Year after year, women from all corners of Argentina get together to try and make our thousands of voices heard, through an open, democratic and participatory system.
These meetings are the most important expression of the fights and struggles we face in our different places, neighborhoods, cities, homes, works, etc.
In them, we all learn together, we say it is one big school. We share our experiences among women from very different places in our country. Thousands of us discovered through the Encuentros that the daily oppression we endure is not our destiny.
We do this through a practice that contradicts the social practices imposed upon women, and it is in the workshops of the Encuentro where we recover the voices of those of us who have no voice.
Thus we strengthen this democratic, horizontal and heterogeneous space, which has no owner because it belongs to all of us.
The Organizing Commission is temporarily set up and dissolves after each Encuentro once the new host city has been chosen. It works by building consensus and is the sovereign authority of the Encuentros. All members of the Commission are volunteers and receive no payment for their service.
The workload is usually divided into sub-commisions ordered by subject, like Press, Finances, Culture and Program. These sub-commissions meet regularly to elaborate plans which are the debated and approved in the plenary sessions. Decisions are taken based on democratic discussion and resolution is by consensus.
The Encuentros are self-funded by the inscription fees, which are deliberately low so any woman can participate. Colaborations from national and international NGOs, institutions, corporations, cooperatives, unions, the State and all citizenship are accepted, although not in exchange for any type of conditioning.
Source (in Spanish): 28° Encuentro Nacional de Mujeres
The debate workshops are the heart of the Encuentro. In them, the usual structure in which some speak and others listen in silence is broken, allowing every woman to participate. These workshops are considered sovereign, democratic and pluralistic spaces. Every woman participating has the right to express herself and be heard. When a workshop is larger than 40 participants, it is recommended to split into sub-commissions. What is shared, debated, elaborated, and all conclusions belong only to the women participating in a specific workshop.
Inside the workshops, we cease to be “the woman” to become women suffering the double oppression imposed on our gender, and living the everyday reality of our own country. A reality which affects us as women, a reality we intend to change based on our coincidences and the respect for our differences. This is how we achieved coordinated actions in the fight for our rights and our freedom.
The methodology is based on consensus, and there is no voting: all opinions and points of view are recorded. Each workshop has a coordinator appointed by the Organizing Commission, who is in charge of guaranteeing the participation of all women. She will not participate in the debate, instead is in charge of keeping an ordered discussion. The participants of each workshop will also choose two or more secretaries, who will register all opinions and debates, and the conclusions are elaborated based on those notes. The final document is written in special sheets which are handed to the Organizing Commission on the last day.
Once the Encuentro is over, the Organizing Commission edits the Conclusions from all workshops in a booklet, which is distributed among the participants the following year.
Source (in Spanish): 28° Encuentro Nacional de Mujeres
The Encuentros Nacionales de Mujeres (National Women’s Meetings) which take place annually in Argentina since 1986 find their origin in the III World Conference in Nairobi, Kenya on July 1985 to review and appraise the achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women declared in the World Conference of the International Women’s Year, held in Mexico in 1975.
The Nairobi Women’s NGO Forum gathered 15.000 women from almost every country in the world. A group of participants were women from Argentina, who upon their return decided to call an autonomous meeting in order to organize mobilizations in our own country.
The first National Women’s Meeting in Argentina took place in the city of Buenos Aires, in May 1986. The Organizing Commission was conformed by 43 women from Buenos Aires, from the most diverse social and political backgrounds, sometimes pertaining to political parties, unions and organizations, but were members of the Comission on a personal basis.
Keeping the methodology used in the NGO Forum in Nairobi, they selected a list of topics for the workshops, which could be expanded by the proposals of the women who participated, creating ad hoc workshops.
The central subject of the first Encuentro was the current situation of women in Argentina and strategies for change analyzed from different aspects: identity, violence, education, media, political participation, sexuality, work, family, free time, isolation, communication and women’s bodies.
Over 1000 women from all Argentinean provinces attended the first meeting. There was an exposition of videos, debate panels and works of research. Women shared empanadas, wine, meals, coffee and conversations, helping all of us to meet each other and share work and life experiences with women from all corners of the country.
This experience was so positive that women decided to repeat the meeting annually in different cities. In the final assembly, the city of Córdoba was chosen as the host for the following year. Conclusions form the debate workshops were read aloud, expressing the diversity and multiplicity of experiences, ideas and opinions, agreements and disagreements, as part of one collective social movement.
Source (in Spanish): dálogos, propuestas, historias
|V||1990||Termas de Río Hondo||Santiago del Estero||4.000||18||—|
|VI||1991||Mar del Plata||Buenos Aires||8.000||27||2|
|VIII||1993||San Miguel de Tucumán||Tucumán||7.000||25||4|
|IX||1994||Corrientes||Corrientes||No data available||16||—|
|X||1995||San Salvador de Jujuy||Jujuy||7.000||29||1|
|XII||1997||San Juan||San Juan||8.000||33||—|
|XIV||1999||San Carlos de Bariloche||Río Negro||13.000||31||—|
|XVI||2001||La Plata||Buenos Aires||15.000||41||6|
|XX||2005||Mar del Plata||Buenos Aires||30.000||47||3|
|XXI||2006||San Salvador de Jujuy||Jujuy||15.000||55||—|
|XXII||2007||Córdoba||Córdoba||30.000||63 – 70||—|
|XXIV||2009||San Miguel de Tucumán||Tucumán||20.000||50||—|
|XXVI||2011||San Carlos de Bariloche||Río Negro||18.000||150||—|
|XXVIII||2013||San Juan||San Juan||20.000||57||—|
|XXX||2015||Mar del Plata||Buenos Aires|
Source (in Spanish): Wikipedia