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Women’s Conference Returns to Costa Rica

What are the effects of globalization on our societies? How can free trade also be fair trade? Can small businesses really compete in a global market dominated by multinational corporations? Where do women’s economic and labor rights fit within the framework of globalization? These are the kinds of questions that will be addressed during a three-day University

Women’s Conference Oct. 23-25 at the City of Investigation’s Auditorium, part of the University of Costa Rica (UCR) in the eastern San José suburb of San Pedro. Women have an important perspective to share when it comes to economic development strategies that favor integration and equality. The aim of the conference is to gain a broader understanding of women’s economic realities in the face of a globalized world, through panel discussions, roundtable forums and presentations by economists (in Spanish).

This will be the country’s third University Women’s Conference. The first was held in May 1984, which was the first time a space was opened to share research about the state of women in the country. Topics ranged from women’s struggles working inside and outside the home, to women’s historical and cultural position in society.

The second conference took place four years later in September 1988, when the focus was violence against women, but also tried to address issues such as a societal vision for gender equality, especially looking at changing images of women in the media.

Almost 20 years later, Costa Rican society has progressed in terms of commitment to gender equality, which can be seen by the formation of the Feminist Party and the country’s reaction to the recent sexual harassment case involving legislator Federico Tinoco, reminiscent of Anita Hill’s landmark denouncement of sexual harassment by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991.

However, economic struggles and discrimination in the workplace, be it against women working as professionals, in factories or as domestic workers, are still at the forefront of daily life for women.When you look at these issues in the face of a changing world, in which many women are left out of the fast-paced, technologically advanced market, questions arise about the complex future of women in general.

Women from around Latin America, including Rocío Guadarrama, an economic researcher from Mexico, will try to address these challenging topics through a variety of mediums, including video and art. Focusing on the Costa Rican and Mexican examples she has studied, Guadarrama will present her analysis of how women’s massive involvement in factory work has forced a change in the traditionally masculine operation of factory systems.

The conference is sponsored by a grant from the European Union. The Center for Feminist Investigation and Action (CEFEMINA) and the Center for Investigation and Women’s Studies at the UCR (CIEM) are the lead planning organizations, with Universidad Nacional (UNA) and the StateUniversity at a Distance (UNED) acting as collaborating partners.

To attend the conference, registration must be submitted by Oct. 21. The price for the three-day conference is ¢7,500 ($14.50) for general participants and ¢1,500 ($2.90) for students and nonprofessional attendees. The fee includes two snacks per day and a CD from the presenters.

Registration can be paid for at the CEFEMINA office 200 meters west and 100 meters north of Taco Bell in San Pedro, or by depositing the fee at Banco Nacional, account number 149-756-9. The registration form can be obtained by e-mail from Contact CEFEMINA at 224-3986 to confirm your registration.



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