Gender, Sexuality, Islam & Science – Spring 2023
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This reading & discussion course will create a space for participants to reflect on and debate critical perspectives in the development of discourses on gender and feminism across the world. The readings explore the variety …

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Women Transforming A World Radically in Crisis: A Framework for Beijing 25+

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CSBR joins feminist organizations and networks across the globe to endorse Women Transforming A World Radically in Crisis: A Framework for Beijing 25+, a collective framework for resisting neoliberal capitalism and climate change: the critical, structural obstacles to gender justice and women’s human rights. 

  1. Framework

In 1995, the NGO forum of the Fourth World Conference on Women was titled “Looking at the World Through Women’s Eyes.” It placed on the global stage the collective vision of women’s movements worldwide, which was pivotal to advancing the most progressive outcomes adopted by the conference. While we have seen achievements in the twenty-five years since, we have also witnessed backlash against those gains and the consolidation of power imbalances and structures underlying women’s oppression, with dire results.

The world is in a state of profound crisis, laying bare the perverse arrangement of capitalism. The ideologies that have been deployed for centuries to justify the accumulation of capital live on today through neoliberalism and the insidious contemporary incarnations of patriarchy, white supremacy, and colonialism that are central to its functioning. As systemic drivers of women’s oppression and inequality, they form an interlocking system that must be confronted.

In marking the Beijing+25, we must celebrate and affirm gains we have made in countering this system and advancing women’s human rights; harness our rage at the crises confronting our communities and ecologies; build on the hope of women’s mobilization and transformative actions; and take collective action to forge solidarity with other resistance and liberation movements, demanding accountability of states and the private sector.

Neoliberal capitalism is a key driver of current global crises. Its core logic positions “free” markets and profit above people and the planet. Women have long been at the forefront of struggles against this system, understanding it to be fundamentally incompatible with the liberation and empowerment of women, and transgender and gender non-conforming people. As we understand patriarchal structures and white supremacy to be central to the current functioning of neoliberal capitalism—evident in the mountain of unpaid care work on which corporate profits rest—the market cannot be an effective mechanism through which to correct gender, racial, or ethnic inequality. Instead, active policy interventions that seek to restructure the current, unequal state of the economy and society are fundamental to a feminist approach. Neoliberalism attacks regulation and policy interventions that might constrain capital; it is, therefore, fundamentally at odds with gender justice and human rights.

Global capital is more fearsome than ever, shepherded through decades of unrestrained growth and extractivism by neoliberal dominance, and unchecked by neo-extractivist developmentalist models. In its pursuit of profit, it has caused ecological devastation, underdevelopment, violence, and repression through deepening authoritarianism worldwide. At worst, it actively sows division and social inequality where it can profit; at best, it either ignores or co-opts popular struggles to advance its own agenda (evident in recent attempts to advance trade liberalization under the guise of women’s empowerment.) From structural adjustment programs in the 1980s to contemporary debt distress, the neoliberal system has used financial and political tools to keep countries, especially in the global South, tied to the interests of global capital, undermining their right to development, and the agency to imagine and adopt policies that prioritize the needs of their people. While trade liberalization, deregulation, austerity, and privatization have been justified in the name of “economic growth,” these neoliberal policies have failed to improve standards of living for the majority of the world’s poor. Instead they have exacerbated existing inequalities of power, particularly along the fault lines of resource and wealth disparities between countries, between rich and poor, between men and women, and between dominant and oppressed racial and ethnic groups.

In Mexico City, we will converge as diverse constituencies of women across social movements who resist these structures of oppression in their various contexts. In a time of dire crisis, we seek a radical transformation of a world in crisis, putting women, people, and the planet over profit.

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