PHILIPPINES: Int’l Women’s Alliance holds First General Assembly
Quezon City, Manila, July 6.
Photo: Women's Alliance Assembly
Published Jul 27, 2011 3:16 PM
Quezon City, Philippines
The International Women’s Assembly successfully held its First General
Assembly on July 5 and 6 in Quezon City, Philippines, under the theme
“Advance the Global Anti-imperialist Women’s Movement! Strengthen
the International Women’s Alliance!”
The FGA, hosted by GABRIELA Philippines, was attended by 99 delegates
representing 66 organizations in 20 countries: Argentina, Australia, Canada,
Ecuador, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Kurdistan,
Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan,
The Netherlands and the United States.
On the morning of July 5, participants at the IWA FGA joined hundreds of
individuals from all over the world at the opening of the International
Festival of Peoples’ Rights and Struggles, a space for workers, peasants,
women, migrants, Indigenous peoples, youth, artists and many other sectors from
around the globe to learn, share and interact with one another on the issues
and challenges they confront. A video greeting was given by Dr. José Maria
Sison, chairperson of the International League for Peoples’ Struggle.
As co-sponsor of this event, the IWA organized a panel of grass-roots,
gender experts composed of Azra Talat Sayeed of Pakistan, who talked about the
struggle of oppressed women and people against imperialist attacks and terror
in Pakistan, and Lina Solano of Ecuador, who discussed women’s resistance
against foreign mining corporations in Latin America. The speech of keynote
speaker Leila Khaled from the General Union of Palestinian Women — who
was unable to come due to a family emergency — was read by Liza Maza of
The organizational meeting of the IWA began later the same day, with
participants performing a ritual of unity led by GABRIELA’s cultural
group Sining Lila (Purple Art).
Gabriela youth leader Kenette Jean Millondaga
and Monica Moorehead at International
Women’s Alliance First General Assembly
in Philippines, July 6.
Photo: Raya Martin
Liza Maza, of the IWA FGA Organizing Committee, delivered opening remarks.
She noted that the FGA continues the process started in 2008 when the
Women’s Commission of the ILPS unanimously adopted a resolution calling
for the formation of an anti-imperialist global alliance of women. The call was
realized when the founding assembly of IWA was held last Aug. 16 following a
two-day Montreal International Women’s Conference in Canada.
Maza stressed that the Alliance was formed as an anti-imperialist,
anti-patriarchy, anti-racist, anti-sexist and anti-homophobic alliance to
organize women as a political force and to link the women’s movement with
the people’s movement for national and social liberation and gender
The Organizing Committee presiding over the plenary approved the agenda of
the FGA and of the applications of 30 new members, which makes nearly 100 IWA
organizational members to date.
Reports for the Women’s Resistance Against Imperialism panel were
presented by Sarojeni Rengam, of the Asian Rural Women’s Coalition and
Pesticide Action Network Asia-Pacific (Malaysia) for Asia; Clelia Iscaro, of
the National Encounters of Women (Argentina) for Latin America; Emime
Ndihokubwayo, of Kenya for Africa; Daphna Whitmore, of the Auckland Philippines
Solidarity (Australia) for Oceania; Monica Moorehead, of the Women’s
Fightback Network (U.S.) and Kelti Cameron, of the Ontario Committee for Human
Rights in the Philippines (Canada) for North America; and Monika
Gaertner-Engel, of the Women’s Political Caucus (Germany) for Europe.
The panel of speakers coming from different regions across the globe spoke
on the intensifying imperialist attacks on women’s lives and livelihood,
and shared their strategies of resistance and the need to unite in the struggle
against imperialism and all reaction.
Preparing for struggles ahead
The assembly deliberated on and adopted the Manila Declaration of Unity of
the International Women’s Alliance that called for a global, militant,
anti-imperialist women’s movement that will “link ourselves and our
struggles to fight our common enemy — imperialism and feudalism including
patriarchy — and to stop the economic and political domination of the
capitalist system, and to end imperialist wars of aggression and measures
against the oppressed peoples of the world.”
The IWA Constitution was also discussed and adopted by the assembly.
Workshops by global regions were held to deliberate on the draft General
Program of Action of the Alliance and to draw up its Four-Year Plan of Action
based on the major issues in the context of the regions.
The plenary then approved by acclamation the GPOA, the Four-Year Plan and
resolutions on particular issues and concerns the Alliance will work on. The
action plan includes the work of projecting IWA’s analysis and positions
on major issues affecting the majority of the world’s women and oppressed
peoples, building IWA regional chapters and encouraging young women to join IWA
The Assembly elected members of the Executive Council, with their
responsibilities noted: Chairperson Liza Maza; Vice-Chairperson for Internal
Affairs Azra Talat Sayeed (Roots for Equity); Vice Chairperson for External
Affairs Lina Solano (Women Defenders of Mother Earth); Secretary General Marie
Boti (Women of Diverse Origins, Canada); Deputy Secretary General Maitet
Ledesma (Filipinas in Holland, the Netherlands); Treasurer Retno Dewi (Alliance
of Agrarian Reform Movement, Indonesia); Auditor Daphna Whitmore; and members
Lana Linaban (GABRIELA, Philippines) and Monica Moorehead (WFN).
The EC assigned Valerie Francisco of the U.S. — who had energetically
facilitated the two-day FGA — to lead the development of a platform for
participation of young women in the IWA.
In the closing ceremony, the participants recognized and honored four Women
of Valor — Edith Ballantyne, of the Women’s International League
for Peace and Freedom (Canada); Leila Khaled; Carmen “Nanay Mameng”
Deunida of Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Philippines); and Carmela Iscaro of
National Encounters of Women (Argentina). These courageous women were
recognized for their “steadfast commitment and invaluable contribution to
the promotion of women’s emancipation, freedom, peace and social
liberation.” Each honoree received a plaque in the shape of the IWA
Singing songs of struggles and shouting slogans, Assembly participants
linked arms, forming a large circle symbolizing great unity and strong resolve
to carry the struggle forward in the 21st century.
For updates on the IWA FGA, including the upcoming Manila Declaration of
Unity, go to internationalwomensalliance.wordpress.com.