FTF at the AWID Forum

At the opening of the AWID Forum Lydia Alpizar, AWID’s Executive Director, welcomed the 2,245 participants from 150 countries to the AWID Forum of feminists and women’s rights activists in Istanbul. While she looked to the past to commemorate the organization’s 30th year, she also looked to the future and issued an urgent call to action for us to double our efforts to build a women’s movement as a collective power, to reconstruct a civil society base of solidarity and support, and to more urgently address the existing and new challenges to women.

The 12th AWID Forum, “Transforming Economic Power to Advance Women’s Rights and Justice,” brought old and new friends together once more to dialogue, assess, network, celebrate and share knowledge, perspectives and friendship, in a safe space for collective thinking and strategizing. This morning’s opening plenary also brought an insightful presentation by Gita Sen on five points: 1 – struggle for development; 2 – struggle for equality and justice; 3 – struggle against selling out; 4 – current shifts, power and spaces; 5- how we might take on the huge challenge of economic power. In true Gita style, she stretched our minds and challenged us to grapple with these issues, producing more questions than we can probably answer in the next few days of the Forum. AWID is collecting and recording presentation so we hope to be able to review all the speakers and sessions. The FTF members, Marta Benavides, myself and three young women who are attending the AWID Forum for the first time, are active on the ground and will be sending updates from the numerous in-depth, break-out, “dymystifying economics,” cultural and plenary sessions.

The FTF is taking part in the following sessions: Changing World Geopolitics and Global Governance: Making sense of the trends, actors and their implications for women’s rights (organized by AWID, Forum Planning Committee and Global Policy Forum); Rosa presenting. Ecological Health of our Planet: The Climate Change Challenge (organized by AWID, Forum Planning Committee, Groots, Huairou Commission and DAWN); both in-depth sessions taking place over the course of two-days running 6 hours for a chance to follow an issue and delve into the topic. Rosa Lizarde, Global Coordinator, presenting.

Marta Benavides and the three young women, Viviana Bernal (former FTF intern/assistant), Katie McGhee and Kristen Kane-Osorto will be presenting at a skills-building workshop, Creating a Culture of Peace for Economic Transformation: Skills to empower, knowledge to transcend (organized by SIGLO XXIII, Museo Aja and co-sponsored by the FTF).

As a member of the GEAR Campaign, will also closely follow and attend the GEAR sponsored events as well.

Highlights: In the second half of today’s two-part Ecological Health of our Planet: The Climate Change Challenge, I presented the flagship work of the Feminist Task Force, the women’s tribunal, and how the FTF has spear-heading the international women’s tribunals on poverty (2007), women and the MDGs (2008) and social exclusion (2010), and the two series of women tribunals on gender and climate justice in 2009 and 2011. The presentation was part of a session focusing on practical initiatives by grassroots and rural women’s organizations.

At this session we also launched the “FTF in the US” tribunal series: In the Central Appalachia Mountains: Through partnership with the Loretto at the UN, partners in New York, and the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC) based in West Virginia, as well as other partner organizations, the first women’s tribunal on climate justice will take place in the United States, highlighting how women living in persistent poverty areas and impoverished communities are being affected by climate-related issues. The tribunal will feature the testimony of women throughout the Appalachian mountain region concerning the effects of mountaintop removal and other coal industry abuses on their lives, families, and communities (May 10, 2012).

In Little Village, Chicago, Through partnership with Loretto at the UN, and Eco-Justice Collaborative and the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO), a community group based in the city’s Mexican-American neighborhood, Little Village. Testimonies will be presented by minority women impacted by the city’s Fisk and Crawford coal burning power plants, and other coal-related effects to the greater Chicago area (June, 2012).

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