The history of the struggle for our individual and collective rights goes far back, inscribing itself in the long-standing demand of Indigenous Women to participate fully and effectively in decision-making spaces for public life. These spaces are diverse and include government entities, proper indigenous governance structures, or international spaces. We have organized ourselves as a women’s movement walking alongside the Indigenous Peoples movement to offer a human rights-based approach anchored in our worldview for the elimination of all forms of violence and for equality and the empowerment of all Indigenous Women, Girls and Youth.
Indigenous Women have organized international conferences and meetings, such as the first Indigenous Women’s Conference in Australia held in 1989; the 1990 International Conference of Indigenous Women in Karajsok, Norway; the 1993 International Conference of Indigenous Women in Aotearoa, New Zealand (Dahl, 2009); and the 2013 World Conference of Indigenous Women in Peru. We were also present at the four global conferences on women held by the United Nations in Mexico City (1975), Copenhagen (1980), Nairobi (1985) and Beijing (1995). The result of this last conference was the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which established firm commitments regarding the women of the world.
The Declaration made effective commitments on issues of concern for Indigenous Women, such as poverty, health, violence against women, armed conflicts, the economy, access to spaces of power and decision-making, human rights, the media and the environment. However, the Indigenous Women who participated in the Conference drafted their own declaration, criticizing the Beijing Platform for Action for not recognizing the neoliberal and monocultural economic model as the root cause of poverty.
International Indigenous Women’s Forum has accompanied the collective advocacy process for the individual and collective rights of Indigenous Women, leading to initiatives such as the drafting of country shadow reports, and the coordination of meetings to present recommendations in strategic spaces such as the Commission on the Status of Women, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, among others of no less importance. Women, in our diversity of identities, contribute vital knowledge and practices for the conservation of cultures, languages, knowledge, and for the protection and conservation of the world’s biodiversity. Indigenous peoples make up 6.2% of the world’s population (ILO, 2019), yet we represent 15% of the world’s impoverished people (UNPFII, 2020).
FIMI has built the path of change by producing specific studies, such as the Global Study on the Situation of Indigenous Women and Girls in the Framework of the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which demonstrates how Indigenous Women systematically find themselves at the bottom of all social and economic indicators. This reality is not, nor has it been a limitation to continue serving advocacy tools as well as recommendations, denunciations and action plans against the different forms of violence that we are experiencing. The priorities agreed by Indigenous Women from the Regional Networks through a global statement are presented at 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the Generation Equality Forum in Mexico and France and as part of the campaign “Walking Together Towards Change” in partnership with MADRE and the regional networks of Indigenous Women as a way to promote on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The initial road to CEDAW dates back to 2004 and was made possible by the collective efforts of Indigenous Women’s organizations and allies. By coordinating various consultations, trainings and validation processes, the IXPOP collective, along with organizations such as Sinergia Noj and Tzununija, have played an important role in promoting this initiative, which is now a global process assumed by regional networks and FIMI. Through this campaign, we seek to achieve the adoption by the CEDAW Committee of a new General Recommendation on the rights of Indigenous Women and Girls. The Convention being a binding instrument, it is a key tool to promote changes in the communities and in the daily lives of women and girls around the world.
It is fundamental to ensure the intersectionality of the processes from local to global, as progress achieved in international spaces must make its way to the regional, national and community levels. As such, we should highlight how important it is for Indigenous Women to hold positions of power. In contexts where patriarchy and racism exert great influence, women are forced to prove their worth as capable leaders and fight the internalized patriarchy that hinders their full participation in public spaces. Having to play numerous roles, it is essential that we walk our path collectively with our families, communities and organizations. This way, from word to action, we can ensure that no decisions affecting us are made without us.
 Global Study on the Situation of Indigenous Women and Girls in the Framework of the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, FIMI, 2020.  Lea Nicolas Mackenzie, “Mujeres Indígenas Crean una Nueva Organización Internacional”, Asuntos Indígenas, no 3, July-September 2000.  Implementing the ILO Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention No. 169: Towards an inclusive, sustainable and just future, International Labor Organization, 2019  Global Study on the Situation of Indigenous Women and Girls in the Framework of the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, FIMI, 2020.