0121 453 6150

NASUWT members may register free of charge.

Cancellations after 23 May will be invoiced.
Substitutions are accepted if the NASUWT is given prior notification.

The fourth annual Wise Woman Weekend takes place on the shore of Lough Gill in Co Sligo June 6th to June 8th, 2008.

This is a weekend of learning, discovery, celebration and fun for women of all ages. A time to get away from the normal stress of family, work and social obligation and honour yourself and other women.

Workshops and activities include dance, creative writing, permaculture garden design,crystal healing, new cosmology, a guided walk to an ancient site, eating for your blood type, yoga, meditation, openspace discussions, speaker’s corner, mini treatments, the Wild Woman Open Mic Social, and lots more.

For full details log onto http://www.wisewomanireland.com