Statutes of the Socialist International Women

Adopted by the X Congress, Vancouver, Canada, 1978, incorporating amendments approved at the XIII Congress, Lima, Peru, 1986; at the XVI Congress, United Nations, New York, 1996; at the XVIII Congress, São Paulo, Brazil, 2003; at the XIX Congress, Athens, Greece, 2008 and at the XX Congress, Cape Town, South Africa, 2012.

1. The Socialist International Women

The Socialist International Women is a sister organisation of the Socialist International and represents women’s organisations and women’s groups of parties belonging to the Socialist International.

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2. Objectives of the Socialist International Women

The objectives of the Socialist International Women are:

a. To promote gender equality, combat all forms of discrimination against women and to promote women's rights which are human rights;

b. To strengthen relations between member organisations of the Socialist International Women with the aim to coordinate political positions and activities;

c. To encourage its member organisations to ensure the implementation of resolutions and declarations adopted at meetings of the Socialist International Women;

d. To seek to extend relations between member organisations of the Socialist International Women and other socialist-oriented women's groups and organisations which are not members but are committed to the advancement of gender equality and desire to work in cooperation with the Socialist International Women;

e. To promote action programmes to overcome any discrimination against women and girls, and to empower women and girls in all fields and

f. To work for development, peace and human rights in general.

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3. Organs of the Socialist International Women

The Socialist International Women is composed by the following organs:

a. The Congress

b. The Council

c. The Executive Committee

d. The Secretariat

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4. Functions of the Organs of the Socialist International Women

4.1. The Congress

The Congress is the highest body of the Socialist International Women and it determines – by a two-thirds majority of all the member organisations present with voting rights – both the statutes and the programmes of the Socialist International Women.

On the recommendation of the Council (See clause 4.2. below for further information on the Council), the Congress elects the President, the Secretary General and the Vice-Presidents. Each Vice-President represents a region.

Former Presidents of the Socialist International Women can be elected honorary Presidents by the Congress and asked to perform duties or tasks as 'special envoys' by the Executive Committee (See clause 4.3. below for further information on the Executive Committee) of the Socialist International Women.

The Congress is convened in conjunction with the Congress of the Socialist International.

The agenda of the Congress is drawn up by the Council. The Congress also receives a report of the activities of the Socialist International Women of the period since the last Congress and adopts an action plan proposed by the Council for the next Inter-Congress period.

The Congress is composed of delegations of all member organisations of the Socialist International Women. Each delegation consists of three representatives, whilst additional representatives may attend as observers. Only delegations belonging to full member parties of the Socialist International can vote. Each delegation has one vote.

The Socialist International, the International Union of Socialist Youth and the International Falcon Movement/Socialist Education International, are fraternal organisations of the Socialist International Women. Three representatives of each fraternal organisation can attend the Congress and have the right to speak, and to vote, with each fraternal organisation having one vote only.

Associated organisations are invited to speak, but not to vote.

4.2. The Council

The Council is composed of delegations of all member organisations of the Socialist International Women, as well as three representatives of the Socialist International, three representatives of the International Union of Socialist Youth and three representatives of the International Falcon Movement/Socialist Education International.

The Council meets at least twice a year and its function is:

a. To convene the Congress and to assume responsibilities between Congresses;

b. To prepare the agenda for the Congress and to arrange the preparation of necessary reports and documents. The agenda and the working documents of the Congress must be circulated to the member organisations at least one month in advance;

c. To decide the policies, priorities, activities of the Socialist International Women between Congresses and

d. To convene special conferences, seminars, regional conferences, as well as to appoint, if necessary, ad-hoc committees on special questions and determine their terms of reference.

Emergency resolutions on issues related to women need to be presented to the Executive Committee, which may decide to incorporate them in the agenda of the Council.

4.3. The Executive Committee

The Executive Committee consists of the President, Secretary General and Vice-Presidents of the Socialist International Women. Vice-Presidents represent the regions and the regions are determined by the Congress.

The main responsibilities of the Executive Committee are:

a. To implement the objectives of the Socialist International Women (see clause 2.);

b. To decide on all financial matters and

c. To take appropriate decisions between Council meetings.

The Executive Committee meets at least four times a year. These meetings can either be attended in person or by using new technologies (e.g. video conferences, etc.).

The Executive Committee may appoint ad-hoc committees on special questions and determine their terms of reference.

At the beginning of each calendar year the Executive Committee presents a list of main areas of activities.

The Executive Committee discusses and decides on all documents presented by the members of the Executive Committee.

Former members of the Executive Committee are permanent guests to the Council, Regional Meeting, Congress and other activities of the Socialist International Women.

4.4. The Secretariat

The Secretariat is based at the headquarters of the Socialist International.

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5. Officers of the Socialist International Women

5.1. President

On the proposal of the Council, the Congress elects the President of the Socialist International Women. The mandate of the President is for a maximum of two terms.

The duties of the President include:

a. To represent the organisation;

b. To chair Executive, Council and Regional meetings and/or arrange for alternative chairpersons;

c. To facilitate the fair and efficient decision-making process in Executive, Council and Regional meetings and

d. To work with the Secretary General to oversee the effective operation of the organisation.

In the event of the President being unable to temporarily perform her duties, the Executive Committee shall appoint among the Vice-Presidents an acting President.

In the event of the President being unable to complete her term of office, the Executive Committee should elect from among the Vice-Presidents an Acting President to serve until the next Congress.

5.2. Vice-Presidents

On the proposal of the Council, the Congress elects the Vice-Presidents of the Socialist International Women.

The number of Vice-Presidents is elected in accordance with the number of established regions. The mandates of the Vice-Presidents are for a maximum of two terms – except in exceptional circumstances, as determined by the Council.

The duties of the Vice-Presidents include:

a. To represent the region;

b. To act as a vital link between the member organisations of the region and the Executive and the Council;

c. To organise action-oriented activities for their region and

d. To cooperate with other Women's NGOs and local or regional organisations with similar principles and values to that of the Socialist International Women.

A Vice-President who cannot attend an Executive meeting is entitled to designate a substitute in consultation with the region.

In the event of a Vice-President being unable to complete her term of office, the region, which proposed her, shall elect a new Vice-President.

5.3. Secretary General

On the proposal of the Council, the Congress elects the Secretary General of the Socialist International Women. The mandate of the Secretary General is for a maximum of two terms, except in exceptional circumstances as determined by the Council.

The Secretary General, in consultation with the President, or in the absence of the President, in consultation with at least one Vice-President, will take decisions, as necessary, in between meetings of the Council.

Her duties include:

a. The responsibility for the administrative functions of the Secretariat;

b. The responsibility for expenditures of the Socialist International Women up to a level decided by the Executive at the beginning of a mandate. Expenditures exceeding the decided amount must be authorised by the President;

c. The annual reporting on financial expenditures and administrative activities;

d. The responsibility for the organisation of all meetings of the Socialist International Women;

e. The maintaining and fostering of contacts with and between the member organisations of the Socialist International Women and

f. The presentation to the Congress, for approval, of a report on the activities and financial expenditure of the Socialist International Women during the inter-Congress period.

In the event of the Secretary General being unable to temporarily perform her duty, the Secretary General will be substituted by the President in consultation with a Vice-President for the duration of the absence of the Secretary General.

In the event of the Secretary General being unable to complete her term of office, the Executive Committee shall elect an Acting Secretary General. This election should be ratified by the next Congress.

5.4. Regulations Concerning The Election of the Officers of the Socialist International Women (For further information please refer to annex)

a. General Regulations: Candidates for the positions of President, Secretary General and Vice-President of the Socialist International Women are presented to the secretariat of the Socialist International Women, with a letter of approval from the party and from the member organisation of the candidate, in order to enable the secretariat to circulate the names of candidates among the member organisations of the Socialist International Women for consultation and comment. Such nominations must be presented 90 days prior to the Congress of the Socialist International Women and additional candidates can be nominated no later than 30 days after the first round of candidates' names having been circulated among all member organisations. Member organisations of the Socialist International Women may propose a candidate for office from outside their own party or organisation. The parties and organisations proposing the candidate shall assist her in obtaining the approval of her own party and organisation as required above.

b. Election of the President and of the Secretary General: To be eligible to run for President or Secretary General, candidates must either have served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Socialist International Women for at least one term or have served as a representative to the Socialist International Women on behalf of their party or organisation for at least one inter-Congress period. If neither of the aforementioned conditions are met, the necessary majority needed in order to be elected is at least 60% of the votes.

c. Election of Vice-Presidents: To be eligible to run for Vice-President, candidates must have served as a representative to the Socialist International Women on behalf of their party or organisation for at least one inter-Congress period. If the aforementioned condition is not met, the necessary majority needed in order to be elected as Vice-President is at least 60% of the votes.

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6. The Finances

The expenditures of the organisation are covered by:

a. Affiliation fees and contributions received by the Socialist International;

b. Donations and

c. Any other income.

A provisional general plan of activities including the budget for the coming year will be presented by the Secretary General to the Executive Committee for discussion at the last meeting of each year. A detailed plan of activities including the budget for staff remuneration, pension plan, as well as information on future expenditure related to SIW activities, trips, office equipment, administration costs and professional services will be presented to the Executive Committee for discussion and to the Council for approval at the first meeting of each year.

A provisional financial statement and report on the activity and on the expenditure of the previous year will be presented by the Secretary General to the Executive Committee for discussion at the first meeting of each year. A final financial statement and report on activities and expenditure of the previous year will be presented by the Secretary General after the audited accounts of the Socialist International have been made available. The financial statement and report will be presented to the Executive Committee for discussion and to the Council for approval.

Funds for specific purposes can be set-up and contributions received. The responsibility for the management of the funds will be established by the Council on the recommendation of the Executive Committee.

The bank account of all funds will be managed by two signatories of the account. The signatories will be members of the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee bears responsibility for all decisions taken with regards to the funds.

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ANNEX:

Election of the President and of the Secretary General:

If there are candidates in both categories outlined in 5.4.b, the candidate not meeting the conditions of previous service to the Socialist International Women, must receive 60% of the votes of those who are present and voting on the first ballot. Failing this, the remaining candidate/s will contest the election in the manner laid down below. If there are one or two candidates for President of the Socialist International Women or for Secretary General, the candidate receiving a majority (i.e., 50%+1) of the votes of those present and eligible to vote shall be elected. If there are more than two candidates and one of the candidates receives a majority (i.e., 50%+1) of votes of those present and eligible to vote, she shall be elected. If no candidate receives a majority (i.e., 50%+1) of votes of those present and eligible to vote, the two candidates with the highest number of votes on the first ballot, shall be included on a second ballot. On the second ballot the candidate who receives the majority (i.e., 50%+1) of votes of those present and eligible to vote shall be elected.

Election of Vice-Presidents:

Candidates for Vice-President of the Socialist International Women shall be elected by the region. If member organisations of the Socialist International Women in the region agree on one candidate, then this candidate shall be elected. If the member organisations in the region cannot agree on one candidate, an election for Vice-President of that region shall be held among the member organisations in the region. Each member organisation shall transmit their vote for Vice-President to the secretariat. Each member organisation in the region shall have one vote. If one candidate receives a majority* of the votes from the region, then this candidate shall be elected. If no candidate receives a majority* of the votes from the region or if no election is held, the Executive Committee of the Socialist International Women will consider the situation at the meeting immediately prior to the Congress. If it chooses to do so, the Executive Committee may recommend one candidate for the Vice-Presidency of the region. If no recommendation is made, the Congress shall vote. Voting shall be organised in the same manner described for the election of the President and Secretary General but with the exception that only member organisations of the region in question can vote.

* A majority of those voting in the election. For example, if a region has 10 member organisations, but only three of those member organisations voted, a candidate receiving two votes would be elected.

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News

Regional Meeting

Luanda, Angola, 11 and 12 April 2014

The Millennium Development Goals: The Vision of the Socialist International Women for the Post-2015 Development Agenda

Event: Gender Equality and Women’s Rights in the Post-2015 Development Agenda

14 March 2014

58 Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), United Nations, New York, from 10 to 21 March 2014.

Panel discussion hosted by the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the United Nations and the Socialist International Women.

Michelle Bachelet Wins Presidential Elections in Chile

16 December 2013

We hereby wish to convey our warmest congratulations to Michelle Bachelet on her victory in the presidential elections of Chile...

Nelson Mandela

18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013

The Socialist International Women (SIW) was deeply saddened by the death of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president and Nobel Peace Prize winner. We would like to send our wholehearted condolences to Nelson Mandela’s family, to everyone at the African National Congress (ANC) and to the South African people who have lost their ‘father of the nation’...

Declaration: International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

25 November 2013

Ending gender violence is high on the agenda this International Day to End Violence Against Women – now highlighted every 25 of the month in UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign...

Council Meeting

Istanbul, Turkey, 08 and 09 November 2013

The Millennium Development Goals and Post-2015 Development Agenda

Conference 'Women and the Arab Spring'

Reims, France, 04 October 2013

The Socialist International Women participates in the conference 'Women and the Arab Spring' organised by the city of Reims in partnership with the University of Reims...

Convention 'Winning the Future with Equality in Europe'

Seville, Spain, 08 June 2013

The Socialist International Women participates in the convention 'Winning the Future with Equality in Europe' organised by the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE)...

Regional Meeting

Mexico City, Mexico, 01 June 2013

Equal pay, working conditions and informal work

Article: Ending the War against Women

02 February 2013

On Valentine’s Day, countless couples will celebrate romance by candlelight. On the same day, one billion women and men worldwide will stand up to shine a light on the darker side of gender relations...

Publications

The First Hundred Years

A Short History of Socialist International Women

By Irmtraut Karlsson

This book tells the history of the first one hundred years of the Socialist International Women

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