This forum united women’s and other social movements (labor, rural, peasant, migrant, indigenous, disability, LGBTQ+, etc.) to collectively analyze and engage in the ASEAN Vision 2025 drafting process, and develop alternatives for regional economic integration. The forum was organized by WEAVE (Weaving Women’s Voices in Southeast Asia), a regional network of national women’s organizations, and Regions Refocus.
Distinct and engaging session formats enabled participants from varied backgrounds discuss and strategize. These included: a women’s rights “café tour” where sectors of women’s groups (disability, indigenous, workers, rural) offered their situated perspectives and developed interlinkages on economic, political, and cultural struggles; political theater “tableaux” telling marginalized women’s stories highlighting the interlinkages of economics, political authoritarianism, and cultures of violence; and a strategizing session on how to advance an alternative development agenda with women’s rights in ASEAN.
The forum’s analysis foregrounded the connection between sexual violence and political and economic issues. In WEAVE’s assessment, this consistent linkage reveals to other civil society organizations and even government agencies that sexual violence is not a “single issue” cause, but enmeshed in the political and economic contexts of a particular country. Strategically, the forum provided a space for WEAVE to identify how the policies of the AEC (ASEAN Economic Community) will impact women, locate where women’s groups are positioned in the AEC, and begin to work with allies, especially across sectors. WEAVE distilled the analysis developed by these grassroots movements into an advocacy paper submitted to the Joint Consultative Meeting represented by the different heads of the three pillars of ASEAN; outcomes were also brought to the ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN People’s Forum 2017, which advanced women and girl children’s human rights and access to justice in ASEAN.
Photos below courtesy of WEAVE: