Socialist International Women
Ms. President, Dear Sisters.
As outgoing vice-president, having served for 2 terms - 6 years - let
me share the experiences and lessons learned with you.
But first of all - Congratulations to our new President Ms. Dolores. I wish you get even better working conditions than our previous President survived.
And congratulations and thanks to our former President Audreau. You really served the most elegant way and lived up to all our expectations. You turned SIW to a position of respect and working dialog. You took over at a point of frustration in our organisation and you delivered under very difficult circumstances, which I shall come back to a little later. You sat aside all barriers and difficulties of economic and practical barriers - determined to serve the position, to which we have elected you.
So from one of the "old-timers" - thousands of thank to you and the struggle you took on our behalf. Thanks also to colleagues in the Bureau - working with all of you were a great pleasure.
To our incoming President - we know some of the battles you have to fight for us. From the lessons learnt, could I ask you to focus on the changes where we develop our own strategies for feminism and socialism. But also to connect our dreams, suggestions in the guy's club SI.
The next century we shall devote to peace- and democracybuilding. We can't win the peace without women and we can't have democracy without women.
On our way into the next century we have some outstanding personalities with us, such as former Prime Minister of Sweden Mr. Karlson, the former Prime Minister of Norway Ms. Gro Harlem Brundtland, the present Prime Minister of France Lionel Jospin. These people who by example have shown us their dedication for welfare systems, which included women as persons in the circles of power - in half of the positions.
If neither our own party structures nor our international structure SI - can serve the purpose - we can't blame women for expressing themselves alternatively. For the time being the SI does not serve our common ideas well enough. The dedication is simply not there - the organisation is inefficient, and not able to serve. The dedication to include us is non-existing. Who knows about the contents of the SI-congress, who knows about the so-called Gonzales-report, who knows about the Paris-declaration text. But we can all be sure that the event - the last congress of this century, will be referred to as a mayor and outstanding event where 30 Prime Ministers participated, many of them capable of speaking many languages - but not able to listen and understand anyone of them.
You also have to be careful otherwise, the evaluation of all the UN-Conferences will be done by male diplomats.
Let me ask our new President to bridge the gab of SI and SIW - and at the same time develop together with all of us - our own ways and means.
Internet is one of our tools. Connecting people is another very strong weapon. What I learned during last year's meeting in Oslo was, that so many women are now gaining experiences in handling power in new positions both as President of Parliaments, Presidents of Countries, Prime Ministers, Mayors, Opposition Leaders and Party Leaders.
Let us draw on their experiences and learn about the tricks in the corridors of "Powerhouses" and how to handle and share the challenges from the Globalisation. We do all represent Vital Voices - for justice, human rights and democracy.
Like Audrey McLaughlin - I shall say goodbye and a welcome to meet so many of you in all the new working fields that are waiting for us.
See you in cyberspace - see you in the working fields!
It has been an honour to serve as your Vice-president - still serving our common aspiration.
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