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CONSTITUTION OF THE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S ALLIANCE

Preamble

We, women from Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, North Africa & West Asia (formerly known as the Middle East), North America and Oceania, united in establishing a democratic, progressive,  anti-imperialist, women’s movement in the 21st century, that will contribute to the building of an anti-imperialist movement, hereby proclaim the formation of the International Women’s Alliance (IWA).  The Alliance shall exercise its leadership as an independent alliance of grassroots mass organizations of women, institutions, unions and individuals united to carry out and wage anti-imperialist struggles against neoliberalism, fascism, militarism and war.  It shall not subsume itself to any political party, religious doctrine or other ….

 

We believe that the intensified imperialist aggression against our peoples, our lives, and livelihood has furthered the exploitation and oppression of women and other oppressed genders. 

 

We believe that imperialism and its puppet states have been reversing many of the gains for which women before us have fought and died. 

 

We believe that in order to realize our vision for a just and democratic society, void of patriarchal and other reactionary values, we must unite, draw in more women, and intensify our struggle towards the defeat of imperialism and all reaction. 

 

Through this alliance we resolve to:

 

Build a movement to further draw in women and men to the struggle for justice, freedom and peace, to advance our struggle to overcome all forms of economic, political and socio-cultural oppression that will promote the rights of women, and fight against gender discrimination, racism, sexual violence and abuse, and the neglect and denial of our health and reproductive rights;

 

Build a movement to further unite the oppressed and exploited women from all parts of the world and link local struggles and campaigns against imperialism with the struggle of peoples of the world;

 

Build a movement to mobilize women, as well as men, from all over the world to build a society that will guarantee women’s rights and ensure our meaningful participation and development as equals;

 

Build a movement that will move forward the peoples’ struggle for national and social liberation and the full emancipation of women, by guaranteeing a life without exploitation and oppression, and protecting the world's natural resources and the environment.

Article I

Aims and Purposes

  1. Build an anti-imperialist women’s movement that will draw women, particularly the oppressed and exploited women of the working class, in their numbers to fight and resist imperialist plunder and war as it intensifies the exploitation and oppression of the peoples of the world, and that will strengthen the peoples’ movement for national and social liberation and full emancipation of women;

  2. Build and develop a broad international women’s movement for social change,  justice, genuine peace, freedom and equality that is deeply rooted among the masses of women workers of all nationalities, peasant and rural women, indigenous and minority nationalities, urban poor, the unemployed, migrants and refugees, youth, differently-abled women, LGBTQ, professionals, academics, and other marginalized and discriminated women; 

  3. Assert women’s rights in economic, political and socio-cultural spheres; 

  4. Fight to end all forms of discrimination, violence and marginalization of women;

  5. Expose and oppose imperialist discourse and structure that feed on, shape and intensify feudalism, patriarchy and other reactionary values that impede the development and exercise of women’s rights, equality and freedom;  

  6.  Build and strengthen international cooperation, mutual support and sharing of strategies among women organizations, networks, alliances, institutions and individuals, 

  7. Encourage and support the building of local anti-imperialist women’s organizations, networks and alliances, and encourage coordination and cooperation in the national and regional levels of women’s organizations in the form of campaigns, joint activities, coalition building, and establishing regional coordinating bodies that will undertake campaigns on issues concerning and affecting women and strengthen their organizational capabilities;

  8. Raise consciousness among women and men on the root causes of women’s oppression and exploitation through political education, theoretical study and social practice; 

  9. Expose and oppose anti-women policies and laws, and reactionary women’s groups that create divisions among women and derail and co-opt women’s struggles.

  10. Link up and unite with other porgressive and social movements in the struggle  against imperialism and all reaction.

Article II

Name

The name of the alliance shall be the International Women’s Alliance (IWA), hereafter referred to as the Alliance.

Article III

Definition

In this Constitution, unless the context otherwise requires, the words below shall have the meaning set opposite each of them respectively:

 

Constitution ------------------------- the Constitution of the Alliance 

 

International Assembly -----------------the International Assembly of the Alliance

 

EC -------------------------------------- the Executive Council of the Alliance

 

RC--------------------------------------    the Regional Council of the Alliance


Member ------------------------------ the member of the Alliance

Article IV

Scope, Logo and Headquarters of the Secretariat

Section 1. Scope

 

The Alliance shall cover the whole world. We will reach the working and oppressed classes of all regions of the world. 

 

Section 2. Logo


The three women at the center of the logo express power, militancy and steadfast resolve towards internationalism. The women’s symbol represents women united under the banner of internationalism and anti-imperialism. The colors of the logo represent diversity, beauty and creativity. 

Section 3. Headquarters of the Alliance 

 

The Assembly shall decide on the location of the Headquarters of the Alliance. 

Article V

Membership

Section 1. Types of Members

 

  1. Criteria for Regular Members

    1. Membership of the Alliance shall be open to all grassroots women’s organizations, sections of local trade unions and other organizations that promote women’s concerns, networks, and alliances of women’s organizations that subscribe to the Constitution of the Alliance and adhere to the principles of the Manila Declaration of Unity, and all plans, policies and resolutions approved by the Assembly. 

    2. Commitment to perform the rights and duties of a member.

    3. Payment of membership fee and annual dues.

  2. Criteria for Associate Members

    1. Any women’s institution or group that provides programs for women shall qualify for associate membership in the Alliance.

    2. Institutions or NGO’s (non-grassroots) that may not be centered on women but do provide programs or carry issues of women, shall qualify for associate membership in the Alliance

    3. Adherence to the Constitution of the Alliance, the principles of the Manila Declaration of Unity, and all plans, policies and resolutions approved by the Assembly. 

    4. Payment of membership fee and annual dues.

  3. Criteria for Individual Members

    1. An individual who has distinguished themself in their respective field may be invited to become an individual member of the Alliance, provided that they do not belong to an existing member organization of IWA.   

    2. Adherence to the Constitution of the Alliance, the principles of the Manila Declaration of Unity, and all plans, policies and resolutions approved by the Assembly. 

    3. Payment of membership fee and annual dues.

 

Section 2. Admission to the Alliance 

 

An applicant shall submit a letter of intention for membership to the Alliance through a member organization of good standing in the Alliance. The member organization shall in turn submit such application together with their letter of recommendationto the Executive Council for deliberations. 

 

In global regions where Regional Councils are established, applicants may also submit a letter of intention for membership directly to the RC.  The RC can then have initial deliberations to determine if said organization is a viable candidate to the join the alliance.  After such deliberations have occurred, the RC can submit the application together with the letter of intention and outcomes of their deliberations to the Executive Council for consideration and make the final decision. 

 

The EC shall be mandated by the Assembly to approve or disapprove the application and report its decision to the International Assembly.

 

Section 3. Rights of Members   

 

The members of the Alliance shall enjoy the following rights:

 

  1. For Regular Members:

    1. To attend the International Assembly of the Alliance or any special meetings called for a specific purpose. 

    2. To vote and be voted into any leadership position. Each member organization may send up to five (5) delegates to the Assembly. However, the vote of a regular member organization shall be equivalent to ten (10) votes. See Article VIII Section 3 on Decisions and Quorom. 

    3. To register a dissenting opinion, criticism and suggestion to any constituted body of the Alliance.

    4. To seek support from the Alliance on any issue, problems and needs of their organization or its members.

    5. To appeal to the EC on any matter concerning the Alliance.

  2. For Associate Members: 

    1. To be entitled to all the rights stated above except that they cannot be voted into any leadership position. Each Associate Member vote shall be equivalent to five (5) votes.

    2. To be entitled to voting rights. 

  3. For Individual Members

    1. To be entitled to all rights stated above except they cannot be elected into any leadership position. However, they can be consulted and give advice on important matters pertaining to the Alliance. 

    2. To be entitled to voting rights. Her/their vote shall be equivalent to one (1) vote.

 

Section 4. Duties and Responsibilities

 

The members of the Alliance shall have the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Uphold the Constitution, policies, rules and regulations of the Alliance.

  • Attend and actively participate in the activities, campaigns and work of the Alliance.

  • Maintain regular and up-to-date communications with the Secretariat.

  • Pay the membership fee and annual dues promptly.

  • Uphold and respect the principle of independence and initiative of all member organizations.

  • Not to hold public criticism of other member organizations; instead such criticisms should be done between member organizations in private.

Section 5. Disaffiliation

 

Any member may withdraw its/her/their membership at any time. Resignation shall be in writing, with explanation, and shall take effect upon receipt and action of the EC. 

 

Section 6. Suspension of Membership

 

The EC shall have the right to suspend a member for violations of the core principles of the Constitution. 

 

Any suspended member shall have the right of appeal.

 

When appropriate, the Global Regions may request the suspension of membership after a period of (2) years of inactivity or failure to meet the pre-stated duties of a member organization. This will be waived if there are extenuating circumstances that lead to the political inactivity of a member organization.

Article VI

Instrumentalities

Section 1. Instrumentalities

 

To facilitate and ensure its effective and efficient operation, the Alliance shall have the following instrumentalities:

  1. International Assembly

  2. Executive Council

  3. Regional Councils

  4. Secretariat

Section 2. International Assembly

 

The International Assembly shall serve as the highest policy and decision-making body of the Alliance. It shall have the right to decide all matters concerning the Alliance. 

 

  1. Functions

    1. Define the thrust, policies and programs of the Alliance. 

    2. Revise, amend or rescind the Constitution.

    3. Decide membership reaffirmation, admission, suspension or termination. 

    4. Elect the members of the Executive Council.

    5. Accept, review, alter or reverse the report and resolutions of the Executive Council.

    6. Adopt the financial report and budget for the term.

    7. Resolve any other matter the Assembly would see fit. 

  2. Participation and Credentials

    1.  All bona fide members of the Alliance shall compose the International Assembly. 

    2. Each member organization may be represented by two (2) to five (5) delegates inclusive of one (1) voting delegate. Each delegate shall bear the credentials of their organization.

    3. Each Associate Member shall be represented by one (1) or two (2) delegates who shall bear the credentials of their institution or organization. 

    4. Individual Members may attend the International Assembly. 

    5. The International Assembly reserves the right to refuse credentials that in its opinion are not authentic and thereby refuse to accept its bearer(s) as delegate(s).

 

Section 3. Assembly

 

The Assembly shall be held once in four (4) years in such place, date and time agreed by the Executive Council. 

 

However, the Executive Council or the Secretariat, may call for an Extraordinary Assembly when necessary:

  1. Upon the request of the simple majority of the regular members of the Alliance, or when global circumstances prevent the convening of the International Assembly 

  2. Such meeting shall be held within twelve (12) weeks after the receipt of the request, unless the request is accompanied by a later suggested date, or

  3. Upon the resolution by the Executive Council and ratified by a simple majority of the postal votes cast or any other means such as faxes or emails by the members of the Alliance. 

 

A notice specifying the place, date and time of the Assembly or Extraordinary Assembly and a preliminary agenda shall be sent to all members at least twelve (12) weeks prior to the Assembly and six (6) weeks for an extraordinary one.

 

Section 4. Executive Council

 

The Executive Council shall be the highest executive and supervisory body of the Alliance, in-between the International Assembly. It may exercise all powers of the Alliance, provided that in exercising those powers and in discharging its functions, it shall be bound by the Constitution and the policies set by the Alliance in the Assembly. The EC may make policies in cases where there are none, subject to the ratification of the Assembly. 

Functions of the Executive Council:

  1. Manage the affairs of the Alliance.

  2. Execute and assess the policies, plans and programs of the Assembly and draw up an annual plan of action

  3. Create and directly supervise a Secretariat to attend to the day-to-day functions of the Alliance. 

  4. Plan and organize internationally-coordinated campaigns and activities for women. 

  5. Draft positions and plans on issues concerning and involving women. 

  6. Recommend applications for membership to the Alliance for approval of the International Assembly. 

  7. Make interim decisions when the Assembly is not in session. 

  8. Draft the agenda and convene the Assembly. 

  9. Recommend policies and policy guidelines to the Assembly. 

  10. Receive and discuss proposed amendments to the Constitution. 

  11. Prepare the annual narrative and financial report, budget and plan of the Alliance. 

  12. Create regional and thematic task forces as the need arises. 

  13. Represent and speak on behalf of the Alliance in any functions, public gatherings and media releases.

  14. Perform other tasks as may be assigned by the Assembly. 

The Executive Council shall not administer or govern all or any of the members of the Alliance and shall have no authority whatsoever to decide on issues internal to any member organization or on issues of controversy among several participating organizations. It may make requests or proposals that are subject to the decision of all or any of the participating organizations.

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Composition of the Executive Council:

These members shall constitute the Executive Council – Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary General, Treasurer, Auditor, and Regional Chair(s).

  1. The Chairperson of the Alliance shall represent and speak on behalf of the Alliance in any functions, public gatherings and media releases, stand as signatory representative for the Alliance in legal documents and statements, and preside over EC meetings. 

  2. The Vice Chairperson shall manage the membership of and recruitment to the Alliance. It shall handle efforts in networking and building relationships with women’s movements, and other progressive and anti-imperialist movements.

  3. The Secretary General shall directly work with the Secretariat in managing the day-to-day work of the Secretariat.

  4. The Treasurer shall work closely with the Secretariat and be in charge of fundraising efforts, accounting for the annual financial report, budget and plan. 

  5. The Auditor shall assist the Treasurer in the accounting of finances.   

  6. The Regional Chair shall promote the Alliance within their region of responsibility and shall be responsible for updating the Executive Council on the activities and developments of each Global Region.

 

Term of Office: 

The members of the EC shall hold office until the end of the succeeding Assembly.

 

Section 5. Regional Councils (more in Article VII)

The Regional Council shall represent the membership of their respective global regions (Currently: Asia Pacific, Europe, and Americas). Each Regional Council shall appoint a representative to sit on the Executive Council.
 

  1. Functions of the Regional Council

  2. Bring recommendations of actions, campaigns, and events from the Global Regions to the Executive Council.

  3. Report to each Regional Council and Global Region regarding the decisions of the Executive Council (including days of action, campaigns, International Assemblies, etc)

  4. Perform new member orientations for organizations who are readily approved for membership by the Executive Council

  5. To help build The Alliance in new global regions, and to maintain relationships with organizations in existing global regions

  6. Responsible for collecting annual dues from member organizations in the region

Section 6. The Secretariat

  1. The Secretariat shall be appointed by the EC to do staff functions to assist the Executive Council.

  2. The Secretariat shall manage the day-to-day affairs of the Office of the Alliance.

  3. The basing of the Secretariat shall be decided upon by the EC. 

  4. The Secretariat shall be directly accountable to the EC.

  5. The term of office of the Secretariat shall be co-terminus with the EC, unless appointed again by the newly-elected EC.

  6. The Secretariat shall submit narrative and financial reports to the EC for submission to the Assembly. 

Article VII

The Regional Chapter, Regional Assembly and the Regional Council

Section 1

The Regional chapter shall be created at the regional level by IWA members in a region.

 

Section 2 

  1. The Regional Assembly is the highest organ in the region.  

  2. The Regional Assembly elects the officials of the chapter composed of the Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary General, Membership Officer, Campaign Officer,  Treasurer and Auditor. They shall form part of the Regional Council that will attend to the day-to-day functions of the Alliance in the region. 

  3. As regions are in the early stages of development, it may not be possible to elect all (7) seven members of the Assembly. In order to begin the building of IWA in a region, a minimum of (3) is required and shall be approved by the Executive Committee. The Chairperson, Membership Officer, and Treasurer are required initially to help build up emerging regions. Once it is possible for a Region to operate full as an assembly it can nominate and elect officers for all positions from among its ranks.

 

Section 3

  1. The Regional Council is formed to help the Executive Committee and the Regional Assembly to execute to draw up an annual plan of action at the regional level according to the plan of the International Assembly.

  2. The Regional Assembly shall:

    1. Plan and organize regional campaigns and activities for women in the region according to the situation in the region

    2. Draft positions and plans on issues concerning and involving women in the region and recommend the same as the international statement of the Alliance upon adoption of the Executive Committee;

    3. Meet annually in between the general assemblies;

  3. Recommend applications for membership to the Alliance for approval of the International Assembly.

Section 4

The Regional Chairperson elected by the Regional Assembly will represent the region and seat as a member of the Executive Committee.  They will report to the Executive Committee on the implementation of the plan and program of the Alliance in the region. They will perform all other tasks identified by the Executive Committee.

Article VIII

Meetings

Section 1. International Assembly

The International Assembly of the Alliance shall be held once every four (4) years. 

 

Section 2. Executive Council

The Executive Council shall meet in person at least once a year in such a place, date and time as the EC shall fix and if practicable prior to the Assembly and other activities of the Alliance. The Executive Council shall meet online as needed between in person meetings.

 

Appropriate notice, along with the proposed agenda, shall be sent at least six (6) weeks before the meeting. Such notice is not required for online meetings, but should be timely to ensure maximized participation.

 

Section 3. Decisions and Quorum

  1. Provided all the requirements and period stated in notifying the members for the said meetings are met, those in attendance in the said meeting shall constitute a quorum.

  2. In principle, the decisions of the Alliance shall be by consensus.  In instances where a division of the house is necessary, a simple majority of the members present, there being a quorum, shall be necessary to adopt a motion or resolution. 

  3. However, in the EC, majority plus one (1) of the members shall be required to constitute a quorum.

  4. If a member of the EC cannot personally be present in the meeting, they may request a proxy to replace them during the meeting. A written authorization should be presented to the EC at the start of the meeting. 

  5. If for some reason, a member of the EC cannot attend the meeting, they can use modern electronic means to participate in the meeting.

Section 4. Elections

Election for the positions stated in this Constitution will be done during the regular session of the International Assembly. Election shall be by secret ballots and supervised by a three (3)-member Election Committee to be appointed by the Assembly.

 

In the event that an officer cannot fulfil their duties or needs to step down and one of the positions stated in this constitution is left vacant before an election can take place at an International Assembly – the Executive Committee may appoint someone to the vacant position as a temporary measure until the International Assembly can finalize the position with a vote.

Article IX

Finance

Section 1. Sources

The funds of the Alliance shall be derived from membership fees, dues, fundraising projects, and grants approved by the International Assembly.

 

Section 2. Dues

The annual dues of the Alliance shall be determined by the Assembly. The implementing policies and guidelines shall be done by the EC. 

 

Section 3. Budget

The budget of the Alliance and the corresponding financial plan shall be prepared by the Executive Council, in consultation and concurrence with the guidelines set by the Assembly.

 

Section 4. Disbursement  

Funds may be withdrawn in accordance with the financial regulations and approved budget of the Alliance. 

 

Section 5. Accounts

The Treasurer shall document the accounts of the Alliance and submit a financial report to the EC and the Assembly.

Article X

Registration

The Executive Council is authorized to register the Alliance in compliance with requirements necessary for IWA to operate as a legal entity. In some instances, it might be appropriate for the entity to bear a different name in order to provide support for IWA without being involved directly in the work of the Alliance. For example, it may be necessary to set up a charitable organization that assists in IWA’s ability to apply for grants. The appropriateness of this will be determined by the EC.

Article XI

Dissolution

Section 1. Dissolution 

The Alliance may be dissolved by a two-thirds (2/3) votes of its members through a special assembly or by postal voting.

 

Section 2. Assets and Properties

In the event of dissolution, all assets and properties of the Alliance, after payment of all costs and liabilities, shall be donated to a similar organization.

Article XII

Amendments

This Constitution may be amended by two-thirds (2/3) majority votes cast at the International Assembly.  

 

Any proposed amendment must be submitted to the Executive Council eight (8) weeks before the Assembly. The Executive Council shall distribute copies of the proposal/s received to all members for their perusal at least four (four) weeks before the Assembly. 

Adopted:

11 November 2015

Manila, Philippines

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