July 08, 2022

EXTRA! GWC 30th Anniversary Wrap-up

Thanks to all of you who joined us in person in Paris and online for our very special anniversary conference.

For those of you who missed it, we have placed a recording of the entire event on our GWC YouTube channel.

On a sweltering Saturday afternoon, we convened our GWC 30th Anniversary conference and were grateful for the fantastic facilities and air-conditioned hospitality provided by Professor Susan Perry and the University of Paris.

In our first segment, “Where We Began,” we enjoyed hearing from the founders of our caucus, Connie Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier, and watching video clips from the early days and our transition into a global feminist force. We learned that it was the great Bella Abzug who put out that original call to action, and we’re grateful to Connie and Sheila for stepping up and answering her call to form a women’s caucus for Democrats Abroad!

Caucus Founders
Connie Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier
Women's_Caucus-Paris-June_18-7454.jpg Women's_Caucus-Paris-June_18-7490b.jpg


In our second segment, “Where We Are Now,” we heard several truly jaw-dropping presentations that laid out the dire state of women’s rights, but also learned that there are indeed bright spots on the horizon. We heard about good people with fantastic ideas, pushing forward despite the backlash. And we learned about ways we can help.

A highlight for all of us was listening to the speeches made by some of our brilliant younger leaders in the third segment, “What Challenges Lie Ahead?” Their remarks prompted vigorous discussion on the themes of climate, the will to change, and the future of feminism.

Our program concluded with a segment entitled “Women Will Make the Difference in 2022,” with DA-famous election forecaster, John McQueen, giving us a sneak preview of what to expect in the fall.

My own personal takeaways from this inspiring event were threefold:

  1. When you hear those words “someone oughta,” it’s important to realize that “someone” can be you!
  2. All is not lost! Whether it’s reproductive rights, climate collapse or democracy itself, if we don’t lose our nerve, and we put in the effort right now, we can turn the tide.
  3. After what seemed like an eternity of zooming, doing an in-person meeting was well worth the extra effort and the risk. There is an indescribable and totally unpredictable synergy that happens when like-minded activists rub elbows, sip coffee and bounce ideas off each other in a shared space of sisterhood.

I invite you now to watch (or re-watch) the conference video and enjoy discovering your own highlights and takeaways. Our team is also busy putting together a photo album of the event that we'll share soon.

In wrapping up, I’d like to extend my heartfelt thanks to our volunteers, on and off-camera, who worked together to make this conference a success. In addition to our fabulous conference speakers (more about them in our program notes), I’d like to express my gratitude to two key “off-camera” GWC volunteers, Jamie McAffee, GWC comms co-director, who created our wonderful videos and graphics, and Karen Frankenstein, DA Caucus Coordinator, who masterfully managed our tech. Special thanks also to Owen Franken who photographed the entire event for us.

On this note, I’d like to remind everyone that all our teams are desperately in need of volunteers. If you’re not sure where you would fit in best, our wonderful volunteer coordinator, Christina Skovsgaard can help you find your niche.

And one final reminder for us all: Our most vital role as feminist activists lies simply in voting. You can follow this link to votefromabroad.org and check up on your voter registration status now!

And, if after living through all the trauma and turmoil of recent years, any of you still don’t believe that your single overseas vote is crucial to the outcome of the midterm elections in the fall, then I’d like you to think about this: If your vote is so unimportant, why are our opponents trying so hard to take it away from you?

Thanks again to all of you who attended our conference, both in person and online. I come away from this extraordinary meeting of feminist activists feeling more invigorated and optimistic than ever. I hope you feel the same.

With gratitude and hope in my heart,

Ann Hesse

Chair, DA Global Women’s Caucus