The Tribune shed light on the existence of different women and feminisms. This disunity set the tone of the Tribune, yet it is exactly the main achievement of the event; women did listen closely to one another and heard their struggles.[xiii] Precisely because it took place in the real world, and involved real people, the Tribune was an arena where conflict met insubordination.[xiv] And from unfamiliar experiences, a collective intelligence of their discrimination emerged, accompanied by the desire to challenge power structures and displace limits to which they were subjected.
Regardless of their origins or political orientation, all participants had been discriminated against because of their gender. Their value production and workforce were invisibilised; they all felt the excessive workload that fell on their shoulders but was excluded from economic data.[xv] They recognized one another in the subjugated position they were placed compared to men, in their lives inextricably limited by the domestic.[xvi] Debates abounded on the invisibilization of women's work, and a Romanian woman noted with exasperation, “[w]e are too tired to fight about the division of labor”.[xvii]
The shared feeling of invisibilization did not erase different life experiences. For some, domestic work involved daily walks to collect firewood or subsistence food production. Multiple oppressions transversely challenge women's lives; beyond double burden, women of colour suffer racism, and working-class women are constantly concerned about how to pay the rent. Yet among their heterogeneities, the feeling of a lesser life was inescapable.
Collectively they diagnosed their own precarity, and, refusing to accept their invisibility, participants took the ideas of the Tribune back home to challenge their own limits. The Tribune was indeed an important arena for the transnational diffusion of ideas, and women there were agents of diffusion and translation.[xviii] The Tribune was a transnational event with no “specific territoriality”,[xix] where women from all over the world designed, circulated, and re-designed ideas: “After the exhilaration of the tribune, many activists shared one participant’s view that it had “fantastic potential as a fruitful learning-teaching-sharing device and even perhaps as an embryonic ‘parliament of the world’ (...)”.[xx] As true protagonists, participants interacted and created personal bonds which resulted in the consolidation of transnational networks, which are central mechanisms for the diffusion of gender mainstreaming bureaucracies.[xxi] Translating what they learned collectively at the Tribune, they returned home and established feminist non-governmental organizations and promoted regional encounters to discuss their own situation.[xxii]
The feminist potencia is a counter-power that challenges the dominant structures. It is a proposal to fully transform society, which cannot remain oblivious to the integral role of women. We suggest that this potencia is found in the Tribune, whose legacy still crosses borders and generations. Within their own heterogeneity, women at the Tribune interacted in a transnational arena, circulated ideas, and translated them into their local realities. They carried the potencia and the desire to claim for a new future, the same driving force that still carries women to strikes and assemblies to demand less precarious lives.
This research received the financial support of the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel/Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior - CAPES
[i] Resolution A/RES/3010 (XXVII) adopted by the General Assembly during its 27th session, 1972. Available at: <https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/191761>. Accessed on May 11, 2021.
[ii] Document n. E/CONF.66/34: “Report of The World Conference of the International Women 's Year”. Available at: <https://undocs.org/E/CONF.66/34>. Accessed on May 11, 2021.
[iii] Gago, V. (2020). Feminist International: How to Change Everything. London: Verso. Verónica Gago theorizes the feminist potencia considering the experience of multiple subjects oppressed by the patriarchy, including women, lesbians, travestis, trans people and non-binary. In this text, we refer to the experience of women.
[iv] Gago note 1, at Chapter 4.
[v] Gago note 1, at Introduction, para. 8 and Chapter 5, Excursus.
[vi] Butler, J. (2015). Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, at 32-34.
[vii] Gago note 1, Chap. 5, Excursus, para. 5.
[viii] Gago note 1, Chap. 1, Unprecedented Alliances, para. 4.
[ix] Ghodsee, K. (2018). Second World, Second Sex: Socialist Women’s Activism and Global Solidarity during the Cold War. Durham: Duke University Press. See also: McCarthy, H. (2015) “The Diplomatic History of Global Women’s Rights: The British Foreign Office and International Women’s Year, 1975”. Journal of Contemporary History, 50(4), 833-853.
[x] Olcott, J. (2017). International Women’s Year: The Greatest Consciousness-Raising Event in History. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
[xi] Ibid, at 139. See also: Chungara, D. (1978). Let me Speak! Testimony of Domitila, a woman of the Bolivian mines. New York: Monthly Review Press, at 197.
[xii] Ghodsee note 10. Olcott note 11.
[xiii] Chungara note 12 at 202-203.
[xiv] Olcott note 11, at 5.
[xv] Whitaker, J. (1975) “Women of the World: Report from Mexico City”. Foreign Affairs, 54(1), 173-181.
[xvi] Olcott note 11, at 143.
[xvii] Ibid. See also Whitaker note 16.
[xviii] Whitaker note 16, at 179.
[xix] Oliveira, O.; Pal, L. (2018). “Novas fronteiras e direções na pesquisa sobre transferência, difusão e circulação de políticas públicas: agentes, espaços, resistência e traduções”. Revista de Administração Pública, 52 (2), 199-220.
[xx] Ibid, at 207.
[xxi] Olcott note 11, at 231.
[xxii] True, J.; Mintrom, M. (2001). “Transnational Networks and Policy Diffusion: The case of Gender Mainstreaming”. International Studies Quarterly, 45, 27-57.
[xxiii] The Mexican feminist collective La Revuelta and the 1981 Latin American and Caribbean Feminist Encuentro, in Bogotá, Colombia are examples of these translations. See Olcott note 11.
(Olcott, J. (2017). International Women’s Year: The Greatest Consciousness-Raising Event in History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, at 3.