A short history: It is the first time in a social
forum that a women assembly is held as part of the
program of the forum itself, due to the persuasive
perseverance of some women from different groups and
countries who felt the need for a place where women
issues will be on focus and where the feminist
perspective could be expressed and become finally, in
an explicit way, a part of the movements agenda for
an other world.
We thank all the women initiatives within the previous
forums, and the world women march for having hold
assemblies in Porto Allegre since 2001 and in Mumbay
2004 at the world social forums, the European women
for having struggled for the women day in
Paris-Bobigny at the European social forum 2003 and
for the efforts they spent in order to do so in the
Esf 2004 in London, with less success.
As you perceive, just by this brief history previous
to the establishment of the women assembly within the
Medsf, the path for receiving visibility and retaking
hold of specific rights and having voice for the
feminist perspective for a new world has not been easy
As those of you that were in the preparatory
assembly in Istanbul have certainly understood, the
call for an end to patriarchal dominance still
encounters difficulties from the transversal party of
men and also from some women who do not see that, also
within the men with whom they work daily for changes
in our societies there is still discrimination,
undeserved intolerance, a jerarchy according to sex
and the persisting embarrassment to actually think in
terms of equal rights and responsibilities within the
Is does not require being a witch to desire that men
will acquire the capability to establish a jerarchy
of the needs and the problems on which to base their
political and practical action, based on their life
experience, and a philosophy inclusive of all the
complex levels required for production and
reproduction of life, materially, culturally,
emotionally and sexually.
Thus, the purpose of having a women assembly comes
out from a general instance that applies to the
participation of women as autonomous subjects to the
building of the struggles for a better world, while
the fact that we shall have our first assembly within
the medsf has its own specificity. These are to be
found in the relative lack of encounters between the
south, the north and the east of the area, so it is a
recognition of the reciprocal need and the beginning
of an interaction, supported by the consideration that
women play a central role in the untangling of the
social and political issues in the area. This last
consideration is mostly recognized by the men and the
women of the South.
An other specific aspect that dominates the area,
affecting in different but certainly oppressive
fashion the life of women, are the diffused cultural
and religious-based integralisms. This has a
particular weight in creating marginalized and
oppressive situation for women. At the same time women
have more tools in their traditional relationships
with elder and younger to understand, and defeat it,
with political tools, but also with other and many
forms of resistances. Experiences that need not to be
dispersed and that are founding for our collective
More over in the area women have been in a generalized
way the first victims of conflicts, in many forms and
with many consequences, but also the ones most ready
to rebuild a social tissue and to keep life going
during occupations and wars in the south and east of
the area of the Mediterranean.
We have 3 goals in the assembly:
Â Â To exploit our main common and old characteristic of
not privileging power but strength as main course of
relationships and of being capable to debate to get to
know each other needs in order to formulate strategies.
Â Â To present a methodology of political solidarity
and a set of actions to be undertaken emerging from
our experiences and needs that can be brought forward
to the local women movements to be accepted.
Â Â To be in the context of the forum for a new world, of
debating the adoption of issues for a continuing
struggle that can make a better world and can be
presented and shared in action with the other movements.
The way to organize the assembly.
The assembly has 3 hours. If we use 2 of these hours
for open floor, in this length of time are possible a
good number of interventions (say 4 minutes each,
makes for about 30): many struggles can emerge and many women can present their activities and propositions.
In the assembly we will take in account also the
results of the seminars that will take place in the
forum. We could have 30 minutes for that.
Up to now (firts week of june)the seminars that have been proposed by women with a direct bearing on women issues are limited to 16 in about 280.
Nonetheless, since both sustainability of life, economy and the production in all fields are equally shared by women, if not carried on by women,in the whole area and since the war is affecting women lives even worse and with much more shades of oppression and violence than men lives, and given that poverty is first of all a female name, as well as lack
of education, I imagine that the relative scarcity of
seminars organized by women will not make for less
propositions coming from the seminars as a whole.
We could then have 30 minutes to round up and finalize
proposals for common action in order to give
continuity to the experience of the forum and to the
acquisitions of relationships we have developed around
and through it, and in order to find ways to use
solidarity for having more voice and to device means
for sharing tools of any kind to support local undertakings.
The idea is that we also come up with a proposal for
the social movements and for the antiwar agendas that
might be presented and proposed for being carried on
together with all the other movements in the area.