European Social Forum

The Assembly of women as a central point of the meeting.

Athens - May 2006.


In this meeting took part: 38 women from 12 countries (Catalonia, Italy, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Turkey, Great Britain, France, Holland, Hungary, Romania and Greece) and 28 organizations from all over Europe : FSG (Greece), Cidette (France), Rouge (France), Kokkino (Greece), No Vox (France), Sud Ptt (France), Hungary hoc.for HEP Association, Union Syndical Solidaires (France), DEA (Greece), Colletivo Bellaciao (Britain), Imece Women Solidarity (Turkey), Network Health Cobas (Italy), Romanian Social Forum (Romania), Intersindical Alternativa de Catalunya (Catalunya), COBAS (Italy), Wilf Europe (Germany), ASF fem Forum and KPO (Austria), Platki Women (Germany), Steiriche Friedens-Platform (Austria), Initiative of Homosexuals against oppression and Genoa Initiative 2001 (Greece), Social Forum (Turkey), Hungary Social Forum Association (Hungary), Abortion Rights, (Britain), National Assembly Agaist Racisme, (Britain), International Free Women’s Foundation, (Pays Bas), IFE EFI, (France), ADEDY (Greece), Women’s World March (Greece).

The meeting of women in Vienna’s Preparatory Assembly, reaffirmed that the attendance of movements for women’s rights during the 4th European Social Forum, will deal with :

-  A - The organization of an Assembly of Women in the frame of the 4th ESF in Athens.

The Assembly of Women in the 4th ESF will constitute an autonomous space of discussion with the objective to allow the women of the European feminist movement speak and make our special oppression visible.

It should be the CLIMAX and the CENTRAL POINT of movements’ attendance for women’s rights within Forum’s framework.

The main task of the Assembly of Women will be to converge into a common place all different thematic tasks in the seminars and the laboratories that will take place during the ESF, concerning the elaborations of the area of the “Feminist Alternative Proposal” itself, as well as those of other countries that will present the dimension of women’s rights.

-  B - An invitation will be launched for collaboration and participation in the Assembly of Women, to all organizations and collectivities that will organize seminars and laboratories that will treat the specific gender dimension in their works. Thus, the function of the Women’s Assembly will almost be the same with the one of the Social Movements’Assembly.

-  C - A European Manifest will be adopted during the Women’s Assembly. It will include the proposals that will come up during the ESF by the workshops, the seminars and the laboratories of feminists and other social movements that are fighting for women’s rights.

A draft of the European Manifesto will be launched as soon as possible. The target of this manifest is:

1. To start a European process of discussion between us, henceforth, in order to integrate this manifest in the Assembly of Women during the 4th ESF.

2. To get acquainted with each other and develop relationships between networks for women’s rights and social movements and try to converge by an appeal that will analyze the main points of the specific attacks against women’s rights. The Manifest has to overcome our disagreements and unify us, it must underline some of our basic demands which could serve to develop campaigns of massive mobilizations with specific goals. Finally, the Manifest will probably have the function of an “Emergency Appeal” in order to organize certain unified mobilizations and the massive counter answer of women to the attacks launched, for example against the right to abort or against the reactionary politics like the “re-evangelization of Europe” so popular in Vatican, applied in some countries of the European Union (Poland, Ireland, Portugal...), against the comeback of slavery and extreme poverty of women, etc.

3. To make this manifest available to mixed organizations and networks in order to be taken into consideration in the elaboration of the strategy of the alter globalization movement, face to the new facts of Europe’s construction.

-  D - The organization of a women’s space. This space will be in a central place (not isolated from other movements) in order to unite stands and kiosks, it will be self-organized and will offer the possibility to show videos, organize exhibitions etc. It will serve as a meeting point.

-  The proposal for thematic seminars and workshops that will be useful in order to describe and analyze the problematic of women’s rights and to construct networks and campaigns.

The seminars and the workshops should take place before the Assembly of Women so that there will be an interaction between them.

Some of the seminars’ titles that have been proposed are:
-  “Preparation of a european campaign against violence against women. The preparation of the mobilization for the 25th of November and the demand of a unique European law against violence due to gender”,
-  Women Rights, secular state, democracy and equality, feminists for a secular Europe. What kind of Democracy for another Europe? The role of feminism in politics, feminism and the question of power, women’s rights and feminist strategies in Eastern and Central Europe countries: threats and resistances”,
-   Which trade-union strategy for the fight against precarious employment of women? ,
-  What does it mean nowadays to be a young woman?”,
-   Women and the Bolkestein Directive,
-   E.U and liberalization of European economies and the consequences for women’s lives and the equality of the sexes ,
-   Women, asylum and immigrants : violence and coercive employment and trafficking , Women, asylum and immigration”, Which politics in Europe for the effective fight against women’s trafficking ? The role of civils’ society organizations ,
-  “The contribution of women in the resolution of conflicts, the maintenance and the construction of peace", - "Lessons taken from the action of various NGOs of different orientations like the feminine ` Friends 1325 ’ and exemples taken from the functioning of directives CEDAW in the local and regional legislation",
-  “Immigrants, Gypsies and women of South in Europe: Poverty, precarious employment,exclusions, exploitation and discriminations ",
-  “The fight for the defence and the extension of women’s rights to abort in Europe",
-  "Increasing attacks against the reproductive rights and their repercussions on the equality of two sexes".

You can be informed for the program, be connected, register or propose the seminars or your workshops in the electronic address:

-  E - The visibility of the Women Assembly. As we have already stressed, we demand that the Assembly of Women constitutes a main event of the entire ESF, and that it takes place in a central space of the Forum.

Since the seminars and the workshops should take place before the Assembly of Women, therefore the Assembly should be organized either on Friday afternoon (17-20 hour) 5th of May 2006 or Saturday morning 6th of May 2006 (this will depend on the hour of the demonstration).

We ask the support of the ESF and the Greek committee, so as, if it is possible, the Assembly of Women does not coincide with another big event organized at the same hour.

Finally, organizations and individuals can register to a European feminist mailing-list, after having been in touch with the following e-mail:

Sources: Report of the women’s meeting in the preparatory assembly of Vienna of the European Social Forum (6-8 January 2006)

Introducers: Josette Rome Chastanet (Women World March, France, IFE) and Sonia Mitralia (Greek Committee for the organization of the Women’s Assembly)

17th February 2006


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