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
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
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
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
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
i. Ensuring that women are visible as leaders of
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
iv. Not overburdening a small number of women with
so many tasks that they become “burnt out” and are forced to withdraw from
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.