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The World March of Women (WMW) is a global network for feminist action that had its genesis in the Quebec women’s movement. WMW focuses on struggles against poverty and violence against women. In 2000, the WMW carried out a series of national actions including popular education, national marches and international mobilization. The climax occurred on October 17, 2000, when women from around the world marched in New York City and delivered five million signatures in support of the 17 world demands of the March to UN headquarters. Representatives of the WMW also met with representatives of the UN Secretary General and the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to present “2000 Good Reasons to Change Course,” which addresses the policies of these institutions.
Canadian women also joined the World March 2000. The Canadian Women’s March Committee, of which NAWL is a member, joined the world action in 2000 and made its own demands of the Canadian federal government in a document entitled It’s Time for Change. Over 30,000 women from across Canada marched onto Parliament Hill in Ottawa in October 2000 in solidarity with women around the globe and in support of the Canadian Women’s March demands to end violence and eradicate poverty.
WMW recognizes the urgent need to propose economic, political, social and cultural alternatives to make possible a world that is founded on gender equality, equality of all human beings and peoples, and the respect of our planet’s environment. WMW also recognizes the necessity to debate our vision among ourselves as women and with allied organizations, locally, nationally, regionally and internationally. Consequently, WMW adopted a new international action that will be carried out in 2005.
The action will include three components: drawing up a Women’s Global Charter for Humanity through a process of popular education based on the 17 World Demands of the March; organizing relay marches starting on March 8, 2005, within participating countries, from one country to another, and one world region to another, to publicize the Charter and gather support for the alternatives being proposed by feminists; and producing a solidarity quilt made of pieces of cloth on which each participant will be invited to illustrate her dream for humanity. The pieces of cloth will be joined together to form a quilt and used during the simultaneous global actions that will take place at the end of 2005.
Women will use the Charter to address their domestic governments and also international institutions. For more information consult the WMW website at http://www.marchemondiale.org/index_html/en.
At its meeting in Ottawa in September 2003, the Canadian March Committee unanimously confirmed participation in the World March of Women’s Action of 2005 and in events leading up to 2005. Additionally, the Canadian March Committee reaffirmed its determination to work together as Canadian national women’s organizations and with women at provincial/territorial and local levels to secure the Canadian Women’s March demands of the March 2000. It is still “Time for Change.”
Bonnie Diamond is the Executive Director of NAWL.