Open Call for Feminist* Conference in Kaunas

ATTENTION – deadline extended for proposals and registration to the gathering until July 15th.

So if you want to join for the feminist conference in Kaunas, Lithuania from 24-26th August, it’s good to reply soon to the following call-out:

European Union is experiencing a “refugee crisis”, followed by increased right wing (fascist) sentiments, meanwhile the Eastern Bloc is as ever wallowing in turmoil between a threat of territorial invasion by Russia, a cultural invasion from the West and the “barbarians” from the East. From all these perspectives gender comes into the horizon: if taken from the perspective of Russia, feminists become enemies of the state and spies or dummies used by hostile forces; in case of the West or European Union the term gender becomes something that contradicts the national values; and regarding the “barbarians”, we are seen as overly sensitive and hysteric, as Lithuania has supposedly already solved the problems of gender inequality.

Lithuanian politicians are attempting to mimic Hungarian and Polish government rhetoric, defending what they call true “European values“, based on nationalist agenda and conservatism. The institution of traditional Lithuanian family is presented as authentic, chaste salvation, connecting and nurturing all aspects of potential national prosperity.

Dangerously, as is also the case with Fidesz and Law and Justice parties’ politics, Lithuanian Peasants and Greens are attempting to use the demographic schtick for incentivizing the attack on women’s rights. While in Lithuania we still have the right to abortion, there are constant attempts to outlaw it. Every year the representatives of Church
together with the active pro-life supporters from parliament and NGOs are repeatedly trying to put out the law on restricting abortions. Moreover, under the current government, laws, aiming to improve women’s and LGBT* situation aren’t even being debated and a general discourse of conservatism is being communicated to the public.

So how do we talk about gender, about feminism in our societies in EE? How do we protect and improve women’s situation and situation of all those, under attack by the neo-conservativism? What are the main challenges to organize against the emergent and already prominent Right? What can we learn from past feminist movements and how can expand and strengthen our current resistance?

We are inviting you to the three-day gathering on 24, 25 and 26 of August to analyse factual and explore potential ways of resistance. Our aim is to facilitate what we, the fragmented feminist, human rights and LGBT* movements in Lithuania and the neighbouring countries, rarely have time and resources for – reflection of our actions, cooperation building and creating strategies for future fights.

You are welcome to propose topics or academic texts, short essays, your own writings or even films for wider discussions where you will be the main moderator. We are going to organize some closed and some public sessions related to the main topics (below) and your proposals. In closed sessions we will also talk about the possibilities to create a network for feminists in Eastern Europe and what is the right point to proceed with our common resistance. The gathering will happen in Kaunas’ Social Center “Emma”. We will be able to provide you with food and accommodation; however, we will not be able to reimburse your traveling expenses*.

Main topics but be free to expand it as far as it relates to feminist movements and the situation in Eastern Europe:

-Different feminist actions and movements against the Right in EE (herstories and narratives).
-Nationalist discourse in EE: between the great Family (Nation) and the great Evil (Other).
-Anti-feminist, Right-wing and Neoliberal Socioeconomic Developments in Eastern Europe.
-What are the prospects of feminism in EE? How can we organize and resist neoliberal fascism together and what strategies should we use to reach our aims?

In order to organize the program for the workshop we would appreciate if you send us your proposals by July 1st. Your input is highly appreciated, your experience and thoughts in the event are also enough, thus if you want to participate in the discussions without taking part in suggesting/organizing, please write us a notice by the same date.

Send the proposals and other inquiries to: femeeconference@gmail.com

*we don’t exclude trans, pro-sexwork feminists

*if your financial situation is critical and you wish to participate in
any way possible, let us know.

There’s more about the organisers on their website.