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Women's Seminar 2002

7 July 2002

Two Generations of Feminists Look at Globalization Movement from Porto Alegre to Florence

From July 7 to 13, the IIRE held a Women's Seminar to discuss global strategy for Women's Liberation. Although with fewer participants than hoped, we had women from Québec, Canada, United States, France, England and Denmark.

The discussion focussed on the intersection between women's liberation work and the broad globalization movement that has existed for the last several years. Thus we discussed the intervention of the women's movement, specifically through the World March for Women Against Violence and Poverty, in the World Social Forums in Porto Alegre, in Québec 2001 with the struggle against the Free Trade Areas of the Americas (FTAA), and more recently the plans for the European Social Forum in Florence, Italy, for November 2002. The seminar was fairly equally divided between women who radicalized in the women's movement of the 1970s and those that have become involved in the 1990s. This led to very interesting discussions about the relevance of various struggles and the recognition of the need for continued discussion and debate, especially in the thorny issue of strategies and demands related to the sex trade, especially in Europe where it overlaps with the issue of immigration. The discussion was broad and encompassing while at the same time focussing on the strength - and weaknesses - of the women's movements in the various countries. While the globalization movement does offer an important milieu for women's liberation struggles, it remains important to work on the national and, in the case of European countries, on the European Union levels. The participants agreed to establish the means to continue the discussion using the Internet and to plan for a longer - perhaps three-week - session next summer to have the time for a more thorough discussion of both current interventions and thetheoretical issues raised.

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