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ILC at the 2012 AWID Forum

Posted in Access to and control of resources on November 1st, 2012 by

The 12th AWID (Association for Women’s Rights in Development) Forum, the largest gathering of civil society and women’s rights leaders with donor agencies, development practitioners, and women’s rights activists from diverse sectors and regions, was held in Istanbul, Turkey from 19-22 April 2012. More than2200 women (and a few men) working on promoting women’s rights and gender equality all over the world came together to discuss the theme of this Forum: “Transforming Economic Power to Advance Women’s Rights and Justice”.

In the opening session, Gita Sen (DAWN – Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era) spoke about the challenges faced by the women’s movement in an increasingly unequal world, stressing that development as focused only on economic growth and based on resource extraction is exploitative and unsustainable – and that a key question for the women’s movement to address is whether women want a bigger share of this “poisoned pie” or to change the world. To do so, women need not fear power, but understand (especially in economic terms) and challenge the system. You can listen to her full speech and others made during the plenaries here. 

In addition to the main plenaries all conceived to discuss the main conference theme, AWID organised a Feminist Economics Toolbox (16 sessions) and 7 in-depth sessions (four blocks of 1.5 hours each) on key issues – one of which was a session on Access to and Control over Resources: Organising for women’s economic empowerment (for which AWID gathered online resources prior to the Forum) which included extensive discussion with land rights activists.

There were also 166 breakout sessions on a wide range of issues, from Violence against Women to women’s sexuality and the power of pleasure, from feminist analyses of economic justice to women’s precarious work, from Women Human Rights Defenders to LGBT rights, from sex workers’ rights to disability – plus caucuses (including on the next edition of UN Women’s flagship publication, Progress of the World’s Women, which will focus on women’s economic rights), solidarity roundtables, a campaigns corner, a francophone village, a resource mobilisation hub.

ILC participation and sessions organised by ILC members:

The ILC Secretariat participated in a session called “Transforming Economic Power through Women’s Land Rights, organised by the Global Initiative for Economic Social and Cultural Rights. The session aimed at raising awareness of key standards promoting the land rights of women, showcasing lessons learned from women’s struggles for land rights, and highlighting pressure points for advocates, and featured presentations by Shyamala Gomez, Women’s Land Rights expert (Sri Lanka); Nancy Odeng, Kenya Legal & Ethical Issues Network on HIV/AIDS (KELIN); Esther Obaikol, Uganda Land Alliance (ILC member); and Sabine Pallas , ILC Secretariat (see below for copies of the presentations).

Other relevant sessions, some of whom included ILC members:

  • Gender-responsive governance of land: women’s land rights struggles, challenges and lessons(organised by the Huairou Commission and Action Aid)
  • Laying the foundation – Grassroots women’s struggles as a tool for empowerment (organised by the Huairou Commission and IDRC)
  • Women Transforming the Food System and advancing their Rights: sharing practical applications of principles and tools (organised by OXFAM and WOCAN)
  • Women, Forests and Plantations in the Framework of the Green Economy: A new form of environmental plunder (organised by World Rainforest Movement)
  • Confronting Corporate Control and Access over Land and Productive Resources: Securing our rights and strengthening our movements (organised by the Asian Rural Women’s Coalition)
  • Presentation of the AWID 2011 survey on “Where’s the money for women’s rights?”

For photos from the Forum see: http://www.forum.awid.org/forum12/awid-forum-in-photos/

For coverage of the Forum in media and on other relevant sites:


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