Welcoming and Safe Space

Building Feminist Futures starts with ourselves and how we treat each other.

Enjoy the space and take advantage of the amazing collective wisdom and diversity of the participants at the Forum!

Let's make this a safe and welcoming space together

More than 1,500 participants are converging in Bahia to spend several intense days together. Collectively we represent diverse communities and movements from over 140 countries.

Many of us have been to international events like this before, while for some it’s the first time traveling outside our country or region.

Most of us identify as feminists, while for some this may be the first time attending an explicitly feminist event.

What we all have in common is that we are working to create a more just, sustainable and peaceful world for all.

Because of that, HOW we share this space and all it provides and how we relate with each other is as important to advancing our goals as WHAT we talk about.

While we at AWID have taken care to create a welcoming, safe and accessible space, we ask that everyone assume individual and collective responsibility to ensure an atmosphere of mutual respect and solidarity among participants and with hotel staff.


AWID’s Values

Some of the concepts that reflect our aspirations and guide our work, and that we extend to the Forum space are:

  • Diversity: Forum participants are diverse. This time the Forum convenes representatives of multiple movements coming together, not all of them have women’s rights or gender justice at the core of their mandates. We believe in sharing the space and working together in a way that promotes inclusion, respect, and learning from each other’s diverse realities, identities and conditions.
  • Human Rights: We work towards the full respect, protection, and promotion of human rights and against fundamentalisms of all sorts that threaten these rights. We consider that human rights are indivisible, interdependent, inalienable, and universal.
  • Autonomy: We champion a person’s right to choose their identities, relationships, goals, dreams, and what they want to do with their mind, body, and spirit.
  • Cooperation: We work towards a world based on social, environmental, and economic justice; and interdependence, solidarity, and respect rather than competition, market domination, commodification, and exploitation of people and nature.
  • Responsibility: In all of our work, we will strive for transparency, responsible use of resources, fairness in our relations, accountability and integrity.

 

We invite participants to act according to the following principles:

Interact and engage peacefully.
Differences in opinion will naturally arise, so please think of these differences as useful for expanding your thinking and ways of seeing the world.

Help build a space that recognizes and validates the multiple lived experiences.
Remain mindful of each other’s physical and emotional boundaries.

Use inclusive language.
Be respectful of how people want to be referred to in terms of gender identity or expression (like pronouns), and practice inclusive language as often as you can. We encourage you to step outside the gender binary zone.

Listen and make adjustments in your behavior if someone says they feel uncomfortable.
Don’t ask others questions that you wouldn't want to be asked yourself.

Challenge oppressive behavior, which includes harassment, verbal or physical violence, violation of consent, and any action that perpetuates classism, ageism, ableism, racism, misogyny, heterosexism, transphobia and other oppressions.

Respect and recognize diversity of bodies and gender expressions.

Speak and listen with an open mind and heart and without judgement.

Be honest and heartfelt in conversations and debates.

Practice self-awareness:
Be aware of how much time and space you are taking up.

Recognize that we all carry intersectional identities.

Be friendly and reach out.
It’s easy to feel lost and alone at a big event like this, and a little friendliness goes a long way.  

Remember that "no" is no.
Without having to explain why.

Open yourself to different ways of using the space, like access to bathrooms for all genders, accessibility to different spaces for people with different abilities, etc.

 


The challenge of putting it all into practice

While celebrating diversity is something we all strive to do, no doubt many of us will, at some point, find ourselves in a situation that makes us feel threatened, uncomfortable, or even shocked. Let's acknowledge that, learn from it, and work from there.  

Safety & Welcoming Committee

At the Forum, there will be a Safety & Welcoming Committee to support participants in navigating the complexities of sharing a very diverse space.

Committee members will be easily identifiable. Please feel free to look for them at any time on site for support, guidance, questions you don't feel comfortable asking anyone else or to intervene in a situation that you feel is going against the Forum principles.

All-gender bathroom

The AWID Forum will also have 'All genders bathrooms' in which all are welcome but also 'Women only' and 'Men only' bathrooms for those who prefer them. Each person has the right to decide which bathroom to use. There are no 'wrong' bathrooms at the Forum.

Why a bathroom for all genders?

  • Separate bathrooms for men and women are a modern phenomenon.
    In the West, they emerged in the 19th century so women (of a certain class) would be 'protected' when they started to venture into the public sphere. They are not 'natural' but just one more cultural imposition we can choose to live without...
  • Because genders are many more than two, not everybody feels comfortable being forced to choose a ´Ladies' or a 'Gents' toilet. If you don't believe it, look around. Or ask.
  • While in the bathroom, let's treat each other as we do everywhere else: with respect. That's all that's needed.
  • If you feel uncomfortable, your room and private bathroom wil be no more than 15 minutes away.

At the Forum, we encourage you to look for a member of the Safety and Welcoming Team so you can discuss your feelings and ideas about this, and hear more about why AWID made this decision.

To find out more about all-gender bathrooms:

In Spanish:

Pronouns - tags

At the Forum, your name-tag will have a space for you to write the pronoun by which you want people to call you ("she", "he", "it", "s/he", "ze", "sie", anything else you might be using - or want to start using from now on!).

Please do it even if you are 100% sure that nobody can 'mistake' you for another gender or have never done it before. And while you do it, take a moment to think if, when and how you decided that this is the pronoun that best suits you.


Discuss

Do you have reflections on these and/or additional suggestions* to make the Forum a welcoming space?

Share your thoughts on this topic from our Discuss section

 


Please note:

AWID reserves the right to ask a Forum participant to leave the Forum space based on discriminatory or disruptive behavior.

Session facilitators and speakers are encouraged to ask disruptive participants who are not respecting the above spirit of engagement to leave their sessions.