EWL News

Bringing a feminist perspective into the International Civil Society Week (18-24 November 2014, South Africa)

The European Women’s Lobby participated in Civicus International Civil Society Week, which took place in Johannesburg 18-24 November 2014. It was an inspiring and exciting few days which brought together 600 civil society leaders and activists, from more than 100 countries, to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges. Under the banner of “Citizen Action, People Power”, the weeklong series of events was an incredible global gathering of inspired thinkers, innovation leaders and influential organisations.

The EWL was present, through two EWL Secretariat representatives, Pierrette Pape and Joanna Maycock. Pierrette and Joanna were able to lead and participate in a number of events and activities that took place under the umbrella of the International Civil Society Week, to bring a feminist perspective to the discussions about citizens action, and civil society leadership. We were able to connect with an incredible range of women’s organisations, large NGOs and individual activists, and it was great to be able to profile the work of the EWL in these spaces. Here are a couple of highlights from our time there:

Joanna was invited to participate in a special session bringing together young people from all over the world. It was exciting to listen to and learn from these inspiring young leaders as they challenged each other and debated the state of the world. It was exciting and encouraging to see so many young women and active feminists among these leaders, claiming space and reflecting critically on women’s rights in the development, environmental and social justice movements.

global conference jm

Both Joanna and Pierrette participated in the DEEEP project’s global conference “Towards a world citizens movement” (19-20 November), which looked at diverse worldviews of the system we want to see, looking at and learning from grassroots initiatives, and developing different proposals of joint action for the coming months. The conference builds on the spirit of the Johannesburg compass, developed last year in Johannesburg, which aims at building a global movement of citizens throughout the world. During the open space session, Pierrette proposed a discussion on ‘bringing a feminist perspective into the world citizens movement’, and came out with a lot of great ideas for follow up and connections.

You can see below the graphic harvest highlighting the main outcomes and which clearly shows how the EWL representatives managed to bring in a new debate on the feminist perspective in the citizens movement.

deeep drawing

On 21 November, Joanna and Pierrette took part in the assembly of action/2015, a platform proposing better coordination around the year 2015 and towards concrete action at all levels, in an international context where key developments will take place: the post-2015 agenda, the 20 years of the Beijing Platform for Action, and the climate summit in December. Joanna and Pierrette actively brought the feminist perspective and contributed to the success of the discussion.

action2015 pierrette

On 23 November, Joanna led a discussion with women civil society leaders exploring the challenge of women in leadership in Civil Society. Together we discussed the persisting challenges faced by women in leadership, we reflected on the reasons why this is a problem in the ways in which it restricts Civil Society and social movements from bringing transformative change in societies. Finally we came up with a concrete action plan to strengthen the global network of women leaders in Civil Society that can tackle patriarchy, reimagine leadership and provide mutual support and mentoring for emerging women leaders.

On 22 and 23 November, Pierrette participated in the second face-to-face meeting of the DEEEP Leadership Development Course, bringing together 50 explorers on a journey to systemic change. They discuss leadership for systemic change, the Great Transition, and developed ideas for different perspectives on their individual and collective journey. In particular, Pierrette proposed an open space discussion on women leadership, which gained a lot of attention from the other explorers.

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