I thank the voters at IAW Congress XXXIX, held virtually, for having given me their trust and raising me to the office of IAW president for the coming Triennium. As I said at Congress, I am charged with “herding cats”. Every woman who is active in IAW is a powerhouse herself, tirelessly and with enormous knowledge and skills, leading efforts to achieve our common goals, “Equal Rights – Equal Responsibilities”. From very basic rights such as food security and bodily integrity to more than the typical woman’s responsibility for the home, but rather extending their “housekeeping” to all levels of government and industry.
As IAW President I am called upon, not to rule, but to encourage, to hold the ship steady, no small challenge after the recent turbulence that has marked the past Triennium, while the wonderful women of the organisation pursue their passions and work to satisfy the needs of their communities as they themselves perceive them. I am not here to satisfy my ambition, but to support the ambitions of all the activists of IAW.
We have a new Board, the decision-making body of IAW when Congress is not in session, full of exciting new people, mostly younger than we who are “old timers”, but not so young as to be inexperienced in feminist struggle. I hope we will bond in the first Board Meetings, with each finding the special task that serves her objectives in joining our Alliance and running for office in it.
Over the coming three years, I will write to you from the home page of the IAW website about the efforts being made on behalf of the women of the world, young and old, poor or well-off, irrespective of race, creed or ethnicity. I hope to encourage us to reach our hands across divides created by the patriarchy to stifle our achievements and our sisterhood. I will start with the five Resolutions that the Congress approved, four of which originated in our industrious Peace Commission, which sees so clearly that without peace, none of the other goals women have for their lives and families can be accomplished.
Fulfilling these Resolutions and the revised Action Programme is not something a President alone can do, not even with the whole Extended Board, it will take intense team work. When all of us pull in the same directions, there is no mountain we cannot move. And as the seniors in our ranks fall back, the young talents will come to the fore to carry on the traditions of the IAW, knowing they have the support of the older generation of feminists.
At the end of a trying virtual Congress, I am determined that we will return to in-person meetings in the coming Triennium. Then we can sit together over a cup or glass of something pleasant, chat in a relaxed manner and come to know one another more deeply, increasing our respect for each other, forging the friendships upon which IAW activism has always been based, since first it was founded 118 years ago. To this end, I hope that Affiliates and Associates who are proud of their countries and wish to show off their projects to the women of the world will consider inviting IAW members to meet on their territories. I thank them in advance and all of you who hold the goals of IAW dear.