Women’s life experiences have offered unique opportunities for intercultural exchanges both historically and today.
Most of the activities feature the female point of view, or come from ideas used by women’s organizations. This was the case for daughters of noble families who often were raised with the expectation of fitting into their husband’s family. 3) Consider women travelers and observers in the period of European imperialism and colonization. Writing letters and sometimes reports to be published back home, their accounts differed in significant ways from those written by men. Two travelers, Mary Wortley Montagu in Turkey in 1717, and Flora Tristan, almost a century later in the 1830s in Lima, Peru, offered refreshing new opinions about women who covered themselves in public, a practice most Europeans considered strange and exotic. The entrance of large numbers of newcomers into a country or community creates identity issues for the larger community as well. Find an awareness activity to help discuss national identity issues and what a common national identity might be. Explore ways Theoung Mim, a Cambodian artist living in America, and the Brazilian artist, Eliane Christina Testa, illustrate their views of ethnic diversity and identity.
As mothers, womens’ anti-war statements have been particularly effective, creating a common ground around which to engage women from diverse backgrounds.
The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), is the oldest women’s peace organization in the world. Some groups have achieved success by initiating projects which at their core require the participation of women across national and ethnic boundaries. Find activities about women’s organizing strategies, and ways to connect students around common interests. This essay notes some of the ways women have connected with each other, and intersperses classroom activities and further reading suggestions into the text. In many cultures women of diverse backgrounds work side by side as they perform their domestic responsibilities.
New genetic research has revealed that, based on DNA, on average men have not migrated as far as women. High status brides, with hefty dowries, carried with them the additional potential of being used as tribute, or as tokens in peace negotiations. Over the course of the Tang dynasty, for example, over twenty known princesses were dispatched beyond China’s borders, ensuring that peace and hopefully trade would result from the union of the two enemy countries. Legend has it that she brought the art of silk making with her, developed the Tibetan alphabet and writing, brought Han artisans to pass on their skills in metallurgy, farming, weaving, construction, and the manufacture of paper and ink. Women and girls whose ethnic background is new to a community can find that family and cultural restrictions make it harder than men to cross cultural boundaries. The dominant group is challenged to consider ways to embrace or at least accept the concept of social diversity.

The great sisterhood of organizations today illuminates the strength of women’s intercultural dialog across national and ethnic boundaries.
The first resolution they came up with proclaimed the idea that women anywhere in the world have rights to equal treatment and opportunities. Some were spurred by sponsorship from the United Nations, which held four women’s world conferences, resulting in governments making pledges and signing treaties to raise the status of women in their countries. The international aspect of the suffrage movement is often overlooked, but the support women around the world gave to national drives was crucial. It was founded in April 1915 in the Hague, the Netherlands, by some 1300 women from Europe and North America, from countries at war against each other and neutral ones.
The first IWD was held on March 19, 1911 in Germany, Austria, Denmark and some other European countries. This Sixth Clan functioned outside the warring factions, and participated in the peace and reconciliation conference in the summer of 2000.
Dressed in white, the women gathered in a field in the nation’s capital, Monrovia, and prayed, sang, and danced, demanding a meeting with the president. Begun in 1988 in Israel with Jewish and Arab Israeli women standing in silent vigils, today Women in Black demonstrations exist in many parts of the world.
Most often, it is women who gather to collect water at public wells or streams, or rub elbows as they negotiate for the family’s needs in market places. They might come from differing ethnicities, for example the wealthy households in the Ottoman empire where women were purposely brought from non-Ottoman regions (such as the Caucasus) as brides and as slaves. Although on the lowest social rung of the household, the female captive brought her past history and culture with her, often expressed through her folk tales, religious beliefs, songs, food preferences, artistic creations, and child rearing practices. Women, having access to women, were more apt to describe domestic scenes, and seemed more sensitive to the concerns of women and children. Women have more pressure to maintain many aspects of their culture and pass it on to their children.
Important models from history set the precedence for the success of contemporary organizing. Greater input and drive, however, has come from the proliferation of grassroots organizations. For example, New Zealand women, being the first to win suffrage in 1893, were in much demand to travel to support efforts elsewhere.
Representing a diversity of cultures and languages, they came together to protest the killing and destruction of the war, and to study, make known, and eliminate its causes. It was Clara Zetkin, leader in the German international Socialist women’s movement, who at a global socialist party congress in 1910 proposed March 8th be proclaimed International Women's Day. It has provided a framework for Somali women to establish a coalition group based on their common interests as women and mothers, rather than on narrow clan interests.
The exhibit sparked workshops on the theme of violence and furthered the creation of similar exhibits in each country.

Wherever a member network is formed, the goal of having the active and equal participation of women of diverse backgrounds in decision making is required.
Women’s traditional work as healers, midwives, herbalists, or sellers of small food and household items, also ensures almost daily interactions among a wide variety of women.
Or, the intercultural mix of women who lived in semi-seclusion in the Indian zananas as servants, or one of multiple wives.
In these ways, legions of unknown women influenced the culture of their conquering enemies.
For at least the past few thousand years, and possibly much longer, women, not men, have been the ones to leave their natal homes for foreign lands, and in so doing have kept the human gene pool well blended. Female members of the royal family were also sometimes married to other nationalities within Chinese borders to ease tensions in the wake of conquest.
They wrote intimate accounts, revealing their personal responses to different landscapes and cultures. For more than a century, women have banded together to address issues such as reproduction, suffrage, equality, discrimination and violence. Initiatives no longer come from just the top down, but reflect the stated needs of women from the ground up. And, the tactics American women learned from the militant branch of England’s movement gave their cause the publicity it sought. Her intent was to honor the American 1857 march of garment workers in New York City demanding improved working conditions, and also the second on March 8, 1908. If it provides us with a decent income I don't care who am I working with," said Magbula, a Muslim. Finally, women helped to promote the candidacy and election of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as president of Liberia. In households which produced much of what was used, women always worked together producing textiles, preparing food, and rearing children. By marrying outside their family, village, or clan, womens’ skills in intercultural interactions must also have been honed. In these ways, palace women played a significant role in constructing a multiethnic society and in spreading the ideas and technological skills of the Han Chinese civilization. And, as they gathered new perspectives about the women they were encountering, influenced the views of some back home.
These expectations can create problems of identity for young women who are forced to set themselves apart from the larger group.

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