Message from the Board President

Dear Colleagues,

Throughout 2012, a number of global trends and events at different levels continued to impact the work we do as women’s rights activists. As the ongoing systemic crisis deepens, with interconnected effects on the global financial crisis and economic recession, impacting crisis of food, environment, care work and increasing inequality, so democratic space shrinks with the ongoing criminalization of dissent. Religious fundamentalisms are on the rise all around the world and across religions, with negative consequences for women’s rights. Violence against women human rights defenders across a broad diversity of movements and causes has continued to rise and while women’s rights advocates hold the line on past gains, our movements remain fragmented and under-resourced.

In this complex context, AWID reached some important milestones. The year 2012 marked AWID’s 30th anniversary, the end of the strategic plan 2006-2012 and the convening of our largest international Forum yet!

The 12th International AWID Forum took place in Istanbul, Turkey from April 19-22, 2012. It was the most inclusive, accessible and diverse AWID Forum to date bringing together 2,239 women’s rights activists from 141 countries and every region of the world. Forum participants represented a wide range of groups and areas and levels of work. Through our very diverse Forum programme, women’s rights advocates explored different dimensions of economic power and its intersections with women’s rights issues. As the feedback to the Forum survey showed, this Forum played a meaningful role in impacting the agendas of women’s movements so that economic issues feature more centrally on their agendas and priorities internationally and building connections across sectors, issues, regions and movements. As the final year of the strategic plan, 2012 also provided an opportunity to evaluate our work and consider the most strategic role for AWID to play in the next four years. More than ever, we are committed to strengthening feminist movement-building and the building of collective power to effectively advance women’s rights and gender equality. As AWID moves into a new strategic plan, our staff and Board of Directors bring a renewed determination to demonstrate and support the important role of women’s rights advocates, organizations and movements to advance women’s rights and gender justice at local, regional and global levels. As AWID members, we hope you will join us in this vital task.

Finally, I want to take this opportunity to recognize the work of Lina Abou-Habib, AWID’s previous Board President (2011-2012). Thank you for your unfailing support, strategic guidance and deep commitment to women’s human rights and justice. I would also like to acknowledge the important contributions of our Board members whose terms ended in 2012.


Sarah Costa,
President, Board of Directors