Summary of the 13th International Meeting of the WMW in Ankara, Turkey

Since October 7, the 13th International Meeting of the WMW has been taking place in Ankara, Turkey. Below is a summary of what has happened over the last few days:

8th of October

On Sunday, October 8, delegations from all WMW regions took part in a special moment of tribute in memory of Nalu Faria. It was with great sadness that we received the news on Friday, October 6, 2023, of the death of our dear comrade, militant and tireless leader. Read the note from the WMW of the Americas here.

9th of October

The first day of internal debates of the World March of Women’s 13th International Meeting was devoted to situating our movement within the current international context. The morning opened with a Mystica from the Asia-Oceania region consisting of speech, music, and movement, emphasizing the four elements and our connection to the Mother Goddess, the natural environment, and each other. We then invited members of the Turkish NCB to explain the political, economic, historical, legal, and feminist context in Turkey, as well as summarize the work of the Turkish NCB in recent years. Following these presentations, the allies and financial partners of the World March of Women (GGJ, FIAN, Friends of the Earth, WhyHunger, and La Via Campesina) spoke about their solidarity with the movement. These groups emphasized the importance of inter-organizational cooperation, collaboration, and solidarity across issue areas. 

In the afternoon, after a Mystica from the Americas highlighting concepts of articulation, communication, training, and mobilization, a fulsome plenary titled “Political Assessment of the WMW as a Grassroots Feminist Movement Within the Current International Context” commenced. In this session, representatives from each of the 5 significant regions shared about the circumstances in their countries and the struggles women face. Some of the themes that emerged in this discussion included the rise of far-right and religious fundamentalism, the violence of transnational corporations on our bodies and territories, the disastrous impacts of the climate crisis, the ongoing processes of colonization and imperialism, and the dangers of militarization.

Simultaneously, we facilitated a parallel event consisting of a panel discussion with four female lawyers from different countries around the world sharing the legal status of women’s rights in their country and the challenges faced by feminism in a legal context. We concluded the day by dividing into three working groups to discuss the future priorities, strategies, and challenges facing the movement in the next five years, some of which included both internal and external conflict as well as adapting to a changing global context.

10th of October

The second day of the 13th International Meeting opened with one minute of silence in memoriam for the anniversary of the 2015 bombing in Ankara and those 109 people who lost their lives for protesting against violence and war, reminding us of the sisters who have been lost fighting for justice. Following this, the Africa region performed a Mystica including traditional dress, song, and dance to lift our spirits and energize us while celebrating African culture and joy. 

Before getting down to work on the 6th global action, which will take place in 2025, the coordinator (Yildiz) gave a brief review of the history of the global actions since their inception. For the next big action, the international committee proposed 4 main themes: Defense of the commons against transnational corporations, Peace and demilitarization, Feminist economy based on sustainability of life and food sovereignty and Autonomy over our bodies and sexuality.

We then split into 5 working groups based on region to brainstorm and propose themes and political objectives of the 6th Action, which were subsequently summarized and shared with the entire group. Proposals which emerged varied from topics such as climate justice, ending violence against women, working towards a feminist economy, issues with migration and displacement, defending territorial sovereignty against capitalist and imperial forces, and peace and demilitarization. 

Additionally, the afternoon began with a Mystica from the MENA (Middle East-North Africa) region detailing issues faced by women living in this part of the world including natural disasters, imperialism, violence against women (notably the high rates of femicides), political violence, and heard some extremely moving testimonies from victims of religious fundamentalism.

We then had a presentation from the International Secretariat consisting of the activity report, the communication report, and the financial report. These reports help participants understand the role and the activities of the Secretariat and provide an opportunity for them to ask questions. We ended the day by continuing our discussion from the morning regarding our 6th International Action and discussed more specific details such as dates and slogans.

At the end of the day, we reached a consensus to hold the 2025 International Action from March 8 until October 17, as is customary. These decisions will constitute significant progress towards planning our 6th International Action and we will continue to develop this plan in the coming days of the meeting as well as the years leading up to 2025.

11th of October

The third day of the World March of Women’s 13th International Meeting opened with a Mystica from Europe featuring a collective song and dance celebrating the differences and solidarity between the five regions. Following this, discussions were picked up from the previous day, notably reflecting on the report of the International Secretariat and allowing space to ask further questions, as well as further considering our slogan for the 6th International Action. We then split into working groups by language to discuss the trajectory as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the movement.

In the afternoon, the hosting Turkish NCB performed a Mystica, introducing the attendees of the meeting to halay, a traditional communal Turkish dance, which exists in different forms all over the Balkan and the Levant. We then presented the consensus of the working groups, which highlighted the need for improved communication, coordination, and commitment within the movement. This plenary initiated a discussion and presentation of the financial strategy document and proposed amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws, as well as further considerations and suggestions of how we can improve the structure, function, and political objectives of the movement. By the end of the day, the proposed amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws were approved, including expanding our International Committee by increasing the number of effectives from the MENA, Africa, and Asia-Oceania regions. This amendment will improve the representation and capacity of these regions within the movement. 

12th of October

The last day of the World March of Women’s 13th International Meeting began with a Mystica from the Americas acknowledging the injustices experienced by Indigenous peoples throughout the region due to historical and ongoing processes of colonization. We then began the day by further discussing our 6th International Action, including the form the action will take and how we will coordinate actions between regions. We then split into groups to form regional working plans and discuss the nominations for the International Committee elections. In the afternoon, we began with a Mystica from Africa including chants and songs. We then held a plenary to discuss the ideas proposed in the working groups regarding the 6th International Action, some of which included digital actions, strategic location selection, the creation of visuals, and facilitating political training sessions prior to the action in order to mobilize and to clarify political goals and content. October 17 was also proposed and selected as the date for the closing of the Action. Further discussion will be required in order to decide whether a large-scale global action will occur, or if the 2025 Action will instead consist of many parallel local actions. Following this discussion, we held International Committee elections. Several new members were elected, bringing a fresh perspective to the leadership of the movement. We then discussed the draft of the Declaration for the 13th International Meeting, presenting suggestions, additions, and ideas on how it can be improved before the final version is released. Finally, the meeting concluded with the announcement that our 14th International Meeting in 2026 will be held in Tunisia. This completed a week of international feminist solidarity joining women together from across the world. We will continue to march until all women are free!

Also Capire portal have published articles in recent weeks about the history, the memories, and accumulated wisdom from the WMW struggles over the years, looking back on processes, reflections, and mobilizations that have marked the organization.

Read more in our special edition newsletter here.