We work in partnership with local women’s organisations and support the women’s movement, as well as the struggles of workers, the indigenous and economic justice movements in Central America, the United Kingdom and Europe. CAWN’s strategies are:
promoting exchanges of experiences between women’s organisations and activists in Europe, Central America and other regions, such as Southern Africa;
providing up to date information and analysis of the situation of women’s rights through our email list, briefings, newsletters, website and research reports;
building the capacity of women’s rights activists to boost their understanding of development from a gender perspective, to learn collectively, and to gain advocacy and media skills;
developing international networks of solidarity and support; and
lobbying and advocating to influence relevant policies at United Kingdom and European Union levels.
“Poverty is an issue of women’s organisations but we must change the technical discussion of poverty into a political discourse. It is essential to empower women for them to come out of poverty.”
Mirta Kennedy, CEMH – Honduras
“Women need to be empowered with knowledge that will be tools in the search for alternative survival strategies in a globalised world.”
Mabel Aguirre, MEC – Nicaragua
2011 marked the twentieth anniversary of CAWN! In July 1991, CAWN was set up following a conference: ‘Breaking Chains – making Links’ organised by women’s sections of the Central America solidarity and human rights committees – as a coordinating group to have a regional perspective. It did not aim to replace the committees but enhance their work.
CAWN grew out of the solidarity movement. A few women who were active in these groups and who had lived or visited the region felt it was important to highlight women’s rights issues, and a group of current co-directors started meeting on an informal basis in the offices of the Central America Human Rights Committee.
In March of 1992 a second conference was organised “As long as it takes” celebrating 500 years of women’s resistance in Central America, as part of the commemorations of 500 years of popular, black and indigenous resistance.
CAWN started producing a bulletin to keep the group informed of events and developments in the region. Several years after, a successful fundraising effort allowed CAWN to set up an office and employed the first Co-ordinator for a project working on the first project on Maquilas in the UK (around 1994).
Since then CAWN has organised speaker tours hosting a variety of women activist form Central America involved in the struggle to challenge inequality in their countries
CAWN has published research, related to labour rights, codes of conduct and gender-based violence.
CAWN is run by a management committee that provides technical advice with their expertise. All members of the committee are gender specialists and offer their services to CAWN on a voluntary basis. The committee is comprised of seven women who mainly work in the international voluntary sector, they are gender experts, academics, ex workers from the textile industry and labour rights activists. The ethnic background of the Committee is varied in age and nationalities, comprising women from Colombia, Australia, Scotland and England.
co-directors: Marilyn Thomson (Chair), Amy North, Angela Hadjipateras, Olivia Kirkpatrick, Vickie Knox, Virginia Lopez Calvo and Samira Yussuf.
coordinator: Margarita Rebolledo Hernandez
finance officer: Olivia Kirkpatrick
staff manager: Marilyn Thomson
volunteers: Alma Carballo, Roos Saalbrink, Maisie Davies, Christina Katsianis, Courtenay Howe.
We also depend on many more volunteers to support our day to day work and for the overall management of the organisation.
Are you new to CAWN? Or simply want to take a quick glance of our recent work? See our latest Activity Reports!