Great feminist initiatives are growing from DiEM25 grassroots. It is beautiful to see the forming of groups and discussions in key areas of emancipation within our movement, whether those of online groups like the Thematic DiEM25 Spontaneous Collectives (DSCs) on Gender, or the spaces on our forum where gender equality issues are burgeoning, thanks to all the members who are interested. The end of 2018 and beginning of 2019 has seen the launch of two Women’s groups:
- The Berlin Women’s group – An inspiring and safe space for FLTI DiEM25 Activists. Holding meetings each two weeks they exchange challenges & experiences and discuss ways to increase presence and participation, as well as overall awareness of feminist issues within DiEM25.
- Thessaloniki Women’s Group – Women Solidarity in DiEM25 meets once a week with women of all ages and backgrounds to address issues of society and equality. Recently they focused their actions on violence against women with an event whose motto is that the only way forward is together, in solidarity.
Following the DiEM25 Academy in Cologne the idea of having a group on diversity, open to all those interested, was born and hopefully will flourish soon as well.
Talking to members, women often mention the fact that there are no such groups in their city/country, and that it would be good if there were. It is clear that these initiatives are essential for an inclusive and diverse movement.
Everywhere where members want them, we need to see them being formed, since women’s voices are also an essential component in defending diversity and democracy. This is a point well made by the FEMEN activist from the Ukraine living in exile in Paris, Inna Shevchenko.
She points out that in Europe today, right-wing populists are “one of the main obstacles to progress of women’s rights…they play a lot with people’s emotions and fear and insecurity and they manipulate society in this way, aiming to divide us and using identity politics to reduce us to only one identity, one adjective. Then they claim to represent us, but no, we all have multiple identities and therefore we all have multiple answers.”
She says to us women, “We have to show solidarity to one another and we have to continue making our own proper voices also heard. Because what populists are really afraid of is pluralism. And women’s voices, when they join in public debate, they necessarily push for more pluralism.”
On International Women’s Day let us not only reclaim the streets, but reclaim our democracies… and defend the rights of all the dissenting voices calling for radical progressive change. Let us raise our voices in support of the European Spring candidates who are fighting against the backlash of the right-wing, for equal pay, so long overdue, for reinforcing LGBTTQIA+ rights, and for greater understanding of the systemic misogyny behind gender-based violence – in order to put an end to it… on behalf of all of us.
Gianna Merki and Rosemary Bechler, DiEM25 Coordinating Collective
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