TO THE RUSSIAN PAGE
of Humanitarian Initiatives, Mimyi, Sakha Republic (Yakutia)
OUR PARTNERS FROM CIS:
TO THE READERS
In 1991-1992 in Russia, at the forum of independent women's organizations held in Dubna, the network - Independent Women's Forum - with intention to support communication contacts among its members was established.
The most active women organized (and participated in) seminars in Moscow. In 1994-1995 great activities took place in connection with preparation for the NGO Forum-95 and the IV-th UN World Conference on Women's Status (Beijing, 1995). A number of organizations combined their efforts and run common seminars. During the period of a year three interregional seminars "Strategies of the Independent Women's Forum: Before and After Beijing" were conducted, with more than 30 organizations-participants in each. We invited our sisters-in-movement from CIS. More than 50 women from our network were participants of the NGO Forum-95.
In December 1995 the interregional Association of the independent women's organizations (ANZhO) was set up at the seminar "From Outcomes to Perspectives". After Beijing the women decided to unite in order to contribute jointly to social development of the society, raise their role in the national mechanizm of women's status advancement and integrate their interests into social, economic and cultural policies. Women's organizations united into the Association in order to provide information exchange, make different publications, prepare special educational courses, carry out researches, conduct social expertise of legislation and projects, perform interregional actions.
At present, 36 organizations are members of ANZhO, among them 33 - organizations from Russia, 3 - from other former USSR republics (Belorussia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine). Russian organizations include interregional organizations such as "Conversion and Women", "Women's Unity", "Association of Women-Lawyers" and regional organizations with many branches such as "Angara" (Regional Baikal Alliance of Women), "Women of Don" Alliance. Among members there are local and municipal organizations too. The Association we represent is only one of many structures existing in the women's liberation movement in Russia but at the same time it is a unique research, educational and information organization because near 40% of its organizations are engaged in gender studies, educational programs, cultural and informational activity, including publishing of books, issue of manuals and even cycles of educational telecasts dedicated to women's themes.
Women's efforts were dedicated as well to the creation of special libraries, videocenters and videothecas in many towns. The organizations collected unique libraries with literature in Russian and English containing materials on advocacy of women's rights, problems related to violence, legal status of nongovernmental organizations, development of the social sphere and other, which are not covered by public libraries. Students, teachers, researchers, lawyers and other specialists widely use our libraries. In the social association "Femina" (Naberezhnyje Chelny) videotheca was created with videofilms dedicated to various aspects of women's rights. These films are demonstrated by local television, besides they serve as a manual for women's organizations from other towns and are used at seminars and trainings.
We publish regular magazines and information bulletins for women. ("Bereginya" in Voronezh, "Girls Call for Attention" in Naberezhnyje Chelny, "Preobrazhenie" and "Vestnik" in Moscow, "Tarussa's World" in Tarussa and others). Irregular editions, collections of papers, books are also published upon materials of conferences and special researches.
We have published complete edition of "We About Ourselves" in Russian. Now, we offer to our readers brief summary in English about our net of organizations. Great contribution to this edition was made by the staff of the Information Center of the Independent Women's Forum.
We are grateful to the British Embassy and Ford Foundation for their support.