Women's WG

WRI Women's Working Group's statement on the UN World Conference on Women to be held in Beijing in 1995

The War Resisters' International Women's Working Group will NOT be attending the United Nations World Conference on Women in Beijing.

While we felt that there was much that an anti-militarist women's organisation could offer to the conference, and while we particularly want to argue against the suggestion that greater involvement of women in the armed forces can in any way contribute to work for women's rights, we are so appalled by the choice of Beijing as a location that we feel we must boycott this meeting. Some of our reasons follow:

The abuse of victims

By Staša Zajovic

Since the beginning of the wars in ex-Yugoslavia, especially in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the image of the suffering of the civilian population projected by the major television networks is usually a variation on the image of the woman-victim, who, exhausted, humble and in tears, carries a child in her arms. If she is shown as a rape victim, that image is emphasized even more.

Lesbians in Croatia

by Andrea Spehar

Lesbian life in Croatia today is a life of women who are victims of totalitarian systems forced to hide their sexuality and to have a dual life--the private and the public. A few of us decided to struggle for our rights, to be public. I hope our activities will stimulate others to join us. Obviously in war time it is very hard to overcome the lack of courage. It is hard to struggle for truth when you can be fired from work the next day.

March 8th Activities

March 8, International Women's Day, was celebrated in many ways in many countries. Perhaps one of the most unexpected actions took place in Norway, where soldiers protested violence against women. Endorsed by the Minister of Defense, the soldiers' campaign was to show solidarity for women in war zones, especially rape survivors in Bosnia. Soldiers in uniform displayed campaign posters, collected money at street stands, and knocked at doors to collect money for women survivors of violence.

News

Against the War in Former-Yugoslavia

Women in Black in Belgrade celebrated their second anniversary on October 9, 1993. A pamphlet and a book of leaflets and articles about their work was published: for copies, fax +381 11 334 706. The group, in addition to their regular antiwar vigils, also held the workshop "Is there no end to this war?" on international women's day in 1993. In August last year, the group sponsored the second international conference on "Feminist Solidarity Against War" in Subotica, Tresnjevac and Novi Sad.

WRI Women on the Move

Bienvenue, Dominique!

Dominique Saillard is the new woman on staff at WRI's London office, and the official liaison with the WRI Women's Working Group. She works three days a week at the office, and you can write or speak to her in French, Spanish, German or English. Dominique was born in France and educated as a professional translator; she lived in the US for awhile, where she was active in peace and environmental groups. She is deeply committed to women's empowerment. A very warm welcome from all of us, Dominique.

Take Note, Women Vote!

by Shelley Anderson

In late November, 1993, the Dutch Southern Africa Committee organized the seminar "Women and political participation in South Africa" in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Several days later, the University of Utrecht held its annual Southern Africa Days with a program that focussed on women's perspectives.

British Sex Tourists in Thailand

by Julia O'Connell Davidson

According to the Tourist Association of Thailand (TAT), Pattaya is Thailand's ´premier beach resort.' Travel brochures depict it as both an ´exotic paradise' of palm trees and white beaches and as a ´single man's playground' of bars and women. Once the site of small fishing villages, Pattaya bay began to develop in the 1960s and 1970s when the US military used it for ´rest and recreation'. Today, nearly one and a half million tourists visit Pattaya each year.

WRI Women's Working Group and the Beijing Conference

A core group meeting of the WRI Women's Working Group was held in London on March 24. The meeting opened with a warm welcome for Dominique Saillard, the new WRI and Peace Newsstaff member. Several important issues were on the agenda: how to improve communication and keep in touch with women interested in the women's working group; the process for accepting new core group members; an evaluation of the Days of Action (including the "Crossing the Lines" campaign); the women's presentation at the upcoming (December 1994) Triennial in Brazil; and more.
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