Webinar: Women Changing the World, in the Past and Today

Banner for International Hub webinar 4 Dec 2022A discussion hosted by the International Action Hub of the National Council of Women of New Zealand and sponsored by the Pacific Women’s Watch NZ was held via the NCWNZ Zoom on Sunday, December 4th at 2 p.m. New Zealand Time. The panel of four women from around the world examined current and past roles of women's organisations in collaborative efforts at an international level to create lasting social change. The event was chaired by Carol Beaumont, NCWNZ Board member, and the live webinar included sign language interpreters. 

The panelists included:

Forough Amin, PhD Anna Lee Fos-Tuvera Catherine Fosl, PhD Megan Hutching, PhD

Forough Amin, PhD, founder of Iranian Women in NZ Charitable Trust (IWIN).
Dr. Amin founded IWIN in 2020 as the first organization specifically working for Iranian women in New Zealand. Forough has a PhD in Language and Communication from Auckland University of Technology. Before coming to NZ, she was a university lecturer in Iran for 11 years. She has published several articles on critical analysis of media and political discourses. After completing her PhD, she decided to leave academia and dedicate herself to work for the betterment of the community and women. Forough’s research interests currently focus on women’s rights and movements in the Middle East and North Africa.

Anna Lee Fos-Tuvera, Director, Gender Equality Activities, International Trade Union Confederation-Asia Pacific (ITUC-AP) Singapore.
Fos-Tuvera is responsible for coordinating the implementation
of the Platform of Action for Gender Equality, the ITUC-AP’s framework towards the achievement of gender policy in the region. She provides technical support to the ITUC-AP Women’s Committee,
a regional body composed of women leaders from 59 affiliated organizations in 34 countries in the region. Before joining ITUC-AP in 2013, she has been with the largest trade union movement in the
Philippines for more than 10 years, in charge at various times, in organizing training and workers’
education programs, managing development cooperation projects, and rendering research and evaluation services on industrial relations. Fos-Tuvera received her Bachelor in Political Science (major in International Relations) at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines and a Masters’ degree in Applied Labour Economics for
Development from Turin School of Development (ITC-ILO).

Cate Fosl, PhD, historian, professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Louisville in Kentucky USA.
Cate Fosl is an anti-racist feminist historian, writer, and professor at the University of Louisville, where she also co-founded and for 15 years directed the Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research. She is the author of three books centered on social justice, as well as the first-ever public history report to document a U.S. state’s LGBTQ past. Her first book (1989) was Women for All Seasons, a history of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, inspired by two years she spent as a young woman on the WILPF legislative staff in Washington, DC.

Megan Hutching, PhD, historian. Megan Hutching is a freelance historian, specialising in oral history. Her research interests are women’s history and political activism. She is particularly interested in the history of women’s peace activism in New Zealand and has published articles on women’s opposition to the First World War and the establishment of the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom here in Aotearoa New Zealand.

You can view the webinar on the NCWNZ YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/OeYLlAt7tU4

The following provides some background on the organisations represented in the panel:

The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) is a non-profit non-governmental organization working "to bring together women of different political views and philosophical and religious backgrounds determined to study and make known the causes of war and work for a permanent peace" and to unite women worldwide who oppose oppression and exploitation. WILPF has national sections in nearly fifty countries. WILPF is the oldest women's peace group in the world; headquartered in Geneva, WILPF holds observer status with the United Nations. WILPF developed out of the International Women's Congress against World War I that took place in The Hague, Netherlands, in 1915 and the formation of the International Women's Committee of Permanent Peace (the name WILPF was not chosen until 1919). New Zealanders were present at its founding which involved many European and U.S. women - Jane Addams, an American activist and the second woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, was elected the first president.

The International Trade Union Confederation-Asia Pacific (ITUC-AP) consists of 59 trade unions from 34 countries and territories in Asia and the Pacific region. The Confederation was founded on 4 September 2007 in Bangalore, India, originating from the merger of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions - Asia Pacific Regional Organisation and the Brotherhood of Asian Trade Unions. There are approximately 60 million members. ITUC-Asia Pacific’s Constitution expressly guarantees the full integration of women in trade unions and the promotion of full gender parity in leadership bodies and activities at all levels. The ITUC-Asia Pacific and its affiliates commit to advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment through the Platform of Action for Gender Equality (PAGE), renewed every four years. The ITUC-Asia Pacific Women’s Committee is chaired by Yoshiko Norimatsu, and Paola Simonetti is Director of the Equality Department at the ITUC.They provide leadership on how affiliates should build workers’ power with gender equality and inclusion at the core of trade union actions. Anna Tuvera, Director of ITUC-AP’s Gender Equality Activities, presented in May 2022 a high-level review of the proposed activities slated for this year, including the "WaY2GO 2.0," a joint project with the DGB Bildungswerk Bund (BW) to advance the engagement of women and young trade unionists in leadership representations and social dialogues. Another goal this year for the Women's Committee is to broaden support for the International Labour Organization Convention 190 (C190), the first international treaty focused on eliminating violence and harassment in the workplace.

The Iranian Women in New Zealand (IWIN) Charitable Trust started in November 2020. Their mission is to promote women’s empowerment and social empathy. The group works on “advocating gender equality, encouraging community support, promoting solidarity and collaboration among Iranian women and their families, and through our core values that are respecting religious and cultural diversity, accepting differences of opinion, respecting moral and humanitarian values as well as collaborating with other organizations working for women, and promoting charitable work and volunteering.” They have offered several different events for the public in Auckland, such as art shows and commemorative events. They also offered a workshop for Farsi speakers on building a safer community by responding to people with empathy and dignity. A recent event hosted by IWIN was a panel discussion on women's activism against discrimination, violence, misogyny and patriarchy in Iran, Afghanistan, and New Zealand.

To read more articles from The Circular (Nov-Dec 2022) issue 638, click on the tag below.
Tags for Circular Issue 638


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