MONTREAL INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S CONFERENCE 2010 PROGRAM TOPICS & SPEAKERS
August 13-16, 2010
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.
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)