Feminist Expo 2000 Looks to the Future

by Sommer Spector, National Action Center Staff

The NOW booth at Feminist Expo 2000 promises to be as innovative, informative and inspiring as the NOW exhibit at the '96 Expo.  Photo by Beth Corbin.

Feminists from around the world will convene under one roof as the Feminist Majority Foundation kicks off the 21st century by hosting Feminist Expo 2000 for Women's Empowerment from March 31 to April 2.

Housed in the Baltimore Convention Center in Maryland and sponsored by over 300 organizations including NOW, Expo 2000 will look to the future of feminism.  A diverse constituency of feminists from the U.S. and abroad will participate and contribute to the event.  From Save Somali Women and Children to the Minnesota Women's Consortium, the Centro Mujeres (the Center for Women) in Mexico to the National Committee on Pay Equity, feminists will share the past, envision the future and unite for the present.

"This conference will ignite the women's movement on the cutting-edge issues of our time fighting for women's equality and empowerment; expanding feminism globally; promoting a gender perspective on our nation's and world's budgets; and countering the right-wing backlash, which threatens abortion clinics and the rights of women, lesbians, gay men and people of color," said Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal.

Expo 2000 intends to change women's lives around the world through discussion and education.  Goals to be discussed at this international forum include: ending female genital mutilation, eradicating the trafficking of girls and women, ensuring reproductive health and rights, promoting a feminist perspective on global trade and international policies, increasing access to education for women around the globe, and fighting attacks against feminists and feminism.

The Expo will open with the "Salute to Women Firsts" gala honoring the pioneers who broke barriers for women.  Expo 2000 will also hold an ERA Countdown Campaign reunion for activists involved in the ten year struggle between 1972-1982 and for those who wish they had been.

With three times as many sponsoring organizations as the first Expo organized by the Feminist Majority in 1996 and over 47 international groups, the conference will feature international speakers, including the leaders of almost every major women's organization.  Conference-goers will also be able to pick from 60 symposia, roundtable discussions and training seminars, enjoy performances from feminist celebrity entertainers, meet distinguished feminist authors at the book signing and take advantage of the Feminist Career Center.

The centerpiece of Expo 2000 will be the Exhibit Hall, featuring hundreds of booths designed by supporting organizations, individuals and guests.  Organizations with exhibits will display their visions of feminism's future, with the hopes of winning one of three prizes for best booth.  NOW will design an interactive exhibit encouraging conference attendees to picture themselves in a feminist future.

Expo-ers will witness first-hand our movement in all its diversity and strength as feminism's many faces, languages and cultures converge.

"The Feminist Majority Foundation believes that the struggle for women's equality can only be achieved with a unified force of power to show the world's governments and media that there is a universal momentum for women's rights," Smeal said.

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