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"Union and solidarity is possible among people of different backgrounds"

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On Saturday the awaited first Go Feminist! conference took place. I was expecting the usual feminist conference, but this one was much more diverse. This was the thing that I most loved most about it. It was diverse in every sense of the word.

There was a large number of women from ethnic minority backgrounds, not only listening but also on the panel; there was a sign language interpreter on stage for the amazing group of deaf feminist women, one of whom also spoke on a panel; there was also a screen with subtitles that fast typists compiled live; there were political refugees explaining their battles as women asylum seekers; and many trans women and members of the LGBT community also participated and spoke on stage. This diversity of people showed the multi-faceted aspects of feminism that are often forgotten by mainstream media and also by some other feminists.

Cristiana Conte and Giuliana Barbaro smiling in front of conference hall

Programme Manager Cristiana Conte and Volunteer Giuliana Barbaro at Go Feminist

Among the panellists, Reineira Arguello, Womankind Head of Programmes, received a large applause after her talk. Reineira talked about the effect of the crisis on the field workers of Ica, Peru, where our partner Fepromu works. Because of the loss of sales, workers are asked to work under harsher conditions, and risk job loss. This has had particularly cruel effects for the women as the number of abuses has risen under these conditions.

We heard the heartbreaking story of Mary from Kenya, a wheelchair user after polio, who has been seeking asylum for more than a decade after escaping. The air in the hall became thin when she narrated how she was badly treated as an asylum seeker by people who could not understand that she was in a wheelchair.

(a great choice as Chair) called for solidarity among women as the only answer to inequality. I felt that this conference showed that union and solidarity is possible among people of different backgrounds who are not afraid to say: “I am a feminist”.

 Post by Giuliana Barbaro

Post by Rosey Ellum

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