Creating Spaces for joint reflection and strategizing
The WIDE+ Feminist Movement Building Working Group works together to provide spaces for transnational feminist collaboration and reflection in Europe on key themes and questions we are faced with at this moment, such as: “how to make our feminist visions heard in public spaces, while being protected from online violence and restrictions from politicians?”, or: “how can we make an intersectional feminist approach tangible?”.
Activities: in general, programmatic development of online or face-to-face spaces around key strategic questions within feminisms that link global developments to European trends; preparation to face to face events. Currently the group is working to develop a large European Feminist Forum that we aim for 2024.
Who: for feminists within WIDE+ and interested academics, activists, associations, etc.; women, men, young persons, LGBTQI* feminists, etc.
How: regular online meetings of an hour, around 6 per year; participation in preparation to online events for which ad-hoc groups can be formed (for example participation as moderator, developing programme, speaker, etc.).
You are much invited to join the feminist movement working group as a volunteer, or join as a WIDE+ member. For further information, kindly inquire: Gea Meijers at firstname.lastname@example.org
Activities in 2022:
On International Women’s Day 2022 WIDE+ co-organized its first online event initiated by Gender Concern International with Ukrainian feminists to reflect on the war by the Russian regime against Ukraine. In the past year WIDE+ has (co-)organized 7 other online events with Belarusian feminists, pacifist feminists in Russia, other feminists in Ukraine, feminist peace activists such as from Colombia and former Yugoslavia and feminist activists in the South.
We are concerned that this war by Russia and other armed conflict combined with the spiral of armament will lead to a mindset in which decision-makers see increased warfare as the only option forward. Measures that promote peace remain essential, as the EU needs to strategise for the long-term future. Peace must be achieved within a rights-based framework of human and ecological security, decent work and living conditions, access to democratic governance for everyone and equality from a gendered intersectional perspective. We wrote a letter about this to the European Parliament and European Commission. The network therefor send a public letter with our concerns to the president of the European Parliament and members of the European Commission
Roberta Metsola, the president of the EU Parliament responded to WIDE+’s letter to promote peace in Ukraine and beyond. In the letter she suggests that the Parliament agrees with many of our recommendations, in particular stressing the important role of women and local civil society in addressing the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and in peacebuilding. She responds: “The European Parliament strongly agrees that there can be no promotion of peace, nor peace building, without taking gender-equality into account both in the short and long term measures to respond to conflict situations“.
Further information: the letter to the European Parliament on behalf of our network and the reply:
Video available of Webinar: “How women and feminists in Belarus became enemies of the state”, 15 March 2022
“Voices of (anti-war) feminists from Russia today”, Report of a dialogue with four women activists in Russia
Recording available from seminar: “A Feminist Perspective on financing Militarization”
Video available of online Seminar: “The impact of the war in Ukraine on Women Globally, Voices from the Global South”
Recording available of Seminar: “Learned lessons from feminist led peace processes”, 12 September 2022
An overall report on the webinars is still following.
Activities in 2021:
In the WIDE+ series: “COVID19 and care: feminist reflections on a new normal”, three online webinars were organised:
“COVID19 and the care economy: what do we see, what do we call for?“, 24 February 2021
“Global Care Chains and Vulnerabilities in the COVID19 Crisis”, 3 March 2021
“Authoritarian Regimes using COVID19 to curb civic rights, labour standards and women’s rights”, 10 March 2021
Activities in 2020: Launch of interview series and mapping on feminist movements & struggles
This new series of in-depth interviews explores womxns’ experiences of resisting and promoting feminist ideals. The series is the result of the work carried out by social movement scholar Jennifer Ramme and her team of students in the context of the seminar on social protests and gender regimes at the European University Viadrina in 2019. They are published in collaboration with WIDE+. In the interviews, the activists talk about the issues they struggle with in various places in the world, though most articles focus on informal movements in Europe and Latin America.
The series is edited by Jennifer Ramme and is also part of a newly-formed social archive project (currently in Polish, but in other languages at a later stage) documenting feminist initiatives and struggles. Interviews available at the site movementsarchive.wordpress.com to which more interviews are added:
- Peace Mothers (Turkey, Kurdistan and Germany) – “It is our pain that brought us together”
- Non Una Di Meno (Italy) – “Together we gain strength to change what is wrong with society”
- Women*Strike Committee Berlin – “Does anyone really believe that equality exists in Germany?”
- Proceder / Ni Una Menos (Colima, Mexico) – “If you’re an activist and you don’t have hope, you’re in deep trouble”
- Tbilisi Pride (Georgia) – “That situation for LGBTQI* people in Georgia makes you feel like a secondary citize and a person deprived of basic rights”
- Insight (Ukraine) – “We urge absolutely all women to join us, because we believe in women’s solidarity” (in English and Ukrainian).
This briefing paper is the result of a review of feminist organizing in Europe carried out by the WIDE+ network. We held this review as we experienced fragmentation between feminist initiatives and groups. While some international spaces exist, there is no encompassing space for feminists to work together on strategies in Europe from a collective shared vision. Similarly, there is no network that connects all the diversity of feminist action and identities.We present here conclusions from the in-depth interviews with feminists working in national and local contexts, as a source of inspiration and reflection for other feminists, without claiming that the observations from the interviews can be generalized.
Image by @MargaRH