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Author Topic: Feminists at the Forum
Babbler # 4090

posted 17 November 2003 09:49 AM      Profile for Sharon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The first-ever gathering of women within the context of the World Social Forum movement was the most exciting event of the European Social Forum held in and around Paris last week. There appears to be a resurgence of feminism across Europe in the face of the neo-liberal assault on social programs. The slogan of the forum was With Women for Another Europe.

Full story

From: Halifax, Nova Scotia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 478

posted 17 November 2003 10:11 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This sounds fascinating and vital -- the conflicts and tensions Judes describes seem to me the source of the vitality and some promise of renewal for feminism.

I was most interested in Judes's summary of Antonella Picchion's talk, arguing that

much of the conflict caused by neo-liberal attacks is “discharged into the family,” with women having the responsibility to deal with the results.

She explained, “It is not only because men don't look after the children, because they are doing that more, or that men don't do the housework because they are doing that more, but the deeper problem is that men don't take care of themselves. They separate the struggle at work and at home. Women are oppressed by men's weakness — not their strength,” she added.

It seems to me not so hard to see how that analysis dovetails with the arguments that were being made by the younger group called Genderation, who apparently feel that older feminists have been fighting "alone" so far, and it is now time to involve men by addressing the difficulties they face in resisting patriarchal habits and training.

Well, yes, but ... I write as an older feminist who has always assumed something close to these positions but has seen just how hard it still is to get women looking after themselves and one another. I'm open to some wake-up calls from a renewed, "mixed" movement -- but I feel a bit cautious about it too.

From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
audra trower williams
Babbler # 2

posted 17 November 2003 11:49 AM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Next Genderation's website, for background.
From: And I'm a look you in the eye for every bar of the chorus | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 2534

posted 18 November 2003 03:06 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My only concern was that Judes' article gave a bit too much weight to the Genderation protests - there are a lot of other young feminists there, and women working on migration and human trafficking issues that were one of the central axes of the Forum.

I missed the women's day - I had to do a written translation for one of the clients paying my way. I could have made it to the demonstration at the end, but it was pouring rain and I really didn't want to come down with a cold as I'd be interpreting at the Social Forum.

The very fact that one of the regional Social Forums has taken up women's issues to the extent of making the first day a special day to discuss them - and of course there were seminars and workshops on women's issues throughout the Forum - is a very positive sign.

Judes is correct in saying that the Forum, while international and internationalist, remains far 'whiter' than the streets of Paris, and especially the working-class neighbourhood and suburban towns (utterly urbanised, just not incorporated in the city) where it took place. A lot of emphasis was put on migration and immigrant issues, but it is still difficult to get a presence of 'visible minority' groups such as North Africans, Black Africans and Caribbeans or Asians commensurate with their presence in French society.

I'll try to write more later - limited e-mail access - somebody is waiting to use the only internet-abled computer accessible to me...

From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 21

posted 18 November 2003 06:04 PM      Profile for Judes   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I put emphasis on the Genderation protest because it was to me when the meeting started to have some energy. The only other young woman I heard intervene was the one I interviewed about her mixed group. She was at the front. The rest of the presentations on the special Assembly day I found pretty standard fare and not very interesting.
BTW the Assembly on Women's Rights was not an official part of the European Social Forum. The women organized it independently. As one woman told me "c'est rien a faire" . They did decide however to ask to be an official part of the program next year and there were quite a few sessions on women's rights.

From: Toronto | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 2534

posted 19 November 2003 02:32 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes, you are right Judes that the session was organised independently. And doing so was extremely important. My only peeve about the Genderation intervention was the stuff on prostitution, as North Americans don't hear enough about the stance European feminists tend to take on the sex trade, mostly in light of all the trafficking in humans from Eastern Europe (and still from the South) going on here. Even in Amsterdam, where the legalised sex trade hasn't prevented a phenomenal growth in trafficking in humans - outright slavery.
From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged

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