Mujeres del Sur

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Ciclo Formación

The 1st Feminist Training Course for Young Activists.

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Del 9 al 17 de Julio de 2010, en el Hotel King David de la Ciudad de Córdoba, se realizó el Primer Ciclo de Formación Feminista para Activistas Jóvenes, organizado por el Fondo de Mujeres del Sur.

26 young activists, members of social organizations from Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, came together for nine days to participate in training on women’s human rights issues.
Open to dialogue.


Diana Maffía opened the conference with a speech in which she identified, from her perspective and in a superb way, the program and the challenges and opportunities of the feminist movement. The topics covered by Maffía came up again and again throughout the course - in the young activists’ discussions and when sharing their work strategies.

Each day of the training was made up of theory modules and discussion forums, aimed at providing theoretical and practical tools for the activists, which they can then apply to their work in their organizations. The program was also designed to strengthen their leadership skills within their organizations and in working with other social agents they are engaged with locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
The theoretical modules were delivered by recognized feminist academics: Cristina Zurutuza, Carmen Colazo, Nora Goren and Cecilia Canevari.

Cristina Zurutuza gave the first module of the course: Women’s Rights. At the beginning of her presentation Cristina told those attending that she had been reflecting on the need for theory: “Why do you need theoretical concepts? After all, your training has been based on action and conviction. What can theoretical concepts contribute to your work?”. And she continued by saying that “Theory, which sometimes appears to be something incongruous to or divorced from activism, is in reality our way of passing on experiences, knowledge and the outcomes of our experiences. It encapsulates the contribution of many women throughout the world and throughout Latin America, and is passed on in a pre-systematized, pre-conceptualized, more theoretical manner.” She went on to explain the need to put that knowledge back into practice, something that activists, and for that matter everyone working in the field, are responsible for.
Once this link between theory and practice had been outlined, Cristina went into more detail about Diana Maffía’s review of the history of feminists enlisted in the struggle for women’s rights. Later on in her talk she focused on sexual and reproductive rights and abortion, singling out particular cases for analysis.

The Economy and Opportunities module was split into two components. In the first part, Nora Goren proposed an investigation into the nature of women’s integration into the workforce, the ways in which discrimination towards women is manifest in the labor market and the opportunities available to us as women in the labor market.The second component of this module was designed to complement the analysis of the economic predicament of women. Cecilia Canevari looked at the reality faced by women living in rural areas in Argentina. In her presentation, Cecilia outlined a panorama of the situation of women living in rural areas and of how her work overlaps with the work of the rural movement for access to land, resources, water and basic services. In her discussion, Cecilia made the need to coordinate the feminist agenda with the rural agenda very clear, a topic that was revisited in the forum dealing with political participation of women from the indigenous, rural and afro-descendents movements.

In the final theoretical module: Political Participation and Public Policies, Carmen Colazo investigated the three-pronged State, Gender Order and Policies based on the “analysis of the theoretical, methodological and political progress of sex-gender/sexual difference theory, in its contributions to the development of public policies, agendas and democratic governance, on the part of feminism and other social movements in recent history”.

Discussion Forums

The 1st Feminist Training Course included three participatory discussion forums which gave participants the opportunity to share their experiences and become the protagonists in a dialogue on the work strategies of women and feminist organizations from the three countries. Panelists, activists and teachers participated in the forums, which opened up a rich intergenerational and geographically diverse dialogue. Many of the challenges and controversial issues faced by the feminist movement were first raised in these forums by panelists and participants, themselves living examples of: questions of sexual dissidence, the needs of indigenous women, women from rural backgrounds and women of African descent, the collaboration of women’s organizations with other emancipatory movements, the work of feminists within mixed-sex organizations, the challenges and need for intergenerational dialogue etc.

The panelists: Forum on Rights Enforcement: Ruth Zurbrigen and Miriam Nallar Forum on Public Policy and Political Involvement: Mariel Bernal, Noelia Maciel, Eusebia Ruiz and Maria de Jesús Villalba. Forum on Communication Strategies: Paula Morales, Alicia Stumpfs and Mariana Carbajal The panelists invited attendees to reflect on their own advocacy projects and gave them work strategies that they could take back to their own organizations.

The speeches given over the course of the forums illustrated various political viewpoints which reflect the diversity of the feminist movement. The young women who continue to fight for a fairer, freer and more dignified world are renewing the passion and strength of the movement, as well as redefining its practices and scope.

Photos: Juan Cruz Sanchez Delgado

View the Feminist Training Course Video for Young Activists here

Listen to audio from the Feminist Training Course for Young Activists here (in Spanish)





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