The world seems to be in turmoil, and Europe is deeply affected as economic and political power is reconfiguring on a global scale. The recent Brexit is an expression of the deep divide in many countries, with right-wing populism on the rise. Years of austerity and market liberalisation politics have increased the social and economic precarity and feelings of insecurity. The lack of political transparency and democratic decision making resulted in a loss of credibility of both national governments and the EU. The potential of the EU as a peaceful, democratic, social and open-border model of cooperation is under threat. In view of the humanitarian crises in the EU neighbourhood which have forced millions of people to flee from their countries, Europe´s main answer is to build new fences to stop them.
Women In Development Europe+ (WIDE+) and the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) are organizing this two-day international conference to develop a consistent feminist analysis on these global developments faced by Europe. Panels and workshops will explore the ways in which social justice, gender equality and women’s rights are affected, sacrificed or squeezed.
By organizing this conference, WIDE+ and EWL also react to the widespread feeling that Europe needs a real departure from current policy remedies and neoliberal economic solutions. The conference aims at shaping strategies for policy intervention, thinking out of the neoliberal box and countering neo-conservative and right-wing political forces. Responses in and by Europe also need to integrate alternative economic perspectives that decrease inequalities and discrimination globally. The adoption of global environmental and social goals, formulated in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), may provide some signposts.
The conference will be a space for civil society, women’s rights experts, activists and policy makers to deepen and broaden their understanding of the current situation in Europe from a feminist perspective in an international exchange with women’s human rights activists from the Global South who have been dealing with similar challenges for a long time. The conference will also start a process of building momentum toward constructive criticism and joint political action beyond the conference, through encouraging constituencies and potential allies to take on board feminist perspectives in their future activities and agendas.
The conference is made financially possible through support of Heinrich Böll Stiftung (HBF), Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) and Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (RLS) who are co-organizers. The conference will be held at Chant d’Oiseau, Avenue des Franciscains 3A, Brussels on 24 and 25 October, 2016.
More information will follow.