Townsville International Women’s Conference

Townsville International Women’s Conference – AUSTRALIA
3 – 7 July 2002 ~ James Cook University
“Poverty, Violence and Women’s Rights:
…Setting a Global Agenda”

Detailed Program | Post-Conference Update


This international conference is for all who care passionately about improving women’s position in the world, who demand justice and full human rights for women everywhere and who believe that a feminist analysis is essential to defining a fairer globalised world.


When we began our planning for this Townsville International Women’s Conference in June 2001, we did so out of a deep concern about the effects of economic rationalism, corporate globalisation and the escalating incidence of male violence against women and children. We were also inspired by the courage of Indigenous Australian women speaking out at that time about the levels of violence in their communities following the release of the Revised Edition of The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Task Force on Violence Report.

Just two months into our planning and organising we, along with the rest of the world, were stunned by the devastating terrorist attacks of 11 September. Immediately our plans were placed “on hold” while we focused on the horror of the attacks and feared for the safety of the world at the hands of the US, bent on retaliation. Soon, however, it was clear to us that we must proceed, and proceed with even greater resolve! We believe that now, more than ever, there is an urgent need for women to get together to discuss male violence and its effects, and to plan more effective feminist responses. Indeed, we believe it is time for women to set the agenda.

Townsville Attractions

We will be pleased to welcome you to Townsville. This tropical city of ours is the gateway to some stunning natural wonders such as the Great Barrier Reef, North Queensland rainforests and the World Heritage listed Magnetic Island. It also provides easy access to the historic inland goldfield towns of Charters Towers and Ravenswood. The city itself offers a range of cultural and entertainment activities and, in the early part of July, coinciding with the conference, hosts the internationally renowned Australian Festival of Chamber Music. Details of this acclaimed event will be posted on this site as they become available.

Display Space/Stalls

Space will be available during the conference for the display and/or sale of information products, books, artwork, handcrafts etc. If you wish to reserve space, please advise us of your requirements.

Social Program

A stimulating and varied social program is being planned, drawing on opportunities presented locally. The emphasis will be on informality and most events will be arranged on a “pay-as-you-go” basis.
The Civic Reception, which is free of charge for participants, is planned for the first evening. It will take place in the newly-opened Museum of Tropical Queensland – a building of interesting construction which boasts a gallery shaped like a ship. In this setting, entertainment, finger food, an official welcome to Townsville and the chance to meet other conference participants will make for a great conference start.

On Thursday evening, you won’t want to miss the Aussie Barbecue (vegetarian and non-vegetarian) followed by a Performance Under the Stars featuring the Performing Older Women’s Circus (POW), a young women’s circus “Anti-Matter Trash Queens”, a women’s singing group and cultural dancing. These outdoor events, to be held on campus at James Cook University, will take advantage of Townsville’s mild tropical winter weather and will make for a unique experience.

On Friday evening, the Strand at night will be the setting for another delightful and informal gathering. Buses will take you from the James Cook University campus to the Strand (beside the Sea) where you can wander through the Night Markets – local crafts and wares are on sale and foodstalls offer tasty, low-cost dinner options. You can then choose between two kinds of entertainment we have organised at local coffee shops: listen to book-readings by the authors in the cosy wine bar at the Blue Bottle Cafe and Art Gallery, or be entertained by singer/songwriter Anousha Victoire on the outdoor terrace of Flutes beside the sea.

Saturday night will be a “Dinner with a Difference”. Several tables will be reserved in a number of wonderful restaurants situated along historic Palmer Street (Townsville’s restaurant strip near the City Centre). You can select the setting, menu and price-range that best suit you and can choose to go with a group of friends or take the opportunity to make new contacts.

Official Language

The official language of the conference is English. We regret that, as the conference is self-funded, we will not have the capacity to provide interpreters for other languages.

Disability Access

Conference organisers have been careful in our planning to make sure that all venues are wheelchair accessible. For hearing-impaired women, there will be signers for all plenary sessions. Participants who are hearing-impaired are asked to indicate same in the appropriate place on your Registration Form, so that we will know to proceed with the employment of signers.

Please do not hesitate to contact us in the lead-up to the conference about any of your needs.

Child Care

Child care will be at the participant’s own expense but options are currently being explored in an attempt to minimise costs. If you require child care, please indicate details on the registration form and forward before 17 May 2002.


The conference is, at this time, almost entirely self-funded but we are hopeful of being able to generate limited funding to help with a small number of subsidies. In anticipation of our being successful, we invite women who may be suffering financial hardship to apply for assistance by completing the relevant section on the registration form and forwarding the completed form to us by 1 March 2002.

In keeping with our conference aims, priority will be given to requests from Indigenous Australian women and women from South East Asian and Pacific Island countries.

Women who are successful in their application for a subsidy are asked to bring, as a gift to the conference, an artefact, craft piece or similar item which represents their land/country. We will then sell or raffle these gifts during the conference to assist us with expenses.


Donations are invited to assist with the cost of subsidising the participation of Indigenous Australian women, women from South Pacific or South East Asian countries or others who are unable to finance their own travel. Every contribution helps and will be gratefully received.


Participants are asked to note that the Organising Collective assumes no responsibility for accidents, theft, loss, damage or delays at the conference, or loss of monies by participants in the case of industrial disruption or other circumstances outside the control of the organisers. It is recommended that participants take out their own travel and medical insurance prior to the conference.