Program (English)

MONTREAL INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S CONFERENCE 2010 PROGRAM TOPICS & SPEAKERS

August 13-16, 2010

PLENARY TOPICS:

Keynote Topic: MOVING FORWARD THE MILITANT GLOBAL WOMEN’S MOVEMENT IN THE 21ST CENTURY

This Plenary will address the historical struggle of women against oppression and exploitation by the ruling class and the imperialist powers. Participants will look at the current state of the women’s movement, the challenges being faced and how to move it forward taking advantage of the current political, economic and social situation in the world.  The goal: advancing a militant, global women’s movement in the 21st Century in the midst of the global economic and financial crisis, imperialist wars and violence against women. It will also touch on the history and achievements of the women’s movement during the last 100 years, as well as the setbacks and difficulties encountered. This workshop will portray to the international character of the women’s movement, 2010 being the centennial of the International Women’s Day.

Plenary 2 – IMPERIALIST GLOBALIZATION AND IT’S IMPACT ON WOMEN

Discussion will be on the global economic situation, how imperialism and patriarchy have impacted and oppressed women. It will look into the historical and current oppression of women. It will also discuss the analysis of the economic crisis and its impact on women.

Plenary 3- WOMEN’S RESISTANCE TO OPPRESSION AND EXPLOITATION

This Plenary will address various models/strategies of resistance by women in the national liberation movements, women in socialist countries, and other forms of struggles. It will also look at women’s resistance to imperialism and the need to build an anti-imperialist women’s movement.

Plenary 4 – BUILDING ALTERNATIVES

This Plenary will discuss various alternatives in addressing the challenges/struggles of women and the roots of their problems. It will also address patriarchy and imperialism.

WORKSHOP TOPICS

1. WOMEN WORKERS FIGHTING EXPLOITATION

This workshop will discuss the oppressive conditions of women working for transnational corporations in sweatshops, in free trade processing zones and other work places. It will also address their struggles against union busting, subcontracting, and other practices that oppress women like sexual harassment, menstrual checks and pregnancy tests, etc. It will describe the strategies of resistance waged by women in trade unions and other forms of organizing and future outlooks.

2. WOMEN AND MIGRATION

Workshop 2 will discuss the international policies encouraging the outflow of people, particularly women, and the oppressive and exploitative conditions they face in the host countries because of their temporary status or lack of status. The feminization of migration will be discussed, with the social impact of separation on families and children. Conditions of women in the Live-in caregiver Program in Canada and other temporary worker programs will be discussed, including how the various governments institutionalize practices through immigration and labour practices to benefit from their labour and to maintain them in their oppressive and exploited situations. It will discuss the National Security agenda of various countries and it’s impact on women including deportation and criminalization of women migrants and refugees and their families. It will describe the social impact of family separation on children and marital break-up. The workshop will also address the struggles and strategies of resistance tha women are undertaking as well as future outlooks.

3. WOMEN FIGHTING RACISM, DISCRIMINATION and GENOCIDE

This workshop will address the systemic racism and genocide used to strengthen the ruling majorities in countries like Sri Lanka against Tamils and Israel/Palestine and even Canada against its indigenous peoples. It will also discuss racist and discriminatory practices like racial profiling, non-accreditation of professionals, police brutality and other practices.The workshop will also focus on the struggles and forms of resistances waged by women and future outlooks.

4. THE STRUGGLES OF INDIGENOUS WOMEN

The workshop will describe the struggles of indigenous women all over the world and the development aggression on their lands. It will describe the various forms of repression they experience such as human rights violations, discrimination, displacements, and wars of aggressions. It will discuss the struggles they have waged and strategies of resistances they have used.

5. WOMEN RESISTING WARS and IMPERIALIST AGGRESSIONS

Workshop 5 will describe the conditions of women in occupied territories, or where there are wars of aggressions, ethnic cleansing such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Africa, Sri Lanka, Philippines etc. It will discuss the violence women experience such as the situation of women political prisoners. It will discuss the displacement of refugees of wars as well as the struggles and strategies of resistances these women wage.

6. WOMEN AND RELIGION

This workshop will discuss the conditions of women oppressed by religious fundamentalism and imperialism. It will discuss liberation theology and the role of progressive people within the Churches. As well, it will examine the various religious-based organizing, progressive/liberation movements done by women, their struggles and strategies of resistances they have utilized to fight for their rights.

7. WOMEN’S SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND IDENTITIES

Workshop 7 will discuss women’s sexual orientation and their right to control their bodies, their conditions, their marginalization, their discrimination, their being misunderstood and oppression when they choose a different sexual orientation other than the mainstream. It will discuss the organizing, the struggles and strategies of resistances they have utilized.

8. WOMEN AND HEALTH

The workshop will address the conditions of women in underdeveloped countries where access to health services is almost nil especially due to the global trend in privatizing health services. It will also discuss the growing trend in developed countries where the social network is diminishing due to the privatization of health services. Participants will discuss the gains made in reproductive health and the non-availability of these in most poor countries, and the attacks made by right–wing and fundamentalist forces. It will discuss the organizing done by women, their struggles and strategies of resistance they have employed.

9. VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

Workshop 9 will discuss the gender biases and the continuing lack of equal opportunities for women. It will discuss domestic and state violence experienced by women. It will discuss the multiple discrimination experienced by women especially those from developing countries when they are “forced” to take on jobs like prostitution or become mail order brides to support their families. Participants will discuss their struggles, their organizing and strategies of resistance they have used.

10. WOMEN’S EXPERIENCES WITH SOCIALISM AND NATIONAL LIBERATION MOVEMENTS

The workshop will discuss the experiences of women from Nepal, Philippines, Cuba, Latin America and other revolutionary struggles. It will discuss their organizing, their struggles, and the strategies of resistance they have used and the gains women made after the revolutions. It will discuss the link between the struggle for women’s liberation and the overall people’s struggles for liberation and social justice.

11. WOMEN RESISTING DEVELOPMENTAL AGGRESSION

This workshop will address the concrete manifestation of imperialist aggression both in the mining projects and other forms of so-called development for foreign multinationals and local elites, how it impacts on the communities – in terms of displacement, loss of agricultural land, destruction of livelihood, environmental degradation and violation of people’s economic, social cultural and political rights. While mining companies and multilateral bodies promote and support extractive industry, claiming it fuels economic growth and community development, affected communities, primarily women, debunk these claims and instead expose the destructive impact of these activities in their communities. Women are organizing at the local, national and international levels to stop development aggression and save their land and environment.

12. WOMEN FROM THE PEASANTRY/ RURAL LANDS

The majority of the world’s population are the peasantry, also the poorest sections of the population in the global South. This workshop will discuss the struggles and challenges of peasant women, particularly their displacement from their lands. It will discuss the strategies they use in organizing and addressing the root cause of their oppression.

Note: Speakers and Sponsors will be announced shortly.

Prepared by: MIWC Program Committee

2010.03.13 (with update 2010.07.08)

16 Responses to Program (English)

  1. I have worked on behalf of women, children and men in US prisons since 1975. My primary focus is the use of torture, isolation and devices of torture. I have spoken before the UN Committee on Women in an attempt to encourage them to include a focus on the experience of women in prisons all over the world. I have also spent many years working on behalf of women (many of whom were imprisoned as a result of their anti-imperialist practices and beliefs) and men political prisoners in the US who come primarily from the movements of my generation’s attempt at social revolution in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. I am so grateful for this gathering.

    • miwc2010 says:

      Dear Bonnie,

      Thanks so much for writing. I hope you will be able to make it to our conference. We have a large delegation of women coming from across the U.S. Please see our recent newsletter about them. If you are in the U.S., perhaps you could hook up with them.

      Best regards, Marie

  2. melissa says:

    Im just wondering what topics will be covered on which days.

    • miwc2010 says:

      Hello Melissa,
      We are working hard on finalizing the program schedule and should have it up by early next week.
      Hope to have you with us!

      • Marie Boti says:

        Hey Melissa,

        Please check out the Conference Schedule on the website – under Program.

  3. Donna says:

    Are there alternative options for housing? Our delegates are working on a tight budget. We were hoping to find alternative housing options, whether at a nearby hostel, or possibly being housed by conference hosts, if at all feasible. Any information you can share would be greatly appreciated.

    • Marie Boti says:

      Hi Donna,
      We are aware of everyone’s monetary concerns and have tried to keep the registration as low as we could.
      If you are coming as part of a group, and have the discount registration of $275, your lodging comes to about $40 a day; you have the advantage of being right on the site of the conference, with no travel time and costs (the subway station is a 5min. walk away if you want to go downtown). You’ll be with 100 wonderful women from around the world – a unique opportunity for networking. The registration fee also help to cover the costs of the conference and support the transportation of speakers from the global South.
      Spaces are limited so we encourage you to register now.

      Marie

  4. Paulina says:

    How does culture play in all these issues? It seems to me that culture and the arts are always left behind. What is the role of culture in the pervasion of these issues?

  5. Laurie Duncan says:

    I was hoping to attend the conference, but require some more information on the details. Is there a number I can call and speak to someone?

    Any help is appreciated.

    Thanks.
    Laurie

    • Marie Boti says:

      Dear Paulina,

      You are so right-culture is often neglected at cause-oriented meetings and we do not want that to happen at the Montreal International Women’s Conference.

      Here is what we have scheduled so far:
      – the aboriginal women’s drumming group ODAYA will play during the opening ceremonies of the conference on Friday, August 13, the women’s group FIRE from New York is also preparing a short presentation;
      – Solidarity Night on Sunday, August 15, will feature cultural presentations from most of the country delegations. We will have representatives from 19 countries, so events like this are always unique experiences of discovery and exchange of the culture of resistance from around the world.
      – Saturday, August 14 – in the evening we will have the premiere of a new documentary made by the marriage migrants of Trans-Asia Sisters from Taiwan.
      We have a cultural committee being formed to coordinate these and other presentations. We also have a media committee which will coordinate on-site media coverage of the conference for various community media;

      If you have talents in the cultural field, Paulina, you are welcome to join us and volunteer your skills! Hope you will be with us at the Conference!

      Marie

  6. I’m an online volunteer consultant for an African NGO in Sierra Leone – HURRARC, which has recently initiated a women’s project – COGENDER.
    Please see the wbsite HURRARC.com for more information.
    Will your agenda give any priority to the problems of West African women (among the most economically deprived in the world) ?
    Sierra Leone women have practically the highest rates in the world of maternal deaths at childbirth and feminine genital mutilation (FGM).
    Will you have a speaker from West Africa?

  7. Judy de los Santos says:

    We will not be able to attend the conference but are very much interested in obtaining materials that will be discussed. Will the presentations be made available online or can be requested afterwards? Also, can you confirm if the conference will be repeated in the future? We are interested in attending future events and would like to be prepared monetarily and logistically. Thank you for your time.

  8. Sylvia Goldfarb says:

    Dear Marie and team–Bravo–I applaud you all on organizing this excellent conference and inviting such wonderful speakers.
    I understand that this must have been costly with all the international speakers etc. and understand you have discounts or deals for organizations as it seems to be geared towards groups and that makes sense.
    However, for individuals $50 a day is quite out of many people’s budgets…so sadly, I (and I am sure other individuals) won’t be able to attend and will miss out on a wonderful conference!
    Congrats nonetheless! Sylvia

    • malcguy says:

      Dear Sylvia,

      We have been very sensitive to the question of people’s budgets and have encouraged people to group together to come up with the funds. Also we have a group rate for organizations (5 or more people from the same group) and a student rate.

      Thank you for your support and comments, they are always welcome!

      Marie Boti, for the MIWC organizers

  9. Shirin Tavallaey says:

    It sounds GREAT! But why did you announce it so late? I can never manage to be there in such short notice. It is already August the 6th and ….
    To let you know about me: I was born and bred in Teheran, Iran. I moved to Sweden in 1983 and I live here ever since. I have been an activist since I was 18 years old. Both in Iran and here in Sweden I was engaged in the movement. I was with Marche mondiale des femmes in Brussels, ESF 2003 Paris, and Women towards different Europe in Romania.
    I love to know more about you. Please keep in touch in future.
    Wish you a very successful conference
    love
    Shirin

    • malcguy says:

      Dear Shirin,

      We are sorry you heard about our conference so late, but appreciate your enthusiasm and support. Please stay in touch, there will be more events organized by the International Women’s Alliance that we will be forming this August 16.

      Marie Boti, for the MIWC organizers.

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