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Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development

NAME: Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development




YOUR POSITION: Communications Officer


DATE FOUNDED: 01/10/1986

WHY FOUNDED: APWLD developed from dialogues among Asia Pacific women lawyers, social scientists and activists, which began at the 1985 Third World Forum on Women, held in Nairobi, Kenya. The women participating in the dialogues recognised that while law is used as an instrument of state control over resources, rights and even women’s bodies, it can also be used to help effect political and socio-economic changes in our societies.

Participants in these dialogues recognised that gaining the capacity to mobilise populations to understand the social, economic and political dimensions of women’s oppression and take collective action for change required a clear focus and strong organisation. In December 1986, women-delegates from across Asia met in Tagaytay, Philippines to discuss the most pressing socio-legal issues facing women and to explore possible areas of collaborative action. The outcome of this meeting was the formation of APWLD, the first regional response to the challenges of Nairobi.

In 1986, women lawyers and other activists in the region formally launched APWLD and set up a secretariat in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Secretariat relocated to Chiangmai, Thailand in October 1997.

GOALS: APWLD is Asia Pacific’s leading feminist, membership driven network. We hold consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Our 180 members represent groups of diverse women from 25 countries in the region. For nearly 25 years APWLD has been empowering women to use law as an instrument of change for equality, justice, peace and development. We use research, training, advocacy and activism to claim and strengthen women’s human rights.

YOUNG WOMEN RELEVANCE: APWLD is making a concerted effort to diversify our membership and our outreach to young women.

MULTIGENERATIONAL: yes, it is multigenerational

MULTIGENERATIONAL SUCCESS: If yes, how successful has the organization been in facilitating multigenerational relationships and/or highlighting young women issues?

In recent trainings we have encouraged and selected participants that represent both senior and junior positions within women’s organisations. This also allows for translation where younger grassroots women require it.

SCOPE: Our work is focused on Asia Pacific but interacts with both national, regional and international structures and processes.

FOCUS: Women’s political participation
Feminist law and practice
Gender and development effectiveness
Women and climate justice
International human rights mechanisms and the UN Special Procedures Mechanisms
Women and ASEAN
Labour and Migration – specifically migrant women domestic workers
Women and Water and Sanitation
Rural and Indigenous Women
Women and food sovereignty

STRUCTURE: Our diverse membership provides the strength and expertise that both drives and executes our programme activities. APWLD members come together every three years in a General Assembly. They appoint a Regional Council to govern APWLD and a smaller Programme and Management Committee to oversee operations. Our Secretariat in Chiangmai carries out day to day operations and provides for programme implementation as well as financial and technical support.

ISSUES: How does the organization respond to issues faced by young women specifically?

PARTNERS: We have 180 grassroots women’s organisations as members and over 40 partners. Internationally, APWLD is part of the WLD network that includes WILDAF(Women in Law and Development Africa) and CLADEM (Latin American and Carribean Committee for the Defense of Womens Rights).

COLLABORATION: APWLD welcomes increased networking and advocacy with women’s organisations that share our goals to protect and promote women’s human rights.

NETWORKING: We will be launching a new and interactive website in late March of 2011. A ‘Community’ part of the site will allow young women to communicate with other activists, joint groups for advocacy and discussion or network.

OUTREACH: Through our events we accept membership applications from participants.

INVOLVEMENT: Please see after March 25th, 2011

RESPONSE: only positive

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