By Wendy Robertson
Resistance has decided to organise, along with other feminist students, a range of workshops for this year's Network of Women Students of Australia conference (July 16-20 in Melbourne) covering issues which have not so far been included in the conference agenda. The workshops will aim to draw out political debates and discussions that are needed to strengthen the feminist movement on and off campus, and facilitate discussion of campaigns of immediate importance, such as those against the proposed "voluntary student unionism" legislation and for women's reproductive rights.
Resistance has decided to give priority to organising the workshops to maintain the tradition of NOWSA as an open conference where different perspectives and important political campaign priorities are reflected. Especially when, as now, women's rights are under sustained attack, it is crucial that the NOWSA conference — by far the largest gathering of campus feminist activists each year — realises its potential to increase the political unity and activity of campus feminists.
Resistance has begun to put together workshops on topics such as "Transgender women — is biology destiny?", "Women-only organising and the role of men in the movement","Can you DIY (Do It Yourself) feminism?", "Women students and VSU", "East Timorese women in the front line" and "The meaning of abortion rights".
These workshops will include speakers who are active in campus women's collectives and/or have made important contributions to debates and campaigns. Some of these women have been excluded from speaking on plenary panels at the conference. Tamil, Kurdish, East Timorese and Latin American speakers will present their perspectives on the struggle against sexism and its relationship to struggles against racial and national oppression.
Over the next few weeks, Resistance will be doing its best to encourage feminists from around the country to attend NOWSA and participate in these important discussions. For more information about the workshops or to get involved in organising workshops and speakers, phone the Resistance national office on (02) 9690 1230.