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By Meredith Tax
with Marjorie Agosin, Ama Ata Aidoo, Ritu Menon, Ninotchka Rosca, and Mariella Sala

Published by Women's WORLD
(Women's World Organization for Rights, Literature and Development)

August 1995



I. The Global Crisis
Changes in the world situation between 1985 and 1995 have led to a deepening global subsistence crisis marked by wars, refugees, and environmental degradation, to which the main political answers we hear are either the neo-liberal ones of globalization or the appeals to tradition of backlash movements.

II. Competing Visions of the Future
Three visions lie before us: the globalization of the New World Order, the feudalism of backlash movements; and a progressive vision based on human rights, sustainable livelihoods, and sharing of the world's resources. The emancipation of women must become central to this vision.

III. What Is Culture and Why Does It Matter?
Since women are held back as much by cultural traditions as by politics and economics and all profound change is related to culture, social and economic development must be integrated with cultural developmen.t

IV. Cultural Domination and Censorship
The global domination and marketplace censorship of US commercial culture is as great a threat to freedom of the more open appeals to censorship of backlash demagogues.

V. What Do We Mean by Gender-Based Censorship?
The many means of silencing women add up to a global system of censorship based on gender, operating through a variety of mechanisms to keep women in subordination.

VI. Cases of Gender-Based Censorship
A description of the kinds of transgressions that lead to gender-based censorship, with some examples current in 1995.

VII. Why Censorship Must Be Fought
Women writers symbolize the free speech of all women; that is why they become targets and why they must be defended even when what they say or the way they live is controversial.