Feminist participation in European Social Forum

Nadia De Mond [demond@manitese.it]


Dear friends,


As you probably know at the end of November there will be a European edition of the World Social Forum in Italy (Florence). The building of a feminist presence inside the antiglobalisation movement is one of the three main axes of the World March of Women. As we did with success in Porto Alegre, we will try to make our voices heard and our analysis discussed on the occasion of the European Social Forum.

During our next meeting of the European coordination of the WMW in Rome on June the 1st and 2nd, we will have the opportunity to further discuss this theme but in the meanwhile the preparation of the ESF is advancing and we need to make proposals for the programme structure and contents (and names for the conferences) if we want to actively participate in the preparation.

The proposal of the Italian working group is to maintain more or less the same structure as in the WSF in Porto Alegre, that is:

- the ESF would take 5 days, of which 3 complete ones would be centered on the following themes: liberalism/globalisation; peace/war; democracy/citizenship; on the last day, there will be a large demonstration in the streets of Florence

- each morning there will be 3 to 5 parallel conferences to elaborate these major themes

- other major axes such as: the role of Europe in the world, social Europe, gender analysis, multicultural Europe, cross through all the big themes

- in the early afternoon there will be seminars which present campaigns and networks and workshops, proposed by the participating groups

- in the late afternoon there could be "testimonies", "open windows on the world", special meetings, etc.

- in the evening we will have cultural activities.


From next week a working group is going to start work on a Charter of social and civil rights which will be presented during the ESF itself. I think it includes a critique of the Nice Charta but goes well beyond this.

It would be important to have any analysis you have already made on this point of a feminist point of view circulating.


In this proposal for the programme I think it is evident that we will organise a Seminar to present the WMW and try to have as much presence as possible in the main conferences in the morning. The question is HOW? Have you got any ideas on the titles of conferences to propose or on the names of advocates?


For example I think we should certainly present our analysis and proposals on

- the application of neoliberal recipes on the European labour market where women are concerned: precarity, empowerment, overload of work, and its link with the demolition of the welfare state, "new" role of the family,..

- "globalisation of reproduction", integration of female immigrants as a working force, exploitation, contradictions between women, potentialities,...

- the opposition of women towards militarization, war, culture of violence, ..

- civil rights have to include the right of autodetermination on the body, free choice for every individual in their emotional and sexual life,...

-  the double deficit of democracy (not only gender) in the EU institutions and its politics

These are only some ideas; we need many more.


A new working meeting will be held in Vienna to prepare the ESF on the 11th and 12th of May, open to everyone. I hope many of you can come and participate or send me your suggestions. Please let me hear from you.


Warm greetings,

Nadia De Mond