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Brazilian activists of the World March of Women (WMW) are getting everything ready for their 9th International Meeting to be held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, from August 25 to 31. Unlike previous international meetings, over 1,600 women are invited to participate and 10,000 will attend the final march on August 31.
The WMW’s International Secretariat, which has been hosted by Brazil since 2006, will move to another country. The fact that the meeting takes place in Latin America is also important because of the ongoing women’s rights violations in the continent.
To know more about the meeting, Real World Radio interviewed Nalu Faria of the WMW Brazil and coordinator of Brazilian organization Sempreviva Organização Feminista. She talked about the creation of the World March of Women as a grassroots movement that resists neoliberalism, about the link between capitalism and women’s oppression, the current advance of conservatism to the detriment of women’s rights in several Latin American countries, and the specific situation of women in Brazil.
Grassroots, international and anticapitalist feminism
The WMW’s inception dates back to 1995. On that year the women’s movement of Quebec (Canada) organized a march called “Bread and Roses” to expose the signing of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the US, Mexico and Canada. The action set a precedent and inspired a group of international women against the increasing neoliberal globalization process to carry out global actions in 2000 against poverty and violence from an anti-capitalist perspective.
These actions led to the creation of the WMW, which is now present in almost 70 countries around the world. Every five years the movement carries out international actions to express their main demands around four issues, as Nalu explains: women’s work and autonomy; the fight against violence; common goods and public services; and peace and anti-militarization.
Besides questioning and fighting neoliberalism, the feminism of the WMW understand that the current capitalist system needs to be changed. Nalu explained:
“We cannot dissociate oppression and discrimination against women from the society in itself. It is actually the other way round: we try to understand that, even though the patriarchal society is older than the class society, oppression against women and patriarchate shapes capitalism and its way of operating. So, the only way to change women’s lives if by changing the system”.
Feminism to change the world
This is the first time ever that Brazil hosts the International Meeting of the WMW. Nalu said about the meeting’s objectives and her expectations around it: “First of all, we would like to have a strong exchange and dialogue between the women of Brazil and other countries, since we have hosted the international secretariat for seven years. And secondly, we would like to advance our concept of feminism. We believe that feminism is constantly under attack, while there are new expressions of feminisms from a more liberal point of view that appear to be the only feminism available. We would like to promote feminism based on women’s grassroots organizations, based not only on a struggle, but on a more general aim to change the system, of building a global alternative”.
Photo: MMM Brasil
A two-and-a-half year process of work which resulted in a meeting with several thousand Brazilian peasants; “a process that didn´t start now, and that won´t end here”, said Itelvina Massioli, national leader of the peoples´ struggle for land, agrarian reform and food sovereignty, in interview with Real World Radio after the 6th Congress of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST).
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