Banúlacht is an Irish feminist organisation and part of a global women’s movement and, as such, is committed to political action.
One of the major achievements of 2010 was the development of the Mná Sasa Manifesto, a unique document created by Irish women who have participated in Banúlacht’s ExChange programme since 2007 and our Tanzanian partner organisation, Kivulini Women’s Rights Organisation. The name comes from the Irish word for women (mná) and the Swahili word for now (sasa). The Mná Sasa Manifesto is woven of stories and lived experiences, shared principles and concerns. It articulates the shared dreams and aspirations of the women involved, and, crucially, it locates them in very specific obligations and commitments that our governments have undertaken for the achievement of gender equality and women’s empowerment.
It expresses concerns about the lack of implementation of women’s human rights globally and articulates ideas about feminist solidarity and the power of collective organising. Reflecting the analysis of Kivulini Women’s Rights Organisation, it demands answers to the question of why violence against women is still an issue of crisis proportions globally. Invoking the analysis of feminist economists and organisations, such as WIDE, the Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action (CAFRA) and the Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP), it demands an answer to the question of why the burden of the cutbacks and reductions in public spending that are being imposed as a result of the failure of the neoliberal market model falls disproportionately on low income women in all countries. It repeats the persistent calls of women’s and human rights organisations in Ireland and at the international level for action by national governments and intergovernmental bodies to implement the obligations of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). It calls for the Irish government to accelerate progress towards international development targets of increased overseas development assistance (aid) for gender equality and the fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals.
The Manifesto is a collection of stories, rather than an attempt to tell the “whole” story, to be an exhaustive treatment of “women’s issues” or the final word on gender, development, human rights, or solidarity. It follows a long tradition of women’s movement manifestos. Itself inspired by examples such as the Charter of Feminist Principles for Afr