Women Strategising

January 20, 2007 at 8:06 am Leave a comment

Nairobi seems to be the headquarters for a number of pan-African or international women’s organisations, which are all active in the World Social Forum.

There’s also evidence that women are strategising their involvement in the WSF by holding meetings beforehand. One example is the 3rd International Feminist Dialogues.

The FD is organized by a coordinating group that includes 12 international, regional and national feminist networks and organisations, including the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET, Development Alternative For Women In A New Era (DAWN), Women in Development Europe (WIDE) and Women Living under Muslim Laws (WLUML)

The three-day event has provided the opportunity to examine new perspectives put forward by social and feminist movements – like seeing democracy as ‘shared authority’. Also to exchange and discuss strategies used by feminists in addressing current threats and challenges to democracy: in particular the rise in militarism and state security, resurgent nationalism, religious conservatism and assertions of ethnic identity.

Looking to the future, the dialogues have addressed leadership building within individual feminist organisations as well as networking and developing new dynamics between them – to overcome fragmentation of the movement. In addition, how feminists can contribute to the democratisation of other social movements and build solidarity across specific struggles.

Quotes from previous meetings:

‘By discussing these issues together, feminists have begun the journey of re-politicising their movements’

‘As a site of resistance, the WSF is one of the most dynamic spaces available to us as feminist activists and it is important to participate in it while at the same time retaining our autonomy’

This is an opportunity for us to stop diluting our language and agenda

Rural Women’s Delegation

Another three-day meeting before the forum has been organised by New Field Foundation in collaboration with Fahamu. This brought together a delegation of 45 rural women representing local women’s groups from various parts of Africa – to share experiences and information, develop new skills and to visit local women’s initiatives in Kenya.

The final day is a workshop facilitated by the African Women’s Development Fund. The aim of the workshop is to support empowerment initiatives led by community-based women in Africa, in particular how to mobilise resources locally.

The delegation is also collectively organising a one-day event in the WSF: The Rural Women’s Forum and Exhibition

At the end of the week, the delegation will hold a reflection workshop on the World Social Forum and next steps for women’s social justice movements in Africa.

To what extent are the background, focus and discourse of the Rural Women’s Delegation different to that of the Feminist Dialogues. Is it, in fact, possible for diverse groups to work together? If so, how? And to what extent will they be able to influence what comes out of the planning sessions on the fourth day of the forum?


Entry filed under: General.

My journey continued Women in the programme

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