Feminist movements are not against globalization, “we are against neo-liberal economics”, said the speakers from the Mercosur Feminist Network, Chilean Rosalba Todaro, Uruguayan Lilian Celiberti and Argentinean Haydee Birgin.
Feminists “don’t want to return to the past”, they said on Saturday during the workshop “Political and Economic Reorganization of the World Order: Continuity and Change”, as part of the 9th International Forum of the Association for the Rights of Women in Development (AWID).
Lilian Celiberty said there is an agenda pending which “women must again raise”. She added that: “we women of the world don’t want to return to the past and that is why we are a force to be reckoned with today, a force with the ability to say that in this game (neo-liberal economics) we are not only betting our lives but the planet’s future”.
For her part, Haydee Birgin said that the question is not whether women have rights, because they do and are recognized in the constitutions of every country; the question is, she said, whether they can actually be exercised.
She pointed out that governments failing to enforce the law in favor of women and the most vulnerable communities should be pressured by Judicial Powers, because “we find it hard to believe that States have signed economic and social treaties in order not to comply with them”.
She added that Judicial Powers can force the Executive to comply with laws. The strategy is for non governmental organizations to directly or indirectly push the former to take action. For the last 25 years women have struggled for their rights, “we finally have them, what we’re doing now is exercising them”.
Rosalba Todaro said before a mainly Latin audience that the process of economic reorganization of nations, including privatization and reforms to labor laws, are a response to the global system’s requirements.
However, this process is directly affecting, in a negative sense, people’s quality of life. As an example she cited data from the United Nations indicating that whereas in 1975 there were 25 countries in extreme poverty, in 2000 that number had risen to 48.
“Regarding gender, reorganization was different for men and women: in the case of employment, women are taking jobs with low wages and ridiculous pensions”, she said.