So this year is the 30th anniversary of the International Year of the Woman. This time 30 years ago women from all over New Zealand converged on Wellington for the national Women’s Convention. So this year another convention is being held to celebrate and evaluate the gains made for women since then and look at what needs women in New Zealand have in a contemporary context and where we need to go from here.
Sounds like all good stuff.
The conference is a pretty elitist affair. For a start the registration fee is $200, sure there is a fund to help low income women attend but what kind of message is this giving to women?
I have spoken to a number of feminist activists who can’t go because of the money. And these are amazing young hardworking activists. The sorts of women I would expect to see at the front of this conference.
Then there’s the programme itself. This seems to be a big series of ‘big-skirts’ telling the conference what the issues are and what they’ve done to fix them. Don’t get me wrong, this is important, but not I believe, what the focus should be. I was really dissapointed to see that there is a young women’s caucus, but it clashes with the only other special workshop sessions scheduled for the conference. And those workshops cover the areas where most young women activists I know are actually working ie environmental activism and non-violence/peace activism.
I’m not going to be in Wellington that weekend, but if I was I think I’d rather be protesting outside.