The 4th War Resisters’ International (WRI) Women’s Conference is planned for November 25 to December 1, 1992 near Bangkok, Thailand. The conference will be organised by WRI and five Thai women’s groups. Participation is being limited to 150 community-based women activists who have shown a commitment to nonviolent social change, with a strong emphasis on promoting exchanges between women from the Southern hemisphere. The Conference’s 7 languages will be Thai, Spanish, French, English and at least one other Asian language.
The title of the conference is “Women Overcoming Violence: Redefining Development and Changing Society Through Nonviolence,” which reflects the three main issues the conference will deal with: militarism, poverty and nonviolent solutions, as experienced by women. The conference will consist of a plenary session around the main theme every day, and many related workshops. One day will be spent visiting women’s groups (Friends of Women, Foundation for Women) in near-by Bangkok, in addition to a women’s cooperative. That night the conference will visit EMPOWER, a prostitutes’ self-help collective in Patpong, Bangkok’s red-light district.
The plenary for November 26 will deal with “Women Overcoming Violence”. After a break, working groups will take up some of the issues presented in the plenary, and then the first round of workshops will begin. Workshop topics will include Sexual Exploitation of Women, Experiences with Court Cases and Supporting Women Prisoners, Violence Against Lesbians, Racism and Overcoming It, Women in Rich Countries Opposing the Ruling Ethos, Rape and Supporting Rape Survivors. The afternoon series of workshops will include assertiveness training, communication skills, techniques for nonviolent education, and conflict resolution.
The next day’s theme will be on “Women and Militarisation”. The format is much the same—the day can begin with optional yoga or swimming, then breakfast, then a plenary and working groups. The morning round of workshops will include Militarisation and Prostitution, Women Struggling Against Violence in Their Own Communities, Women in the Army and Police. The afternoon workshops will deal with Women Opposing Totalitarianism, Women and Conscientious Objection, Women’s Roles in Conflicts Between Communities, Women’s Place in People’s Movements and the Gulf War.
The following day’s theme is “Women Defining Our Own Development”. The topics for the morning workshops will include Ways to Gain Economic Independence, Links Between Consumerism and Poverty, Women and Ecology, Links Between Militarisation and Development and The 2nd World: Between the 1st and 3rd Worlds. Afternoon workshops will debate redefining development. A video show will be offered this night.
An evaluation will be conducted halfway through the conference, and the results offered on November 30. The Agenda Committee will also meet on this day to discuss proposals for follow up, which will be discussed in working groups. A cultural evening will be held.
December 1 will see the last plenary session and evaluation, plus a press conference. If people are interested in exposure tours after the Conference, such as a trip to investigate sex tourism in Chiang Mai or the situation of the hill tribes in Northern Thailand, please request more information as soon as possible.