CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Forum on Women’s Rights and Development

Posted on 16 December 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Papers, Events and Conferences, Human Rights, Opportunities, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The 11th AWID International Forum on Women’s Rights and Development

The Power of Movements

November 14-17, 2008
Cape Town, South Africa

(Click here to download the PDF of the full Call for Proposals)

From November 14-17, 2008, up to 1,500 women’s rights activists from around the world will gather in Cape Town, South Africa to debate and strategize about how to build stronger women’s movements globally. The Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) invites you to contribute to this urgent discussion by submitting a proposal to organize a session at the 11th AWID forum: The Power of Movements.

We Can Do readers will note that this forum is not specifically focused on disability issues. However, it would be an opportunity for Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs) and other interested parties to introduce topics of relevance to movements among women with disabilities in developing countries. We Can Do readers may also wish to consider submitting proposals for sessions on including women with disabilities among the wider women’s movements generally. You could also explore how to build bridges between women’s movements and disability movements, or explore what lessons each movement has to learn from the other.

Session proposals should consider one of the following questions:

Understanding social movements and collective power

  • What is a movement and what is movement building? What are the diverse ways in which movements can be built?
  • What are the strengths and limitations of movements? How do you recognize a movement in decline?
  • What role does constituency building play in movements? How do you build constituencies?
  • What makes a movement “feminist”, and how do its character, approaches and strategies differ from other movements, even if they are led and constituted by women?

Unpacking the architecture of feminist and women’s movements

  • What kinds of organizational structures have evolved through time to successfully support feminist and women’s movements? What other structures do we need to strengthen or build in order to build up the institutional capacity and impact of women’s movements?
  • What role (formal and informal) do organizations play in movements? How can the relationship between women’s organizations and movements be understood?
  • What forms of organizing have appeared in recent years, both in women’s movements and in other social movements? What can we learn from these forms, and what other forms do we still need to develop?

Challenges to effective movement building work

  • What are the key obstacles to movement building today? What are some innovative and effective responses to these obstacles?
  • How can we strengthen and build new and innovative leadership styles and models that contribute to movement building? Which models obstruct or impede movement building?
  • How do we deal collectively and constructively with the politics and tensions within our movements over issues such as over-specialization, North-South/East-West tensions, unequal access to resources, leadership, succession, competition, etc.?
  • What are the movement building challenges faced by social movements in areas or countries under occupation, armed conflict or war? What are examples of effective ways to support their efforts? What are alternatives to movement building in countries where social movements are routinely targeted with threats and intimidation?

Overcoming fragmentation and building inclusive movements

  • How do we build more inclusive movements? What mistakes have we made in the past, and how do avoid them going forward? What have been key lessons learnt in dealing with issues such as class, race, age, religion, ethnicity and other conditions in trying to build inclusive movements?
  • How do we overcome the fragmentation and overspecialization in our movements-e.g. the increasing specialization on particular issues, sectors or themes-to build bridges, common political agendas and shared strategies?
  • How can we build better linkages and do more effective strategizing across levels of activism-e.g., between those doing grassroots work and those doing advocacy at the public-policy level?
  • What other linkages do we urgently need to build, and how do we build them?

Building sustainable, multi-generational movements

  • What are the diverse needs and contributions of different generations of women, and how can we draw upon them to create stronger and more sustainable movements?
  • How can multi-generational dialogues work to strengthen our movements? What are some good experiences of such dialogues and what impacts-good or bad-have they had?
  • How can women’s movements build spaces that significantly incorporate and support-rather than tokenize-young women’s contributions to gender equality and women’s rights struggles?
  • How do we create more sustainable models of activism? How do we renew and sustain our movements and ourselves (and each other)?

Building effective alliances with and learning from other social movements

  • How do we move beyond women’s movements to identify, build and expand solidarities and collective actions with other social movements – and why should we do so? What is the cost of remaining insular?
  • In working with other social movements, where do we draw the line between strategic compromise and marginalization of a women’s rights agenda?
  • What are other movements doing right? What can we learn from them?
  • What have been some organizational experiences in local, national, regional and global joint work with members of other social movements your organization has had? Tell us about your challenges and achievements.

Mobilizing resources for movement building

  • What does funding for movement building look like? Are there any specific examples of experiences that demonstrate how this might be done in an effective way?
  • How does the way in which money is given by donors support or undermine movement building work? What changes are needed in donor policies and strategies to strengthen women’s movements?
  • What changes do we need to make in how we mobilize resources for movement building work? What are the successful strategies that we can learn from?
  • How do we expand the resources for our movement building and for our work in general?

Measuring the success of movements

  • How do we know when we’ve achieved our goals? What constitutes “success”? And how do we measure our impact?
  • What kinds of evaluation methodologies contribute to movement building? How can we use the data from these methodologies to strengthen our movement building work?
  • How do we capture and evaluate the movement building aspects of our work? What are some examples of innovative indicators and evaluation frameworks?

New directions in movement building

  • What new tools, processes, methodologies and innovations are available for movement building? What are their benefits as well as some of their pitfalls?
  • What new language, terminology and ideas around women’s rights can we build that are accessible, make sense to and motivate larger numbers of women, and will increase our political impact? What are other innovative ways of reaching out to the broader public and having greater societal impact?
  • What are some innovative ways that movements can deal effectively with emerging challenges, such the rise of religious fundamentalisms, the potential abuses of new technologies, the feminization of HIV and AIDS, the emerging environmental crisis, etc.?

The Power of Movements

Submit your proposal online at

Email or call AWID for more information or a
Word version/hard copy of the application form
+1 416 594 3773

JANUARY 28, 2008

Are you a person from a developing country who would need funding in order to attend this or other conferences? Learn about possible limited funding sources for participating in conferences at:

We Can Do learned of this opportunity through contacts at Women Leaders at Mobility International USA (MIUSA). Most of the text in this announcement originates with AWID, except for the paragraph targeted at We Can Do readers.

Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do.

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