Editors Letter

[image, unknown] New Internationalist Issue 270




As I sit here writing this, women from all around the world are booking tickets and organizing visas. At least 30,000 of them will be flying to Beijing at the end of August to attend the biggest-ever international gathering of women – the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women and the parallel Forum for non-governmental organizations.

Over the last few months I have been attending many of the preparatory meetings, including the ‘PrepCom’ in New York – the last meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women before the actual conference.

It has felt like coming home. I have been working on women’s issues since I first became committed to feminism 20 years ago. In New York I met old friends and made new ones. I also rediscovered a sense of what an international women’s movement feels like – and that it is just as relevant today as it ever was.

In the midst of all this I received the following letter.

‘Dear Miss van der Gaag,
I hope you are not going to be banging on about women’s stuff. How about covering something interesting like:

a) Running a party for twelve-year-olds (a commonly neglected area) or

b) How to stop homemade icing sliding off the cake (this would tie in nicely with the first suggestion)

Best wishes for the magazine (I know you try Dear),

Anthea T Towel.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to reply.

Dear Ms Anthea T Towel,
Yes, I am going to bang on about women’s stuff.

There are three reasons for this. First, because it is difficult not to when we have dedicated this whole issue to the state of the world’s women. Second, because in many places women are in worse situations than they were ten years ago and I think this is important. And third, because I sometimes feel from my cosy corner that the women’s movement is a bit moribund and I have discovered in the course of researching this magazine that it is alive and kicking. You might spot a purple and green theme running through this magazine – they were the colours of the suffragette movement.

So, Ms T Towel, you might as well stop reading now. I hope you won’t though, because I also happen to think that the messages of this magazine are important to us all. And do watch out for reports on the Conference in September – who knows, you might even like to join in some of the events in your own country planned for that time.

Best wishes,

Nikki van der Gaag
for the New Internationalist Co-operative

PS I too would like to know about icing on cakes – mine always slides off.

©Copyright: New Internationalist 1995

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