News (English)

Montreal International Women’s Conference (MIWC 2010) August 13-16, 2010

News Updates  July 26, 2010

We have some amazing speakers and topics:

A keynote address Moving Forward the Militant Global Women’s Movement in the 21st Century, by Liza Masa former chairperson of Gabriela Philippines and founder of the women’s Gabriela Partylist, which won over a million votes and two seats in Congress in the last general elections in the Philippines.

Imperialist Globalization and its Impact on Women with socio-cultural activist Aminata Traore, former Minister of Culture of Mali.

Women’s Resistance to Exploitation and Oppression with Dr. Dolores Chew a founding member of the South-Asian Women’s Community Centre in Montreal and of Women of Diverse Origins.

Twelve workshops include:

Women Workers Fighting Exploitation, with Brenda Stokely, organizer of the 2004 Million Workers March in the US, and Nenita Gonzaga, Vice-president of the militant KMU Labour Centre in the Philippines.

Women and Migration will look at the challenges and victories in organizing women, from marriage migrants and domestic workers in Asia, to the Latina women in maquila sweatshops.

Women and Religion will look at the link between fundamentalism and imperialism; Women and Health will look at reproductive health as well as women’s access to health services and as workers in the health field.

Struggles of Indigenous Women will feature speakers from the Quebec Native Women as well as indigenous women from Latin America and Asia.

Women from the Peasantry/Rural Lands, will include Olga Djaneva of Kyrgystan Rural Women’s Association;

Women Fighting Rascism, Discrimination and Genocide will include Dalmilvany Gnanakumar, a young health worker abducted by the military when she went to work among Tamil refugees fleeing genocide in Sri Lanka.

Women Resisting Developmental Aggression will include speakers from the resistance to mega mining and other so-called development projects in Indonesia, Mexico, Philippines, and Barriere Lake Quebec.

We will hear about Women’s Experiences with Socialism and National Liberation Movements in Cuba, Nepal, China, the US and Philippines.

Speakers will cross generations, from elders like Edith Ballantyne, a veteran of the international women and peace movement, to youth like Eni Lestari and Anick Sioui.

This conference will bring together women with much to share and eager to learn from one another. It is a unique opportunity for Montrealers to hear from the front lines of women’s struggles from around the world, with an anti-imperialist perspective.

Please see this web site for the list of all workshops and some more complete biographies of speakers. These are being updated every day, so keep checking.

Please register now, as places are limited!

===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== =====

MIWC 2010 Newsletter  June 18, 2010

With eight weeks to go before the opening of the Montreal International Women’s Conference 2010 (MIWC), August 13-16, 2010, the organizing committees in the US and Canada send the following updates.

US-based Anti Imperialist Women’s Orgs Gear Up for Montreal 2010

US-based organizations from Seattle, New York and San Francisco have been gearing up their energy and combining efforts to field delegates and bring their issues to the Montreal International Women’s Conference on August 13 to 16, 2010. In the Bay Area, MAIZ (Movimiento de Acion, Inspirando Servicio / Movement of Action, Inspiring Service) and BABAE San Francisco have held an information session to invite representatives of their organizations to the conference; they will have another session at the end of June and a fundraiser in July.

Pinay Sa Seattle will lead a caravan across the country from the US Northwest to Montreal to share their communities’ struggles and victories. Some members of the Women of Diverse Origins from Montreal met with organizers in New York for a meeting in May to review and firm up the New York delegation to the conference. These include organizations and members of the Women’s Fightback Network and Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FIRE). Another session to invite more women and organizations will be held in NYC this Saturday, 6/19. As a country region, our biggest effort to garner momentum for Montreal is our workshop at the United States Social Forum (USSF) on June 23 in Detroit.

Members of Women of Diverse Origins – Montréal meet NYC organizing committee

Speakers and participants from the US include:

Ramona Africa, Minister of Communication for The MOVE Organization, (Black liberation group based in Philadelphia) former political prisoner and the sole adult survivor of May 13, 1985 government bombing and massacre of MOVE in Philadelphia.

Monica Moorehead is a Workers World Party secretariat member and a managing editor of Workers World newspaper which fights for and promotes socialism. Moorehead is an activist with the Women’s Fightback Network, which organizes annual International Working Women’s Day events in NYC.

Brenda Stokely is human rights activist dedicated to ending all forms of national oppression, racism, sexism and exploitation of workers. She co- founded and built several key organizations, including the 2004 Million Worker March Movement and NY Labor Against the War.

Ligia M. Gualpa, of the Latin American Workers Project (LAWP):

Members of the Toronto, Ontario organizing committee for MIWC 2010.

Toronto Organizing Committee encourages broad participation
The Toronto organizing committee for the conference is being led by the Migrant Women’s Coordinating Body, an anti-imperialist alliance of groups such as GABRIELA Ontario, Migrante-Ontario, BASICS Free Community Newsletter, Justicia for Migrant Workers, CUPE 4308, Canadian HART and individuals. Their preparations began around International Women’s Day 2010, with educational workshops, cultural events and the march. Planning efforts are encouraging broad participation of women from different progressive communities, organizations, institutions. So far, the Toronto delegation will be comprised of women workers, migrants, solidarity groups, community organizations and union representatives.
Toronto speakers include Shahrzad Mojab of the Iranian Women’s Organization of Ontario and Maru Maesa of the Independent Workers Association.
You can contact the Toronto organizing committee @:

Meanwhile, in Montreal the volunteers committee is giving much-needed support to the organizers in programming, logistics, communications and fundraising.

Montreal organizing committee members and volunteers

Confirmed speakers include:
Ellen Gabriel is president of Quebec Native Women’s Association. She grew up in Kanehsatà:ke, where she joined the members of her community in March 1990 as they erected barricades to protect The Pines from the expansion of a golf course in the municipality of Oka. She was chosen by the People of the Longhouse and then by her community to be a spokesperson for them during the 1990 Oka Crisis.
Edith Ballantyne of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF- Geneva), the oldest women’s peace organization established in 1915.
Nenita Gonzaga, Vice-President for Women’s Affairs, Kilusang Mayo Uno (May First Movement) Labour Centre, Philippines.

Eni Lestari, President of the International Migrants’ Alliance, speaking in Athens at the 2nd International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees.

Eni Lestari is an Indonesian migrant worker in Hong Kong, spokesperson for the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body, and President of the International Migrants’ Alliance.
Rajashri Dasgupta is an independent journalist based in Kolkata India specialising in issues related to gender, health, human rights and social movements.
Dr. Shree Mulay is a specialist in reproductive health and founding member of the South Asian Women’s Community Centre in Montreal.
Honourable Flor Marcelino, Minister of Culture, Heritage, Tourism and the Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism. A long-time community activist, Ms. Marcelino is the first woman of colour elected to the Manitoba Legislative Assembly, and the first visible minority to be included in the Manitoba provincial cabinet.
For more information, and to reserve your place at MIWC 2010, please see the conference website at

Please register now!
Your registration fee also contributes to funding the transportation of speakers from the Global South.

Montreal International Women’s Conference 2010
August 13-16, 2010

MIWC 2010 Newsletter, May 21, 2010

Preparations are in full swing for our major international women’s conference involving women from five continents to be held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada this August 13-16, 2010. The Montreal International Women’s Conference 2010 is an ambitious undertaking to mark the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day and is being organized by a global collective of women including the local group, Women of Diverse Origins.

The opening ceremonies will feature Ellen Gabriel, president of the Quebec Native Women, and the talented singing group, Odaya, a Native American drumming and singing group composed of five women belonging to different Nations (Saulteaux, Anishnabeg, Mohawk, Innu and Wendat).

The location of the conference has now been confirmed at Le 7400 Saint Laurent, at 7400 Saint Laurent Boulevard in Montreal with nearby public transport via the DeCastelnau Metro. The site includes comfortable residences for conference participants as well as meeting rooms and a large hall for plenary sessions.

The final day of the conference, August 16, will lead to the founding of the International Women’s Alliance.

The various committees and volunteers of the MIWC have been hard at work. Please find below some of the latest developments:

– Please see attached the new poster/banner/web graphic design for the conference. It was created by Dominique Azocar and Rafael Azocar , daughter-father team who are part of the Chilean musical group Acalanto. Carmen Pavez of the same group is a member of the Women of diverse origins network and has often performed for our events. See Acalanto website at:

– Another MIWC new tool is the blog dedicated to the conference: It was created for us by volunteer Forence So, IT consultant by day, and veejay by night. See her site at

Gabriela Philippines, one of the conference convenors, has just come out of an intensive campaign in the Philippine presidential elections May 10. The Gabriela Partylist garnered over one million votes to date, and the counting is not over yet. This could give them two or even three seats in the Congress.We hope to have one of these militant parliamentarians at our conference in August.

The Centre d’appui aux Philippines – Centre for Philippine Concerns CAP-CPC), one of the Conference organizers in Montreal, helped send a delegation of five to the People’s International Observers’ Mission for the May 10 elections in the Philippines. See the CAP-CPC blog:

– The Festival Accès-Asie is winding down its 15th annual edition in Montreal, showcasing Asian talent in Canada. Founder and Director Janet Lumb is a matron of honour of the MIWC Conference. Congratulations on a great festival, Janet!

– Members of the MIWC organizing committee from Montreal met with conference organizers in New York recently. The women from the U.S. are preparing to send a strong delegation to the conference. Watch for news about them on our blog. They are calling for coordinated solidarity actions on Saturday, May 29, 2010 to oppose the racist Arizona law requiring ID cards to prove citizenship.

The Mouvement contre le viol et l’inceste (Movement Against Rape and Incest – MCVI), a member group of our organizing committee in Montreal, helped gain an important victory in winning a stay of deportation for Sayon Camara Sow, a pregnant woman from Guinea-Conakry. Sayon, a refugee claimant in Montréal, Québec, had her appeal refused and was at the airport awaiting deportation when the deportation order was stayed. Many groups organized to point out that the Canadian government is grandstanding about its contributions to women’ health in Africa, and that Ottawa’s anti-abortion stand flies in the face of  the deportation order against this pregnant African woman in Canada. The MCVI is organizing the workshop on Women and Violence at the Montreal women’s conference.

– The controversy over Canada’s women and health in Africa program, which explicitly excludes any assistance for abortion (although half of all deaths of pregnant women in in the world are in southern Africa and many are due to botched illegal abortions), will be discussed in the Workshop on Women and Health at the Montreal conference. This will include interventions by experts on reproductive health such as Dr. Shree Mulay, a member of our Matrons of Honour committee.

– MIWC coordinator Tess Tesalona met with women’s and migrant justice groups in Mexico during two recent trips to that country. They will be sending participants to the Montreal International Women’s Conference, particularly for the workshop about Women and Migration. More details to follow.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s