“The fight against imperialist wars is part of the struggles we engage in against all forms of oppression and violence, and for women to be considered first-class citizens in every nation,” said Marcia Campos, the Brazilian president of the WIDF, at the inauguration of the congress.
The WIDF was founded in 1945, influenced by socialist movements, with the aim of organising and mobilising women’s groups and coalitions to work for the causes of peace and equal rights for women.
“After the break-up of the socialist bloc, some people thought that it would take a long time for social movements to recover, but we re-emerged quickly and vigorously in the new hub of world revolution, which is Latin America,” communist leader and president of the Venezuelan state Institute for Women Maria Leon told IPS.
Since last Sunday, the congress working groups have addressed issues such as the negative impact of globalisation, state terrorism and imperialist wars, and building international solidarity against political repression and all forms of violence against women.
Other debates have focused on progress towards equal rights for women in terms of employment, health, education, social security and overcoming hunger; the rights of indigenous and Afro- descendant women in the Americas; and human trafficking and treatment of women, children and teenagers.
National struggles were also discussed. For instance, the Puerto Rico Committee at the United Nations (COPRONU) proposed “breaking down the wall of silence surrounding the island’s struggle for independence,” one of its leaders, Wilma Reveron, told IPS.
“The political changes occurring in Latin America – in
Fatime Larosi, who lives in a refugee camp in western
“We still have a long way to go to strengthen women’s role in political decision-making,” da Silva told IPS.
Although 13 percent of Angolan members of parliament are women, women hold only 2.5 percent of the decision-making positions in the executive branch.
The Angolan constitution “enshrines equal rights and equality of opportunity, but we still have a long way to go, especially in building up the education base, so that many more women get a higher education,” da Silva said.
In countries like
Walda Barrios-Klee, the president of UNAMG, is standing as MAIZ’s candidate for the vice presidency of
The struggle against globalising capitalism and its effects on indigenous peoples was stressed by participants like Hilaria Supa Huaman, an indigenous Peruvian member of parliament. “We oppose violence, and most of all we oppose the violence that the
“We want an end to war, because it kills people and nature, and brings about climate change,” Supa Huaman emphasised. “As small farmers and indigenous people, we are opposed to pollution of rivers and land, and to measures like those taken by (President) Alan Garcia’s government, which bombs our coca leaf fields.”
The WIDF congress “is another ally helping indigenous people to defend our customs, languages, ceremonies, music, typical dress, and respect for nature,” Supa Huaman said, after which she joined Venezuelan indigenous lawmaker Noheli Pocaterra to tell stories to 20 or so indigenous young people from Venezuela.
The WIDF event was held in facilities located in
The congress will conclude Friday with a march in solidarity with the Chavez administration, and the adoption of a final document which will record the main demands that have been presented,