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.
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:
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.
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:
- The Politics of Bathrooms (The New-Yorker)
- How did bathrooms get to be separated by gender in the first place? (Sexuality Policy Watch)
- Why Is It Important for Trans People To Go to the Bathroom? (Watching America)
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.
Do you have reflections on these and/or additional suggestions* to make the Forum a welcoming space?
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.