WSF Eve: Transforming Democracy - Feminist Visions and Strategies Print E-mail

Pambazuka News at the WSF 2007, January 22 2007

Feminist Charter of Principles

The launching of the Charter of Feminists Principles for African Feminists at the 3rd International Feminist Dialogue marks a major contribution by the African Feminist Forum (AFF) and the larger feminist movement to the on-going world social forum. The AFF took place last year in Ghana and this space was created as an autonomous space in which African feminists from all walks of life and at different levels including local levels and the academia, could reflect on a collective basis and chart ways to strengthen and grow the feminists movement on the continent.

Mercy Siame an activist from Zambia sees the launch as a breakthrough in African feminism and encouraged other feminists to rally behind it and support it. “It may be difficult for the AFF to be accepted. We should spend more time and explain the ideologies to the people especially our leaders”. Director Coalition of African Lesbians, Fikile Vilakazi a first time participant to the International Feminist Dialogue is amazed that the space has rallied people from different background of fundamentalism. She says she has learned a lot on the situation of women in conflict situations and issues on gender based violence which she say is a different experience from her native South Africa.

The International Feminist Dialogue was held prior to the WSF from 17th to 19th January 2007 under the theme “Transforming Democracy: Feminist Visions and Strategies”. Over 250 women from different parts of the World attended to deepen the intensive dialogues on feminist perspectives and strategies in addressing fundamentalisms, militarism and neo-liberal globalisation. In organizing the third International Feminist Dialogues, the Coordinating Group (CG) created a vital space for critical minded feminist activists to re-examine, re-imagine and move forward the vital political project of feminist movement building and new forms of democratic processes.

The setting of the WSF in Africa in January 2007 offers a strategic space for feminists to come together in their broad diversity to explore the current moment, their differences and common ground, and their role in the larger social movements. Feminist Dialogues (FD) is a transnational meeting of feminist networks and organizations usually held before the WSF being one such space for this kind of strategic dialogue. The pre-WSF meeting is meant to promote effective intervention in the broader WSF process as feminists organizing for change, and to establish strategic and politically relevant links with other social movements. The first FD was held in Mumbai in January 2003, the second in Porto Alegre, Brazil and the third now in Nairobi, Kenya.

By Brenda Zulu - Panos