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Women’s Rights World: The Key Issues Worldwide -Part 1

The following is on major issues or concerns facing the women's rights movement worldwide.  It is adapted from the Association for Women in Development (AWID). It is titled Key Questions for the Call for Participation.

Key Questions for the Call for Participation

Women's Rights and Economic Change
This sub-theme tackles how we can work collectively to enhance and strengthen women's rights in a globalized world.

* What is a feminist "re-invention" of economic globalization? What are the real economic development alternatives that will lead to a socially just life for all women, men and their families?

* What are the pitfalls and opportunities in using special tools like international human rights instruments to counteract the negative impacts of globalization on women's rights? How are women organizing, and what is the practical work that is currently being undertaken? How can we build the skills that are needed to counteract the negative impacts of globalization, or expand its benefits?

* What are the feminist agendas and principles with regard to re-inventing globalization? How do we integrate an analysis based on the intersection of other identities such as race and class? In addition, how can we ensure a holistic approach that incorporates reproductive rights on one hand, and basic needs on the other?

Young Women and Leadership
This sub-theme seeks to build young women's transformative leadership and articulate intergenerational visions for women's rights and development in the context of globalization.

* What are the challenges and opportunities in building inter-generational women's movements? How do we build the skills and capacities of young women to be transformative leaders in the context of globalization?

* What inspires young women to affect change in a globalized world? What contributions are young women making to ensure their rights and achieve sustainable development?

* What impact does the current process of globalization have on the identities and cultures of young women? What are the effects of globalization on young women's rights, including sexual and reproductive rights?

Gender Equality and New Technologies
This sub-theme addresses how new technologies can support or hinder the advancement of women's rights.

* How can women's movements ensure that the development of new communication, reproductive, biological, or agricultural technologies moves forward in an ethical and inclusive manner?

* How is globalization affecting women's intellectual property rights, especially within indigenous communities? What skills or analyses are needed to guarantee that these rights are protected?

* What are the consequences of the commodification of life forms such as genetically engineered agriculture, animal cloning and gene patenting, to women's rights and development?

--Feminist Organizational Development--

This sub-theme examines how we transform our own organizations, and how we organize in a globalized world.

* What are the organizational implications of achieving women's rights in a globalized world? Conceivably, organizations need new strategies and capacities, as well as better analyses, models and tools. What are these and how can they be built?

* How do we work across our diversities, balance priorities, and co-ordinate our strategies and actions? For example, how do feminists organize more strategically and more collectively against the ever-strengthening conservative right? How do we build mutually beneficial alliances with men to ensure human rights for all? How do we construct productive alliances with other socially progressive rights movements?

* Has gender and development practice become depoliticized as a result of the professionalization of the NGO community, the privatization of development work or the prioritization of the funder's agenda? How is this affecting feminist activism and organizing? How can we "re-invent" this global phenomenon?

Women's Rights and the New Global Order
This sub-theme examines women's rights and new forms of governance, political processes and institutional transformation within globalization.

* How has the new role of the state, the decentralization of power and the new forms of governance within globalization affected women's rights and development? What kind of re-invention is required to ensure that gender equality is an inherent part of local and global institutional change?

* What are the links between growing religious, nationalist or ethnic fundamentalism, globalization, and an increased threat to women's rights?

* Is increased corporate power under globalization escalating armed conflicts, development- induced displacement, forced migration, and violence against women and children? What needs to be re-invented to ensure long-term peace, human rights and social justice?

(Association for Women in Development (AWID), “Key Questions for the Call for Participation,” at the Human Rights Internet (HRI) website, www.hri.ca/women/news/index/awid.shtml, (accessed January 2008)

Women’s Rights World: The Issues Worldwide -Part 2

The following is another set of points on the major issues or concerns facing the women's rights movement worldwide. It is adapted from the Asian Human Rights Commission. The key concerns are a summary from an international conference hosted by the Association for Women in Development (AWID) in Washington, D.C. in November 1999, under the theme "leading solutions for equality and justice."

 1. Women transforming development and economics

  • Where and how have women been able to challenge and transform development and current economic policies? Is there a feminist model of development?
  • Are gender equality and social justice ultimately achievable within capitalism as it is practised today?
  • How can the human rights of women living in transitional economies be guaranteed?

2. Trading Women's Human Rights

  • Does the human rights framework provide an adequate model to achieve gender equality and social justice in this era of free trade?
  • What do economists and human rights activists have to learn from each other?
  • What are the links between fundamentalism and women's human rights?

3. Leadership and the next generation

  • How can we foster and support leadership for equality and justice?
  • What would it take for more young women to identify with and become active in the global women's movement?
  • How do young women want to transform the women's movement or development practice?

4. Women Organising and Organisational Transformation

  • What is feminist about women organising?
  • How can we affect the way that power is exercised in organisations to promote gender equality and social justice?
  • How can institutions, whether private, government, voluntary, or funding, be held accountable for gender equality and social justice?

5. Technological changes and choices

  • What are the impacts of new technologies on women? How can technology be used to promote gender equality and social justice?
  • How are new technologies undermining intellectual property rights and indigenous knowledge systems? How can these rights and knowledge systems be protected?
  • How do we challenge the increasing North-South technological divide?
  • How can we ensure that technology transfer promotes equality?

6. Politics of the Global Women's Movement

  • Can feminism address today's global problems?
  • What have we really achieved and at what cost? Have we sold out? Where do we go from here?
  • What does the women's movement need to do to challenge the global trend of economic and political conservatism?

(Asian Human Rights Commission, “Women's Rights: Leading Solutions for Equality and Peace,” http://www.hrsolidarity.net/mainfile.php/2000vol10no01/169/ (accessed January 2008)

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