Constitution of the International Women’s Alliance (IWA)

Draft —August 5, 2010

Proposed Constitution of the International Women’s Alliance

Preamble:

We, women from Asia, Africa, Latin America, Middle East, North America and Europe, united in building an anti-imperialist, militant women’s movement in the 21st century, hereby proclaim the formation of the International Women’s Alliance (IWA).

We believe that the intensified imperialist aggression against our peoples, our lives and livelihood has resulted to the further exploitation and oppression of women.

We believe that imperialism and its puppet states, have threatened to reverse and have actually  reversed many of the gains that women before us have fought and died for.

We believe that in order to realize our vision for a just and democratic society, void of patriarchal values,  we must unite and intensify our struggle towards the defeat of imperialism and all forms of reaction.

Through this alliance we resolve to:

Build a movement further to educate and arouse women and men on the rights of women and to advance our struggle to overcome all forms of economic and political oppression and discrimination, sexual violence and abuse, neglect and denial of our health and reproductive rights.

Build a movement to further unite women from all parts of the world and link local struggles and campaigns against imperialism.

Build a movementto mobilize women, as well as men, from all over the world and to build a society that guarantee women’s rights  and ensure our meaningful participation and our development as equals.

Article I
Aims and Purposes:

1 – Deepen the understanding of the root cause of women’s oppression and exploitation and the role of imperialism and social institutions in maintaining patriarchal and other reactionary values and in preventing the realization of women’s equality and freedom;
2 – Generate campaigns in the local, regional and international levels against all forms of violence, abuse and discrimination against women;
3 – Build and strengthen international cooperation, mutual support and sharing of strategies of resistance among women’s movements;
4 – Encourage coordination and cooperation in the national and regional levels of women’s organizations?n the form of joint activities, coalition building, establishing regional coordinating bodies?o undertake campaigns on issues concerning and affecting women and strengthen their organizational capabilities;
5 – To build a genuine anti-imperialist, women’s rights advocacy network among women workers, peasants, urban poor, professionals, academicians, indigenous, (etc.)
6 – To encourage and support the building of local anti-imperialist women’s network and organizations.
7 – To undertake study of and maximize existing local and international instruments for women.
8 – To expose and oppose anti-women policies and laws and reactionary women’s groups that creates divisions among women and derail women’s struggles towards cooptation.

Article II
Name

The name of the Alliance shall be the International Women’s Alliance (IWA), hereafter referred to as the Alliance.

Article III
Definition

In this Constitution, unless the context otherwise requires, the words below shall have the meaning set opposite each of them respectively:
•    Constitution The Constitution of the Alliance
•    Assembly The General Assembly of the Alliance
•    ICB —— The International Coordinating Body
•    Member — The Members of the Alliance

Article IV
Scope, Emblem and Venue of the Secretariat

Section 1. Scope

The Alliance shall strive to cover the whole world.

Section 2. Emblem (to come)

Section 3. Venue of the Headquarters

The Assembly shall decide on the location of the  Headquarters of the Alliance.

Article V
Membership

Section 1.
Types of members

1a. Criteria for Regular Members

a. Membership of the Alliance shall be open to all grassroots women’s  organizations, sections of local Trade Unions that promote women’s concerns, networks, and alliances of women’s organizations, women’s political parties, that subscribe to the Constitution of the Alliance and all plans and resolutions approved by the Assembly.

b. Commitment to perform the rights and duties of a member.

c. Payment of the membership fee and  annual dues.

1b. Criteria for Associate Members

a. Any women’s institution or  groups that provide program for women  shall qualify for  associate membership in the Alliance.

b. Adherence  to the Constitution of the Alliance and its programs and policies.

c. Payment of  membership fee and the annual dues.

1c.    Honorary Members

The Alliance may invite women who have distinguished themselves in their fields to become honorary members of the Alliance.

Section 2.
Admission to the Alliance

An applicant shall submit a letter of intention for membership to the Alliance through the member organization of the Alliance. The member organization shall in turn submit such application together with their letter of recommendation to the International Coordinating Body for deliberations. The ICB shall be mandated by the Assembly to approve or disapprove. Whatever is the decision, the ICB shall report to the General Assembly.

Section 3. Rights of members
The members of the Alliance shall enjoy the following rights:

For the Regular Members:
a.    Attendance in the General Assembly of the Alliance or any special meeting called for specific purpose.

b.    To vote and be voted into any leadership position.  Each organization may send up to five (5) delegates to the Assembly. However, each organization shall be entitled to only one vote.

c.    To register a dissenting opinion, criticism and suggestion to any constituted body of the Alliance.

d.    To seek support from the Alliance on any issue, problems and needs of their organization or its members .

e.    To appeal to the ICB on any matter to the Alliance[?].

For the Associate Members:

The Associate member shall also be entitled to all is the rights stated above, except the right to vote or be voted into any leadership position.

For the Honorary Member:

An honorary member  shall be entitled to all is the rights stated above except the right to vote or be voted into any leadership position and have the privilege of being consulted  or giving advice on important matters pertaining to the alliance.

Section 4.
Duties and Responsibilities

The members of the Alliance shall have the following duties:
•    To uphold the Constitution, policies, rules and regulations of the Alliance.
•    To attend and actively participate in the activities, campaigns and work of the Alliance.
•    To maintain regular and up to date communication with the Secretariat.
•    To pay annual membership fee promptly.
To uphold and respect the principle of independence and initiative of  all  member organizations.

Section 5.
Disaffiliation

Any member may withdraw its membership at any time. Resignation shall be in writing, with explanation, and shall take effect upon receipt and action of the ICB.

Section 6
Suspension of Membership

The ICB shall the right to suspend a member for violations of the core principles  of the Constitution.

Any suspended member shall have the right of appeal.

Article VI
Instrumentalities

Section 1. Instrumentalities
To facilitate and ensure its effective and efficient operation, the Alliance shall have the following instrumentalities:
a.    General Assembly
b.    International Coordinating Body (ICB)
c.    Executive Committee
d.    Secretariat

Section 2. General Assembly
The General Assembly shall serve as the highest policy and decision-making body of the Alliance. It shall have the right to decide all matters concerning the Alliance.

The functions of the Assembly shall be:
1.    Define the thrust, policies and programs of the Alliance.
2.    Revise, amend or rescind the Constitution.
3.    Decide membership reaffirmation, admission, suspension or termination
4.    Elect the members of the ICB.
5.    Accept, review, alter or reverse the report and resolutions of the ICB
6.    Adopt the financial report and budget for the term.
7.    Resolve any other matter the Assembly would see fit.

Participation and Credentials:

a. All bona fide members of the Alliance shall compose the General Assembly.

b. Each member organization may be represented by 2 to 5 delegates inclusive of one voting delegate. Each delegate shall bear the credentials of her organization.

c. Each Associate member shall be represented by 1 or 2 delegates who shall bear credentials of her institution or organization.

d. Honorary members  may attend the General Assembly.

e. The General Assembly reserves the right to refuse credentials that in its opinion are not authentic and thereby refuse to accept its bearer(s) as delegate(s).

Section 3 – Assembly

The Assembly shall be held once in four (4) years in such place, date and time agreed by the ICB.

However, the ICB or the Secretariat, in consultation with the ICB, may call for an Extraordinary Assembly when necessary:
a.    Upon the request of the simple majority of the regular members of the Alliance.
Such a meeting shall be held within twelve (12) weeks after the receipt of the request, unless the request is accompanied by a later suggested date, or
b.    Upon resolution by the ICB and ratified by a simple majority of the postal votes cast or any other means such as faxes or emails by the members of the Alliance.

A notice specifying the place, date and time of the Assembly or Extraordinary Assembly, and a preliminary agenda, shall be sent to all members at least twelve (12) weeks prior to the Assembly and six (6) weeks for an extraordinary one.

Section 4. International Coordinating Body
The International Coordinating Body shall be the highest executive and supervisory body of the Alliance in-between the General Assembly. It may exercise all powers of the Alliance, provided that in exercising those powers and in discharging its functions, it shall be bound by the Constitution and the policies set by the Alliance in the Assembly. The ICB may make policies in cases where there is none, subject to the ratification of the Assembly. (same as IMA, see gab reformulate based on IMA/refer to Gab NC functions)

Functions of the ICB:

a.    Implement the programs and decisions of the Assembly and draw up an annual plan of action.
b.     Plan and organized internationally coordinated campaigns for women.
c.    Draft positions and plans around issues concerning and involving women.
d.    Assess the implementation of the plans and programs of the Alliance as defined by the Assembly.
e.    Deliberate, approve or disapprove applications for membership to the Alliance.
f.    Make interim decisions when the Assembly is not in session.
g.    Lay down administrative rules and regulations for the governance of the Alliance.
h.    Draft the agenda of and convene the Assembly.
i.    Recommend policies and policy guidelines to the Assembly.
j.    Receive and discuss proposed amendments to the Constitution.
k.    Prepare the annual narrative and financial report, budget and plan.
l.    Perform other tasks as may be assigned by the Assembly.

The ICB shall not administer or govern all or any of the members of the alliance and shall have no authority whatsoever to decide on issues internal to any member organization as well as on issues of controversy among several participating organizations. It may make requests or proposals that are subject to the decision of all or any of the participating organizations.

Composition of the ICB:
a – Eleven (11) members shall constitute the ICB.
b – Five (5) of the members will be elected at large by the General Assembly and will comprise the Executive Committee. The remaining six (6) members will be elected or appointed by their respective global regions which are:
•    East Asia and Oceania
•    South Asia
•    Europe
•    Latin America and Caribbean
•    North America
•    Africa and Middle East

b. The term of office of the ICB will be four (4) years.

Section 5. The Executive Committee
The Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary general, Deputy Secretary General and Treasurer shall comprise the Executive Committee. Members of the Executive Committee shall be elected by the ICB.  The EC shall act as implementing, coordinating and administrative body of the Alliance.

Functions of the Executive Committee:
a.    Manage the affairs of the Alliance.
b.    Execute the programs, plans and policies of the Assembly and the ICB.
c.    Submit narrative and financial reports to the ICB for submission to the Assembly.
d.    Render services and perform other tasks as may be delegated by the Assembly
e.    Create and directly supervise a Secretariat staff to attend to the day-to-day functions of the Alliance.
f.    To represent and speak on behalf of the Alliance in any functions, public gatherings and media releases.

Section 6. The Secretariat
The Secretariat shall be appointed by the ICB doing staff function to assist the Executive Committee.
a.    The Secretariat shall manage the day-to-day affairs of the office of the Alliance.
b.    The basing of the Secretariat shall be decided upon by the ICB but preferably where the EC, especially the Chairperson is based.
c.    The Secretariat shall be directly accountable to the EC.
d.    The term of office of the Secretariat shall be co-terminus with the ICB, unless appointed again by the newly elected ICB.

Section 7. Term of office
The members of the ICB shall hold office until the end of the succeeding Assembly.

Article VII
Meetings

Section 1. General Assembly
The General Assembly of the Alliance shall be held once every four (4) years.

Section 2. The ICB
The ICB shall meet at least once a year in such place, date and time as the ICB shall fix and if practicable prior to the Assembly and other activities of the Alliance.
Appropriate notice, along with the proposed agenda, shall be sent six (6) weeks before the meeting.

Section 3. Decisions and Quorum
a.    Provided all the requirements and period stated in notifying the members for the said meetings are met, those in attendance in the said meeting shall constitute a quorum.

However, in the ICB, 2/3 of the membersshall be required to constitute a quorum. In principle, the decisions of the Alliance shall be by consensus.

b.    In instances where a division of the house is  necessarya simple majority of the members present, there being a quorum, shall be necessary to adopt a motion or resolution.
c.    If a member of the ICB cannot personally be present in the meeting, she may request a proxy to replace her during the meeting. A written authorization should be presented to the ICB at the start of the meeting.
d.    If for some reason members of the ICB cannot attend the meeting, they can use modern electronic means to participate in the meetings.

Section 4. Election
Election for the position stated in this Constitution will be done during the regular session of the General Assembly. Election shall be by secret ballots. All ballots will bear the signature of whoever will be designated to act as head of the election committee and will bear the official chop of the Alliance.

Article VIII
Finance

Section 1. Sources
The funds of the Alliance shall be derived from membership dues and fund raising projects approved in the General Assembly.

Section 2. Dues
The annual dues of the Alliance shall be determined by the Assembly. The implementing polices and guidelines will be done by the ICB.

Section 3. Budget
The budget of the Alliance and the corresponding financial plan shall be prepared by the Executive Committee, in consultation and concurrence by the ICB, and shall be presented to the Assembly for approval.

Section 4. Disbursement
Funds may be withdrawn in accordance with the financial regulations and approved budget of the Alliance.

Section 5. Accounts
The Treasurer shall document the accounts of the Alliance and submit financial report to the ICG and the Assembly.

Article IX
Dissolution

Section 1. Dissolution
The Alliance may be dissolved by a two-thirds (2/3) votes of its members through a special Assembly or by postal voting.

Section 2. Assets and Properties
In the event of dissolution, all assets and properties of the Alliance, after payment of all costs and liabilities, shall be donated to a similar organization.

Article X
Amendments

This Constitution may be amended by two-thirds (2/3) majority votes cast at the Assembly.

Any proposed amendment must be submitted to the ICG through the Executive Committee two (2) months before the Assembly. The Executive Committee will distribute copies of the proposals received to all members for their perusal at least one (1) month before the Assembly.

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