Framework & Theme
The theme of the 14th AWID International Forum is: “Feminist Realities: our power in action”.
In our 14th Forum, we will celebrate and amplify Feminist Realities that are around us, in all stages of development.
We want to make this Forum our Feminist Reality - a place where you can inhabit a different world, where you bring your victories, the solutions you have devised; what makes you feel stronger, hopeful and ready to go on. It will be different from any other convening you have previously attended.
We urge you to join us in co-creating this world. It will be worth it!
Each Forum has a theme that reflects the needs of our membership and movements, and responds to our analysis of the current context.
The global context
Currently fascisms, fundamentalisms, authoritarianism and unfettered corporate power are gaining momentum globally. We see these threats converging with the State to shape public norms, narratives, and policies, entrenching a culture of fear, hate and incitement to violence in public discourse. States, previously the target of advocacy and rights claims, in many cases no longer feel accountable and in some cases themselves don’t have the power to uphold rights.
This time of volatility, complexity and uncertainty requires creativity in how we organize across movements, coherence in what we demand and daring in what we propose.
From Feminist Futures to Feminist Realities
AWID’s 2016 Forum centered on Feminist Futures and the conditions needed to bring such futures about. It was clear then, and remains evident now, the enormous challenge for many social justice movements to think outside of the current system for structural solutions. Imaginations can become narrowed from long experiences of inequality and oppression. But what we also heard then and we see all around us is that feminist movements are indeed living and promoting rights-and justice-oriented realities and solutions in big and small ways.
Indeed we see an urgency to mobilize from a place of hope, rather than from a lowest common denominator - hope that is grounded in the certainty that across the globe, however imperfectly, are experiences and practices that embody more just ways of being in the world and that by sharing, strengthening and building on these experiences, we can help them grow their influence.
These are not impossible dreams, but lived realities. This sense of possibility is a spark to re-examine and re-appreciate the transformative dimensions in our work.
A few examples of Feminist Realities across the globe
At AWID, we understand feminist realities as the living, breathing examples of the worlds we know are possible. We understand these diverse feminist realities as reclamations and embodiments of hope and power. They are embedded in the multiple ways that show us that there is a different way of living, thinking and doing-- from the daily expressions of how we live and relate to each other, to alternative systems of governance and justice. Feminist Realities resist dominant power systems such as patriarchy, capitalism, and white supremacy.
These are powerful propositions that orient us toward a vision of what is possible, and show how feminist organizing is blazing a path toward justice in movements and communities around the world.
In a deeply marginalized Black community in Jackson, Mississippi, an experiment in solidarity and cooperative economics is taking place through Cooperation Jackson. An ambitious plan to build community ownership outside of capitalist modes of production.
In West Africa, women farmers are resisting land grabbing and refusing industrialized agriculture projects, boldy claiming We Are The Solution, in a campaign to build agro-ecological solutions that center women farmers and their knowledges as the solutions to feed communities and mitigate climate change
Similarly, in India, 5,000 women have come together to develop community-based food sovereignty systems based on local knowledge, including grain and seed banks
Women in Mexico have created a moneyless economy project created by and for women and everyone they know. In El Cambalache everything has the same value: people exchange things they no longer need for things they want as well as knowledge, abilities and mutual aid that people would like to share. El Cambalache was built on the anti-systemic, anti-capitalist values of local social movements
In Rojava, Kurdish people are building democracy without the state and Kurdish women offer Jineology as a framework for challenging patriarchy, capitalism and the state, creating systems and institutions to put this framework into practice
In the UK, Anarcho Agony Aunts are a sex and dating advice show, covered from a feminist, antifascist, anarchist perspective. Hosts Rowan and Marijam are reclaiming space from the alt-right in giving people (mostly men) a space to ask tricky questions in a judgment-free zone.
The African Feminist Judgment Project drafts and disseminates alternative judgments for important African landmark cases on a range of legal issues. At the heart of the project is propositional feminist judicial practice and alternative feminist judgments that contribute to African jurisprudence, legal practice and judicial decision-making
The Usha Cooperative in India was founded when mainstream banks refused services to sex workers in Sonagachi. Sex workers self-organized to prioritize their economic concerns and set up their own financial institution. The Usha Cooperative is cooperative bank of over 20,000 sex workers and has provided over USD 4.7M in loans to 7,231 sex workers in a span of one year. With a membership entirely of sex workers, the bank provides real ownership and influence over the cooperative’s governance and management, pioneering ways for individuals and communities on the margins to build economic power on their own terms.
In Puerto Rico, a community land trust is helping to transform an informal settlement around a polluted and flood prone river channel into a sustainable community. It provides a new model for improving informal settlements in cities without them then becoming unaffordable for the original residents.
In several Latin American countries activists are providing peer-to-peer counselling and accompaniment on medical abortion, reclaiming women´s right to decide over their bodies as well as to medical knowledgde. (for safety reasons, no links are provided.
The 14th AWID international Forum
The AWID Forum will be organized around 6 thematic anchors:
- Resources for Communities, Movements and Economic Justice
- Governance, accountability and justice
- Digital Realities
- Bodies, pleasure and wellbeing
- Planet and living beings
- Feminist organizing
Building on those realities, we expect the 2020 Forum to:
Build the power of Feminist Realities, by naming, celebrating, amplifying and contributing to build momentum around experiences and propositions that shine light on what is possible and feed our collective imaginations
Replenish wells of hope and energy as much needed fuel for rights and justice activism and resilience
Strengthen connectivity, reciprocity and solidarity across the diversity of feminist movements and with other rights and justice-oriented movements
The Forum is a collaborative process
The Forum is more than a four-day convening. It is one more stop on a movement strengthening journey around Feminist Realities that has already begun and will continue well beyond the Forum dates.