On Saturday, the first Estonian feminist forum was held in Tallinn. Equal rights supporters from Estonia and neighboring countries recognized that a caring society could only be built by listening and involving all different groups.
The theme of the forum was “Movement” because the need for feminist community movement and joint resistance against the surge of right-wing extremist politics and authoritarianism in Eastern Europe has become increasingly urgent. In ten workshops and lectures, 80 participants had the chance to discuss with local and international thinkers and activists on how to build such movements.
“What emerged from the discussions at the forum was how important it is, when making decisions, to listen and to take into account the people who will be affected. To accomplish this, we need strong movements, substantial representative organizations, and capable leaders who can provide necessary pressure in situations where politics no longer considers people’s different needs,” Nele Laos, the organizer of the forum, noted.
Among other facilitators, Erika-Evely Ee, a freelance author and educator, explained how important it is to think through how to make your events and movements accessible to people with different needs, e.g. people with disabilities or people who belong in other minority groups. Helsinki-based author Maryan Abdulkarim emphasized the need to critically self-assess if and who your movement is excluding. In the leadership workshop, human rights activist Liisa Past talked about the strengths of character-driven leadership in the third sector. Tarun Gidwani, who has MA degrees from the University of Sussex and the University of Tartu, called for replacing the current aggressive and confrontational political rhetoric with a more compassionate and community-based way of doing politics.
Feministeerium is collecting feedback from the participates in English here.
The next forum will be in two years, in 2021.