Ms. Leila Khaled of the Palestinian Women’s Union, Ms. Liza Maza, Chairperson of the International Women’s Alliance, Ms. Marie Boti, Secretary General, representatives of the member countries of IWA, delegates, my sisters in the struggle for women’s liberation, ladies and gentlemen, good morning!
It is my distinct honor to welcome you all to the second general assembly of the International Women’s Alliance here in the Philippines, and to be part of this significant solidarity movement to highlight the militancy of women in resisting and actively fighting the intensifying aggression of neoliberalism.
It brings much hope and positivity to be among brave, committed and determined women united by the resolve to end imperialism and its worsening attacks on peoples all over the world, most especially on women and children.
Amid wars and famine, land-grabbing and encroachment of borders, slave-like conditions in workplaces and increasing violence and commodification of women in different parts of the world, women have risen and will continue to rise.
While at the receiving end of the most violent attacks of imperialism, women continue to remain at the forefront of struggles in their respective countries.
The compulsive need to profit from the surplus production of goods has led to inhumane wages under slave-like conditions for workers and the death of local agriculture. Indigenous women and their families are forced out of ancestral lands to give way to destructive large-scale mining projects, multinational plantations and logging conglomerates. The corporate greed for profit from oil, gold and mineral resources are creating wars of aggression and territorial disputes. Women are under attack in all fronts.
From the mountain ranges in Mindanao to the tundras of South America, from the factories of Manila to the sweatshops and assembly lines in Bangladesh, China and India, from the Philippines to Turkey and Syria – we all share stories that are different and yet painfully similar in so many ways.
Here we shall tell stories of women who are not just surviving but who are struggling to uplift the quality of life of their families.
We shall exchange strategies as we narrate our journeys.
We shall further strengthen our ranks and we shall make women and people’s movements a formidable force facing and combating the tentacles of imperialist domination.
Knowing what you have gone through and acknowledging the struggles that you represent give us the confidence to declare that indeed, “Women, united, will never be defeated; People, united, will never be defeated!”
Long live international solidarity! Once again, welcome and Mabuhay tayong lahat! ###
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