2nd Asia Pacific Feminist Forum
Creating Waves, Fostering Movements
May 30 to June 1, 2014
Chiang Mai, Thailand
APWLD will host the Second Asia-Pacific Feminist Forum (APFF) in Chiang Mai, Thailand from May 30 – June 1, 2014.
The Asia Pacific Feminist Forum will gather feminists from the region to consider the current political, economic and cultural space for women’s rights activism and strengthen our strategies, our collaboration and our will to shape more equitable, just and feminist futures.
Our world is currently at a crossroad. Facing multiple and interconnected crises of environment, finance, food, energy, democracy and most of all a crisis of deep and growing inequalities, we are confronted with a challenge and an opportunity.
Policy making over the past 3 decades has led to wealth, power and resources accruing to a tiny minority of the world´s richest and most powerful people and corporations. Our world is now a plutocracy. This model of wealth accrual is directly responsible for the crises we now confront. Policies of increasing consumption, financial speculation, unregulated exploitation of the world´s resources, privatisation of essential human services, resources and infrastructure, deregulation of labour and economies have made the world unsustainable, insecure and grossly unequal. Women account for approximately two thirds of the one and a half billion people in extreme poverty, and they make up 60 percent of the close to 575 million working poor globally . Austerity measures, adopted to respond to the financial crisis, have reiterated neo-neoliberal approaches that fuel wealth inequalities between countries, between rich and poor and between men and women.
The burden of this policy making and the crises it has caused lie on the shoulders of those least responsible: the poorest women living in the global south, including:
- women producing the world´s garments at increasingly lower prices who work for below subsistence wages in insufferable conditions, separated from their children and denied rights to organise and bargain;
- women working as domestic workers, Asia Pacific´s most common occupation for women, working 18 hour days, without a day off, without a guaranteed wage, without occupational health and safety protection, separated from family and routinely abused at home and abroad;
- women living in the most precarious environments, rendered homeless from climate disasters and from increasing corporate and government land-grabbing, forced evictions and land degradation;
- women suffering the tyranny of violence at home and internationally where might is normalised as the source of power;
- women denied autonomy over their bodies, reproductive and sexual choices and life decisions.
THE GLOBAL MOMENT
There is growing recognition that existing development models have failed to address inequalities. With the expiration of the Millenium Development Goals and with governments agreeing in the Rio Summit to develop Sustainable Development Goals, the years 2014 – 2015 provides an opportunity to chart a new course and formulate a new development agenda.
At the same time, several internationally agreed foundational documents are being reviewed. The Beijing Platform for Action will be 20 years old in 2015 and will require a movement wide review, the International Conference on Populations and Development control (ICPD) is also being reviewed in 2014 and the UNFCCC is due to finalise a new binding climate agreement in 2015.
These moments provide an opportunity to chart a course that the vast majority of this world wants, a course of global equity, of sustainability of justice, human rights enjoyment and dignity for all; the opportunity to develop a transformative and redistributive framework that aims to reduce inequalities of wealth, power and resources between countries, between rich and poor and between men and women.
The moment requires bravery, imagination and invigorated feminist movements.
THE POWER OF MOVEMENTS
We know that the only way to achieve real and lasting change is through the power of peoples movements. Big or small, local or global, feminist movements are powerful strategies that can and have shaken political, economic and cultural perspectives and played a powerful part in stimulating change. We need to be building movements to shift and take power, to challenge dominant structures and systems – particularly patriarchy, globalisation, militarism and fundamentalisms. We are facing a global moment where decisions about the future of this planet are being made – we need a fully equipped and powerful movement to shape that future!
The forum is planned to be engaging, participatory and fun– so besides plenary sessions and small concurrent workshops there will be innovative ways of sharing and exchanging ideas. Workshops will utilise a range of participatory methods for skills building as well as knowledge exchange. There will be wifi facilities to allow participants to share memorable moments from the forum and utilise social media.
- To strengthen the capacity and skills of activists and allies to foster political, economic and cultural change for women’s rights enjoyment
- Deepen analysis and knowledge around the structural, persistent and emerging barriers to women’s rights enjoyment
- To strengthen and share advocacy strategies to address the political challenges and opportunities facing feminist movements
- Deepen solidarity, alliances and foster movement building amongst womens’ rights advocates and allies regionally and globally
Profile of Participants:
Participants will consist of 150-200 women, primarily from the five sub-regions of the Asia-Pacific Region. We hope to include the diversity of our movements with activists from grassroots constituencies, rural, Indigenous, migrants, workers, urban poor, sexual orientation and gender identifiy advocates, young women as well as lawyers, academics and political leaders.
Workshops will come under four broad categories that reflects feminist theory of change:
- Knowledge building: to share new scholarship, analysis, and understandings in key areas of challenges confronting the women’s movement in the region;
- Skills building: to build practical skills in areas essential for feminist movements;
- Advocacy and Strategising: Space to develop campaigning and advocacy strategies or share existing strategies;
- Movement building: to share successful efforts at building our movement across nations or regions. Discussions on what has worked for the movement.
Each workshop will address the following key questions:
- How can we embolden and empower progressive feminist leadership in political spaces
- How can we challenge and shape the political agenda to make it more equitable
- What new accountability mechanisms do we need
- What partnerships or alliances do we need to build
- What new skills are needed and what existing skills need to be broadened
- What do we need to add to our body of knowledge