IV Online magazine : IV369 - July-August? 2005

Mediterranean Social Forum: Womens Assembly meets

X http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article840 (external link)

At the Mediterranean Social Forum (FSMed), Catalan and Italian activists from the World March of Women pressed for a plenary session devoted to the question of women’s rights in the Mediterranean. A woman from Iraq spoke on the terrible situation created by the war, for everybody but particularly for women, whether in US prisons or as victims of sexual aggression.

A Palestinian woman who works as a psychologist in the occupied territories gave a moving explanation of how the second intifada has worsened the situation of women. In addition to the violence of the occupation, conjugal violence is on the rise, with men, often humiliated by the occupation and their situation (unemployment and extreme poverty) taking it out against women. Another intervention concerned the impact of neoliberalism on the situation of women, particularly in the developing countries with the deleterious consequences of structural adjustment plans in the areas of education and health and for women.

The contradictory character of economic neoliberalism on the situation of women was stressed, in that across the world (apart from sub-Saharan Africa) women have entered massively into the sphere of wage labour, which gives them greater autonomy although they are concentrated in the most insecure forms of work (super-exploitation in the workplaces and development of informal work). An assembly of women was also held during the FSMed. Several hundred people attended and the organizers were surprised by the high attendance. This exchange was very rich, with women from Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Palestine, Tunisia (and again many who did not get visas to attend the FSMed) discussing their lives and experiences and, for some, issues concerning immigration. These debates allowed the drawing up of a Declaration of the Women’s Assembly of the First Social Forum of the Mediterranean.

A.L.

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