International Committee meets in Tunisia in preparation for the WMW 13th International Meeting

International Committee meets in Tunisia in preparation for the WMW 13th International Meeting

On the 26th of April, 2023, the International Committee of the World March of Women, representing the five regions, gathered for a face-to-face meeting in Tunisia.   

In the 4-day meeting, Bushra Khaliq (Asia), Beauty Rita Nyampinga (Africa), Françoise Caillard (Asia), Tiba Abdulkaarem (MENA), Naama Nciri (MENA), Alejandra Laprea (Americas), Luciana Alfredo (Europe), Yıldız Temürtürkan (International Coordinator of the WMW), Natália Blanco (IS), Pınar Yüksek (IS), Mariami Gaprindashvili (IS), Jana Nakhal (IS), and from the Tunisian NCB Souad Mahmud, Raja Dahmani, conducted discussions around the WMW activities.

This was the first time the MENA region hosted a face-to-face IC meeting. On the 24th of April, IS and the international coordinator of the WMW visited the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women (ATFD, in French), an organization of the Tunisian NCB. During this meeting, Ahlem and Nadia, veterans of the WMW, told stories about the first meetings, actions, and positions taken by the WMW, as well as how the quilt was made and sent all over the world. The IS communication team later on, recorded these valuable moments of oral history for them to become part of the WMW archives. 

The first day of the meeting started with the opening speech from Souad Mahmoud, a member of Tunisia NCBs. 

“Tunisia has been experiencing extreme difficulties for more than a decade, marked by the vertiginous regression of state investment, the drop in exports, social turbulence and political instability, all in the wake of a perfidious game and complex tactics of external forces which blurs the perception and does not help to get Tunisia out of this crisis. (…) The new global context calls today more than ever for general mobilization and increased vigilance on the part of the WMW to best develop its actions in response to the changing reality and, by extension, to contribute to the forces of change to march in the direction of history. Finally, I am convinced that the results of our work during this meeting will contribute to consolidating the structures, guidelines, and actions which tend to the defense of women at all levels within the framework of this critical world order tainted by several uncertainties.”

In addition to listening to the Tunisian sisters about the political context, the International Committee meeting is also a space for the regions to share the challenges they are facing and the impacts on women’s lives. It is based on these reports and perspectives of each region that the IC, along with the International Secretariat, continues to reflect, plan and organize the activities of building the WMW in the world.

The meeting was then resumed, evaluating the diverse regional contexts and WMW activities. The International Secretariat presented its reports on the WMW’s activities which took place since the previous face-to-face meeting.  On the second day of the meeting, the IS Communication team presented its activities, discussing communication projects and the routes and possibilities to strengthen them.

On the 28th of April, the meeting examined the preparations for the International Meeting, which will be held on the 6th-12th of October in Ankara. It also explored possibilities and proposals for the next international action, which will take place in 2025. A political working group was formed to prepare the documents to be presented to the International Meeting and to produce proposals for our 25th anniversary. On the 4th day of the meeting, discussions continued about working groups, alliances, and training. 

Between the meeting session, on the 28th of April, the WMW International Committee participated in a demonstration in Tunis to denounce femicide and all kinds of violence against women at the Place du Gouvernement, where feminists launched a symbolic funeral to commemorate the victims of femicides. 

In the demonstration, Souad Mahmoud said: 

“We are here to express our loyalty to all women assassinated in Tunisia under the watch of the government, which has kept quiet and silent about the crimes. We are here to say NO to the Patriarchal system and No to the marital institution, we are not slaves of our husbands, and it’s time the government announced its position towards the serial killing of Tunisian women.  On the occasion of holding our International Committee meeting in Tunisia, the International Committee is participating in this event to show its solidarity with all women of the world, especially women victims of Femicide. The assassination of women is taking place everywhere in the world, in Spain, in Basque, and everywhere, but the most severe ones are in Palestine, where women are in continuous resistance to protect their lands, and this is an opportunity to express our solidarity with our sisters there.”

Here is the Souad Mahmoud’s speech: