Montreal International Women’s Conference to get underway August 13

Media Advisory, Montreal, Quebec, Friday, August 6, 2010

The first Montreal International Women’s Conference hosted by the Committee of Women of Diverse Origins is set to get underway August 13-16, 2010 in Montreal, Quebec.

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For close to a decade a group of Montreal-based women have been working tirelessly to improve women’s lives here and abroad. They are the Committee of Women of Diverse Origins, and as the name suggests, their members have roots in several countries and they take on a number of social issues from migrants’ rights to violence against women. What makes their approach unique are their strong links to and participation in women’s struggles in their countries of origin including the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Iran, Palestine, Pakistan, Mexico, Ecuador, and Mali, bringing militancy and a truly global perspective to their work here in Quebec and Canada.

August 13-16, 2010, the Committee of Women of Diverse Origins will host the first Montreal International Women’s Conference with the theme of Building a Global Militant Women’s Movement in the 21st century. They are joined by co-conveners from the south including Gabriela Philippines, Asian Rural Women’s Network and Action Network for Marriage Migrants Rights and Empowerment (AMORRE).

Tess Tesalona, Conference Coordinator: “The over two hundred women that will be at this conference represent women’s networks and struggles around the world. Many of these women are on the front lines of life and death situations and resistance movements in their home countries. For us, feminist concerns are not in a vacuum but are related to a broader social context.”

For the past nine years the Committee has organized a March 8 conference and demonstration, mobilizing and inspiring women young and old to support and join struggles against war and violence. This conference, honouring 100 years since the declaration of International Women’s Day, will build on past initiatives, bringing together women from 19 countries and four continents to work towards social progress, the protection of women’s and human rights, and put forward alternatives to imperialist globalization. Among the issues to be discussed are the impact of developmental aggression including large scale mining projects; women’s access to reproductive health; the social cost of migration and migrants’ rights; racism and exploitation in the workplace; and concerns of indigenous communities here and abroad.

“The fact that this conference will happen is a statement of resistance. The initiative and commitment of our sisters around the world is what is driving this process of coming together. We see how important it is to build an alliance and work together. One hundred year after the declaration of the first International Women’s Day, we are still making the same demands. How do we move forward? What kind of society do we want to build? That’s what we’re here to discuss together,” Tesalona said.

Conference speakers will cross generations and continents: elders like Geneva based Edith Ballantyne, a veteran of the international women and peace movement, youth activist Eni Lestari, Indonesian domestic worker in Hong Kong and leader of the International Migrants Alliance, Ellen Gabriel, President of the Quebec Native Women’s Association and outspoken Mohawk leader based in Kanehsatà:ke and Liza Masa, founder of the progressive women’s political party in the Philippines, Gabriela Partylist, which won over a million votes and two seats in Congress in the general elections last May 2010.

Complete speakers’ bios, conference details, the workshop program and more can be found on the conference blog http://miwc2010.wordpress.com/

The conference will take place at 7400 Boulevard St-Laurent right beside the de Castelnau Metro. Opening night and the Solidarity evening are open to the public and will take place a short 12-minute walk from the main Conference centre at Hingston Community Centre 419 St-Roch St., on Friday, August 13, 7pm and Sunday, Aug 15, 7pm respectfully.

A press conference with organizers and international delegates will take place at 10:00 am, Friday, August 13 at the YWCA, 1355 Rene Levesque West in Montreal.

We ask that media acquire press accreditation for the conference through e-mail: miwcmedia@gmail.com

For more information, to arrange interviews with conference organizers and/or international delegates, please contact:

MIWC Media Committee +1 514-961-4047

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