Women in Development Europe (WIDE)
Table of Contents
Women In Development Europe (WIDE)
WIDE – Globalising Gender Equality and Social Justice is a European feminist network of women´s organisations, development NGOs, gender specialists and women´s rights advocates.
WIDE monitors and influences international economic and development policy and practice from a feminist perspective.
WIDE´s work is grounded on women´s rights as the basis for the development of a more just and democratic world order and the search for alternative approaches to the economic mainstream.
WIDE enables members and partners to articulate alternatives to the negative impacts of globalisation, and makes feminist alternatives visible. Through the dissemination of our research and analysis, WIDE promotes gender equality and social justice.
History of WIDE
WIDE was formed in 1985 in response to the Forward-Looking Strategies (FLS) developed at the UN Third World Conference on Women in Nairobi. Women from European development NGOs who had been at the UN Women´s Conference in Nairobi saw the need for a European network of women working on ´women and development´ issues within NGOs, research institutions, and solidarity groups.
WIDE can proudly look back on 25 years of existence; in these years, not only has the geopolitical context changed considerably, but also the WIDE network has undergone a significant changes in emphasis and focus of its activities and its organisational structure. Over the years, WIDE developed from an informal network of women working on ‘women and development’ issues within non-governmental organisations (NGOs), research institutions, and solidarity groups (1985), to a formal network with a professional secretariat based in Brussels, being known for its outstanding expertise on gender and trade/macroeconomic issues.
Throughout its history, WIDE has gone through important changes in emphasis and focus of its activities, in response to the global economic and development processes of the last twenty-five years. Today, WIDE is an international advocacy network that produces, uses and disseminates state-of-the-art material and strives for women’s economic, social, cultural and political empowerment in all major international economic and development related negotiations and policy arenas.
WIDE’s history reflects a shift from lobbying for the integration of women’s issues and feminist perspectives into development policies of major European donors and the European Union as a whole, to monitoring global macro-economic and trade institutions and processes, capacity building around these issues and to promoting alternative feminist approaches for gender equality and social justice.
Over the years, WIDE has established a professional approach to its areas of activity. WIDE has established itself as an independent and united European civil society organization. WIDE also has acquired an excellent reputation as an independent and professionally run women’s network.
WIDE Activity Areas
Over the 25 years of existence, WIDE is now uniquely equipped to link conceptual work with networking and lobbying on the one hand and direct capacity building on the other. WIDE is also an independent ‘outside’ lobbyist for gender issues in the large scale policy processes, working in close collaboration with the European Commission, the European Parliament and monitoring other international institutions (UN, WTO). With its strong membership and representation in Europe, as well as with its affiliation to the worldwide feminist networks and social movements, the WIDE Network has become an important actor in the field of gender, trade and development.
WIDE’s main three pillars of activities are: lobbying, advocacy and awareness raising; networking; capacity building.
WIDE carries with its main activities in a trialogue approach ‘East-West and South’.
Lobbying, advocacy and awareness raising
WIDE raises awareness of the complexities of political, economic and social dynamics and analyses the impact of European and international policies – such as those of the European Union (EU) and the World Trade Organization – on women´s lives and on gender relations. WIDE lobbies the EU and international institutions like the WTO and the UN to adopt gender sensitive policies, and also monitors the implementation of women´s rights instruments, e.g. the Fourth World Conference on Women and the CEDAW.
WIDE promotes dialogue and co-operation among women worldwide through conferences, seminars and consultations, as well as through active participation in social movement events at national, European and international levels. We are part of groups such as GCAP, S2B, ETN and IGTN, among others.
WIDE´s networking is three-pronged:
1. we use the strength and resources of being a network to influence external policies,
2. we work externally with other organisations and allies to influence policies,
3. we work internally to make the WIDE network even stronger.
WIDE´s capacity building project enables members and partners to participate in debates on the global economy by enhancing their understanding of economic and trade issues as well as of the conceptual links between gender, trade and development.
Today, the membership of the network is composed of eleven national platforms and one regional platform in Europe, these being national non-governmental development and women’s organizations; WIDE membership also brings together individual members, who are gender specialists, human rights activists, and people interested in gender and development issues. A crucial element in WIDE’s organizational set- up is the member networks from all regions of the world.
WIDE has 11 National Platforms (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Bulgaria and the UK) and one regional Platform (KARAT) varying in strength and resources. National Platforms form the pillars of WIDE’s membership through an active participation in WIDE’s programmes and activities as well as through their participation in the Steering Group meetings.
WIDE National and Regional Platforms are:
1. WIDE Austria
2. Belgium, Le Monde selon les Femmes
3. Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation (BGRF)
4. Denmark, K.U.L.U. Women and Development
5. Eastern Europe and CIS countries, KARAT
6. Finland, FinnWID
7. Ireland, Banúlacht
8. The Netherlands, WO=MEN
9. Spain CONGDE
10. Sweden, GADIP
11. WIDE Switzerland
12. UK, Gender and Development Network
WIDE is a member of the following Regional and International Networks:Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID) Www.igtn.orgWww.feministdialogues.isiswomen.org Www.concordeurope.org European Trade network
DG Trade Civil Society Contact Group
Www.ourworldisnotforsale.org/ Www.s2bnetwork.org/ Www.europeanfeministforum.org