The feminist transformation of the US global justice movement, 1990-2007

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kelsey Erin Walker (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Lisa Levenstein

Abstract: This dissertation explores how feminists shaped the 1999 World Trade Organization (WTO) protests in Seattle and the broader global justice movement. In the 1980s and early 1990s, Seattle feminists began meeting and networking with their Global South counterparts, mainly through international conferences, where they gained knowledge about the impacts of neoliberal globalization and free trade policies on women around the world. When they returned home, they shared what they had learned with their communities and networks. When the WTO announced in January 1999 that it would hold its ministerial meeting in Seattle, these feminists were ready to act. Some pressured the national organizations involved in the protest planning process such as the AFL-CIO, Public Citizen, and the Sierra Club to address the struggles of poor people, women, and people of color in the US and around the world. Others pursued a strategy of separate organizing, employing creative methods of protest and holding workshops, forums, and other events that highlighted the disastrous consequences for marginalized people of the free trade policies promoted by the WTO. Following the protest, feminists’ role as organizers and theorists within the Global Justice Movement grew as they took on greater visibility and leadership. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, many helped shift the agenda of the movement away from large-scale protests, and towards efforts to build alternative solutions to free trade. To that end, they inaugurated a social forum process within the US that led to one of the most diverse gatherings of US activists in history.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2022
Feminism, Global Justice Movement, Neoliberalism, Transnationalism, WTO Protests
Anti-globalization movement
Globalization $x Moral and ethical aspects
Globalization $x Social aspects

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