Thanks to Sussanne Skidmore for writing this reflection on her week at the Women’s Worlds Conference earlier this month. Sussanne is a BC GEU activist, feminist, and lesbian from Prince George, BC. You can find her on Twitter at @SussanneS.
I consider myself very lucky to have been able to attend this year’s Women’s Worlds Congress on behalf of BC GEU component 12 Administrative Services Component. The conference theme was Inclusions, Exclusions, Seclusions: Living in a Globalized World. Each day brought us a new sub-theme – Day 1: Breaking Cycles, Day 2: Breaking Ceilings, Day 3: Breaking Barriers and Day 4: Breaking Ground.
The Conference was attended by over 1800 women from all over the world. It was inspiring and motivating to be surrounded by women from all over the world, women from unions, universities, women’s organizations, business women, women of color, radical feminists, anarchists, lesbians, students and women with disabilities.
There were three priority areas of the conference: facilitating intergenerational discussions, honouring Aboriginal women’s knowledge and culture, and rendering the event accessible to women with disabilities. Through in-focus sessions and concurrent sessions these issues were critically looked at, discussed and debated by the congress delegates. As a feminist lesbian woman I tried to reach out and participate in a wide variety of sessions to expand my knowledge and understanding of women’s issues through out the world.
I participated in the following sessions: Transnational Lesbian Feminist Activism and Globalized LGBT Rights discourse, Profile This! Muslim Women and Trans People’s Resilience through Art, Smashing through the Old Boys Network: Effective Lobbying for Women’s Rights, Combining our Strengths: A Partnership between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Women, Redefining Political Spaces: A Global Conversation on Women’s Rights, Political Participation and Representation, Bloggers without Borders, Ethics of Responsible Travel Blogging, The Loveliest Girl in the World, Social Media: Responsibilities and Opportunities for Women, and Connecting Indigenous Generations through Oral Stories and Performance. The long list of options of sessions that delegates was so full and diverse that it was very hard to pick which ones to go to and they all offered so much that it was hard to choose.
Women’s Worlds has left me with so many great experiences and so much knowledge but there were definitely a few things that stuck in my mind. One of those things was that it is so important that as feminists, as women to come together and recognize our differences and diversity. We need to celebrate those differences and use them to work together to reenergize the feminist movement so that we can move forward and build a world where women’s rights are taken seriously and women all over the world can know freedom. The other thing I really took from this was that we must build bridges, we must recognize our differences amongst women and find our commonalities so that we can work together as a united force of women all working towards common goals.
Note from Jarrah:
And for critical analysis of the conference’s problems, including it’s anti-sex work focus, I recommend the following articles posted at the Shameless Magazine blog:
- Young Women’s Representation at Women’s Worlds
- Recommended Reading: “Hostile Clashes Dominate Women’s Conference”