- Encuentros Feministas Latinoamericanos
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IX FEMINIST ENCUENTRO, PLAYA TAMBOR, COSTA RICA, MONDAY, DEC. 2, 2002
Feminists SHOULD Push for United Resistance to Neoliberal Globalization
Human Rights Expert & Attorney Alda Facio Urges United Front During First Plenary of IX Feminist Encuentro
By Norma Valle, Communications IX Feminist Encuentro
Translated by Margaret Thompson, FIRE-RIF/Communications IX Feminist Encuentro
The theoretical work of the IX Latin American & Caribbean Feminist Encuentro Encounter was initiated today with the discussion of the central theme: Feminism as a socio-political subject associated with globalization, during which panelists advocated resistance to neoliberal globalization.
The panelists referred to globalization according to the way it is understood by governments and multinational businesses, which is globalization of the market.
Participating in the plenary were Alda Facio, an international human rights lawyer from Costa Rica, Virginia Vargas, a sociologist from Perù, Tania Rodríguez, a Panamanian social work student, Neusa Das Dores Pereira, of Brazil, the leader of a non-governmental women’s organization, all of whom are activists in the women’s movement.
Before an audience of nearly all of the 850 participants of the IX Feminist Encuentro, Facio declared that “the reality is that globalization is the market, which negatively impacts us. The only thing that circulates freely is capital, which erodes our spiritual, emotional, and cultural wealth.”
Facio emphasized that “what I am speaking about is the financial neoliberal globalization and not globalization in terms of rights, justice, peace, etc.”
Virgina Vargas explained that before globalization became a major force, there was “a surge of other dynamics. After some years of less activity, social movements began to promote new agendas for social and political change. These strategies were enacted during the 1990s by the environmental and human rights movements, and of course, the women’s movement.”
Facio, whose presentation invited reflection and debate among feminists, pointed out that “globalization is not bringing greater happiness to humanity. To the contrary, it is “cultivating persons who need to consume and to accumulate to fill the vacuum of their lives. As persons we feel alienated, fragmented, and isolated from our inner selves, so we seek to accumulate things, knowledge and power.”
Facio explained that the spiritual is also very political. “Spirituality seeks to transgress the mandates of the market because we look within ourselves, with a higher state of consciousness, that allows us through dialogue to understand who we really are.”
Tania Rodríguez, age 20 years, outlined a route for her contemporaries: “The young women in this era have conditions today that we have due to the historic efforts of Latin-American feminism, and that permit us to have powers over own lives. Perhaps that is the most important political characteristic for young women today--to have the power to orient their own lives”.
In addition, Rodriguez emphasized that young women are working to revitalize the feminist movement with the possibility that longtime activists have grown tired after four decades in the second phase of the global feminist movement.
Nuesa das Dores Pereira of the Documentation Center oo Women in Brazil spoke primarily about their development work with lesbians, and particularly black lesbians. Due to widespread and historic discrimination, these women have been invisible, so it is difficult to locate them, much less organize them. Another challenge for feminists in Brazil is to get governmental institutions to support inclusion of lesbians in their agendas.
Alda Facio finished the ponencia by suggesting alternative forms of activism to feminists: “We women are the ones whom globalization is disempowering, violating, and fragmenting even more. To join the fight against neoliberal globalization, we have to create a strong feminist movement, that has something to contribute to the
fight, movement comprised of women willing to provide us with mutual support in the construction of an ultra feminist consciousness.”