Documents : Thirteenth World Congress - 1991
The development of a policy of positive action means the development of a general policy and not of isolated measures. A general policy to fight against the “natural” dynamic of exclusion. In that sense, it is obviously artificial since the “natural” means the exclusion of women. Here we can say that the first condition lies with the alteration of the relation of strength. To this aim we need not only to develop a general programmatic and political integration but also to develop a conscious policy to change our functioning, to ensure a fundamental policy of integration of women in the leadership and leadership tasks. We, women and men in political parties have known for a long time that real changes do not occur if there are no changes in the leaderships.
Added to this it is fundamental for the building of the strength of women to be able to organise internally in all the ways necessary to the various objectives of building our strength: in numerical terms, in terms of the organizational conditions, of the development of solidarity amongst women. Implementation of only one measure, whichever it is, as the solution to the problem, has a limited effect.
However, it is important to give some ideas on possible measures to be included in such a policy:
Organizing our feminist work
i. Creating and/or strengthening women’s commissions in the sections.
ii. Strengthening bodies that exist to organise the women’s liberation work in the International and encouraging regional organizing among women in the FI.
iii. Regularly discussing women’s liberation work on leading bodies and taking collective responsibility for any problems that arise. Disagreements and differences among women will emerge and should not be viewed as unhealthy. They do not have to be hidden from the organization as a whole.
iv. Inviting members of women’s commissions to discussions of the leadership if they are not members of the relevant body.
i. Placing a high priority on education, debate and analysis of women’s liberation issues for all members and ensuring that some understanding of these issues is central to the criteria for recruitment.
ii. Organising educational events in which women play an equal or majority role. Ensuring that styles of delivery are not so traditional that they discourage women and less experienced comrades from participating.
iii. The European schools/extended fraction meetings have been relatively successful given the small resources put into building them and because they bring together comrades who have experience in organising over a long period with younger comrades who are today leading the youth organizations.
iv. The educational aspect of the Latin American fraction meetings has been important in developing a common understanding between the comrades of a certain number of theoretical and political questions. This type of initiative should continue in these two regions and be extended to others when possible.
v. The first international FI women’s seminar was successful. We must ensure that the second is equally so.
Party image and profile
i. Ensuring the press has articles by and about women - and covers issues of particular concern to women. Pamphlets and other publications need to have a feminist profile.
ii. Ensuring that we have recruitment campaigns aimed at women.
i. Ensuring that women are visible as leaders of the organization.
ii. Encouraging the development of young women as political leaders in the youth organizations and sections.
iii. Taking time to train women in branches and national leadership responsibilities so that they feel competent in the tasks they perform.
iv. Not overburdening a small number of women with so many tasks that they become “burnt out” and are forced to withdraw from activity.
v. Making knowledge of, and interest in, questions of women’s liberation a criteria for participation in the leadership.
General behaviour and functioning
i. Having a code of practice that specifically outlaws forms of sexual intimidation and violence.
ii. Avoiding sexist language and jokes.
iii. Organising meetings that allow for maximum participation through adequate preparation of chairing and speaking procedures that ensure equal rights to all participants.
iv. Taking account of the problems of parents with children in planning national and local events.
v. There is a need to place a higher value on developing a convivial atmosphere in our political activity, eg having socials at political events.