Women in the European Union

oudlogoFEMM – Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

Next FEMM Committee Meeting will be held on 1 December 2014 from 15.00 to 18.30 and on 2 December from 9.00 to 12.30 in Brussels.

The EU Anti Trafficking Coordinator, Ms Myria Vassiliadou will, together with Members of the LIBE Committee (Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs), exchange views on and discuss the “Global report on Trafficking in Persons” of the United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime.
We will also discuss among others the Draft Opinion on the Prevention and Deterrence of Undeclared Work.

The FEMM Committee is available on Facebook

Violence against Women in the EU

A recent report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) presents results from the world’s biggest-ever sur-vey on violence against women, revealing the extent of abuse suffered by women at home, work, in public and online.
As well as demonstrating the wide prevalence of violence against adult wom-en, the report also details incidents of physical and sexual violence experienced by women in childhood.
Drawing on the survey responses, some of the key findings show that:

* 33% of women have experienced physical and/or sexual vio-lence since the age of 15. That corresponds to 62 million women.
* 22% have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a partner.
* 5% of all women have been raped. Almost one in 10 women who have experienced sexual violence by a non-partner, indicate that more than one perpetrator was involved in the most serious incident.
* 43% have experienced some form of psychological violence by either a current or a previous partner, such as public humiliation; forbidding a woman to leave the house or locking her up; forcing her to watch pornography; and threats of violence.
* 33% have childhood experiences of physical or sexual violence at the hands of an adult.
* 12% had childhood experiences of sexual violence, of which half were from men they did not know. These forms of abuse typi-cally involve an adult exposing their genitals or touching the child’s genitals or breasts.
* 18% of women have experienced stalking since the age of 15 and 5% in the 12 months prior to the interview. This corresponds to 9 million women. 21% of women who have experienced stalk-ing said that it lasted for over 2 years.
 11% of women have experienced inappropriate advances on social websites or have been subjected to sexually explicit emails or text (SMS) messages. 20% of young women (18-29) have been victims of such cyberharassment.
* 55% of women have experienced some form of sexual harass-ment. 32% of all victims of sexual harassment said the perpetrator was a boss, colleague or customer.
67% did not report the most serious incident of partner violence to the police or any other organisation.

New European Commission led by Jean-Claude Juncker

October 20-2014 – The decision passed by 423 votes in favour, 209 against and 67 abstentions. The winning majority was composed of the EPP, S&D (with the Spanish delegation abstaining) and ALDE groups. GUE/NGL, Greens/EFA and EFDD groups voted against while the ECR group, who gave the instruction to abstain, was split.

The new Commission will start its five-year term on 1 November 2014.
– See more at: http://www.votewatch.eu/blog/super-grand-coalition-epp-sd-alde-approves-the-new-european-commission/#sthash.oy5USNnI.dpuf

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IAW CONGRESS in London 2013

IAW President Joanna Manganara vows fight against gender inequality and the feminization of poverty

September 13, 2013 – In her inaugural address, IAW’s new President Joanna Manganara says the fight against gender inequality and the feminization of poverty amid the financial crisis and climate change should be the IAW’s priority.

The world is undergoing significant upheavals with far reaching changes. We have new problems like the financial crisis, the Arab turmoil, climate change, the food crisis and other crises.

I think our priorities should be gender inequality and the feminization of poverty, which is exacerbated by the financial crisis. Women constitute the majority of the world’s poor. The majority of workers in the most vulnerable sectors – domestic workers, garment workers, subsistence farmers – are women. Women also suffer from climate disasters, for which they are least responsible.greece

The MDG’s did not address the root causes of poverty, most especially women’s inequality, which made it impossible for the goals to be truly transformative.
Moreover gender equality cannot be realized in an environment characterized by economic policies that do not respect human rights.
So we should monitor macroeconomic policies and evaluate them with regard to the principle of non-discrimination, gender equality and human rights.

We have to develop positions and present them in statements at the Commission on the Status of Women, the Commission on Social Development, the Human Rights Council, etc. We must contribute to the work of special rapporteurs of the UN on Violence, Poverty and Human Rights, among others.

Our member organizations should continue to contribute to shadow reports in their respective countries and to the CEDAW Committee in Geneva ,contribute to the  Universal  Periodic  Report in the Human Rights Council which has wide media coverage. These are some of the initiatives that we can undertake.

Our vision is to create a world where gender equality is never in question and discrimination and violence against women and girls are things of the past.

President Lyda Verstegen’s speech at the 36th Congress of IAW in London, September 2013

September 6, 2013 – In the morning I walk on the beach with my friends. We sing, childhood songs we all know. But sometimes another song pops in my head, and recently when I saw an old shoe on the shore it was a Mexican song Called la chancla.vieja, the old shoe. It is about a man who boasts that he threw away his woman like an old shoe, And goes on singing that he regrets it because he now is barefoot, the selfish monster. My fear is that the same fate will befall the Syrian refugee girls, who are now, in worrying numbers, being sold into marriage by their starving mothers.London opening

I am the 13th president of the International Alliance of Women and yet I do not want [to build on that unlucky number] to tell only stories of doom. In Johannesburg I called the age of 13 a period of transition and it seems I was right.

There are examples of transition that result in bringing awareness or improvement. Last October Malala was shot by people who thought education was bad for girls. Fortunately she survived and is now safe in England The good that came out of this is that the UN declared the 12th of June, her birthday, Malaladay, to bring home to the world the importance of education for girls. Last week she came to Holland to receive the youth prize with 100. 000 Euro attached to it, earmarked for education projects.

Also last year an Indian young woman in New Delhi was gang raped and left fatally wounded. She died and the whole world was shocked. Last month in Mumbai another young woman was gang raped. Judging from the demonstrations and debate this brought about and from the fury that arose when an under-age perpetrator came away with a mild prison sentence, this too may constitute a transition to a less violent society with more respect for women’s human rights.

In my speech in JOHANNESBURG I said that IAW was about Access.

Access to health services to reduce maternal mortality. A good example is Bangla Desh where mobile phones to summon a medical team in an emergency, have saved many lives. The doctor who devised this project was the NGO/CSW in New York Woman of Distinction in 2011.
In Denmark the Danish Women’s Society has contributed by initiating a debate about drugs, used to induce labour.Cornerstone Old Hall

Access to Justice in case of rape was forced upon the police by our Zimbabwean colleague Women’s Comfort Corner. They succeeded in getting a very high sentence for a man who raped his 9 year old stepdaughter.The judge said that a high sentence was appropriate to send a message to society that the court will continue to protect young girls from sexual predators.
(Picture: a sculpture in the wall at the Old Hall of Lincoln’s Inn, a building once dominated by male lawyers and judges).

Access to economic independance and to land is illustrated by our associate, the Bali women’s union, Bawufag in Cameroon. They succesfully took up chicken farming and used the proceeds to buy land.
Another example is the All India Women!s Conference and Power in Bangla Desh, who are also getting results in their efforts for empowering rural women.

Access to decision making on a very small scale was finally won in the Netherlands where only since last week a fundamentalist Christian political party has a woman heading the list of candidates for local elections. For this cause our association Vrouwenbelangen and the fund for experimental law cases campagned for at least 8 years, including bringing the matter up to the European court of human rights.Lyda en Heleen

This last example is partly my work, when I was president of our Dutch affiliate. But you may ask ‘what other matters were you involved in during your presidency?’.

Earlier on I promised you that I would be a president of communication and knowledge sharing. I believe I fulfilled that promise. I corresponded with many of you, I wrote to you frequently on Ning and on the website. I made speeches in New York and in Melbourne. I visited the AdF in Bazel and Unioni in Finland, and I wrote a draft action programme in ordinary language which I hope you will adopt. In doing these things it has always been my ambition that everybody can understand what we are about. Picture: Heleen, who designed Ning and her mother Lyda.

But Lene and I did more. We used some of the money in the Chave Collinson fund to create an instrument that makes all basic information about IAW available to all members for the modest price of 10 pounds. have the same knowledge about IAW.
It is a specially crafted memory stick, elegant, portable and bearing the name of our beloved former president Olive Bloomer. It contains not only the Constitution and the bylaws but also the Centennial production, and of course a story about Olive Bloomer.
To begin with, the new Board will be entrusted with it. After that you can all procure your own copy. After our Congress you will be able to bring your memory stick even more up to date by adding the-members of the new board and the minutes of our meetings.

I call now on the members who contributed so much to making IAW a respected organization and who no doubt will continue to do so: Gudrun Haupter and Soon Young Yoon. Please come forward.
I also call on Alison Brown, because she introduced the memory stick in IAW when she handed over the secretariat to Lene. The stick made it so much easier.Bloomersticks
I also call on Heleen Kist, because she is trying to move us in the next century with Ning.
And last but not least the women who stop working for IAW, or better, who stop in their present job:
Helene Sackstein, our brillant representative in Geneva, who found a paid job in the same sector of Human Rights, Joke Sebus, the editor of the E Newsletter, who was tireless in bringing out an interesting, sometimes hair raising issue every month, and of course Pat Richardson, our membership officer for so many, many years.

Thank you all so much, come here, let me first hug you and then decorate you with the new Olive Bloomer stick.
Thank you all for being here and for working for human rights of women everywhere.

IAW President Lyda Verstegen

 Programme on September 10, 14.00 – 16.30,
Panel with the following speakers:

Clare Coffey, Policy Advisor. UK, Action Aid
Katrine Kielos, journalist, Sweden: Gender and the financial crisis
Lyda Verstegen, President IAW: Birth Control
Gudrun Haupter, IAW Comm. on Health: Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Poverty
Organizer and moderator: Joanna Manganara

Panel Feminist Economics

On Thursday, September 12, 14.00 – 16.30
Professor Duane Elson, University of Essex: Gender and the financial crisis
Margunn Bjørnholt, IAW Board member from Norway and Feminist Economics PhD
Joanna Manganara, The effect of the economic crisis on women in Europe and in general.

Climate Change and Rio+20

Another item on the Congress agenda will be a presentation by Natalia Kostus, member of the IAW team in New York, on the issue of climate change. The draft title is: Climate Change Crisis, Equal Rights and Responsibilities. President IAW
Post 2015 Women’s Development Goals

Invitation and a warm welcome

Invitation by IAW President Lyda Verstegen (see picture) and  a warm welcome by Bashan Rafique, IAW Vice-President and President of the UK APWA. IAW members are invited by All Pakistan Women’s Association – UK, to attend the 2013 Congress, which will be held at the Great Hall in the historic precinct of Lincoln’s Inn.
President Lyda Verstegen: “It is a long time since the Alliance had its headquarters in London and many years since a Congress was held  there so I hope that IAW Affiliate and Associate member organisations will be well represented and that  many of our Individual Members will also be able to attend”.
Themes: Post-2015,  Women’s Sustainable Development Goals – Hunger in Times of Crisis – Feminist Economics and discussion of new IAW policies and resolutions in workshops.

Programme IAW Congress, Great Hall, Lincoln’s Inn, Londongreathallout

Saturday Sept 7,  all day arrivals

Sunday Sept 8,  9.00 – 13.00, arrivals and registration in the Courtroom of Lincoln’s Inn
Pre-Congress Board Meeting  with a separate agenda
Several Committees will be appointed: the Elections Committee ,the Resolutions Committee, the  Media Committee etc. Business sessions with a separate agenda every morning on 9, 10, 11, and 12 September

Monday Sept 9,
9.00 – 10.00 Registration and  Opening of Congress
Presentation of the Elections Committee – Presentation and discussion of reports of affiliates and associates by Secretary General Lene Pind – Presentation of the Resolutions Committee
Lunch – Courtroom Old Hall, Lincoln’s Inn 13.00 – 14.00

The UK APWA Panel
Monday 9 September,
14.30 – 17.00lailasarfaraz Speakers: Khawar Mumtaz, Minster for the Status of Women, Pakistan – Nasira Iqbal, retired judge, Lahore Highcourt, Pakistan – A representative of the Fawcett Society – A representative of the National Council of Women of Great Britain. Convenor: Bashan Rafique (see picture).

Programme on the following days:
Human Rights, Gender Equality; the Post-2015 Agenda, on Tuesday September 10;
How to  End Hunger in Times of Crisis, on Wednesday September 11;
Feminist Economics, on Thursday September 12;
workshops  on Friday September 13.
The new Board will have a meeting on Saturday 13 September.

There will be no development, no progress,
without strong commitments to women’s rights & gender equality

The Report on Post-2015 is available

May 30 – The report  on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, one of four,  is available  along at http://www.worldwewant2015.org/HLPReport
You are invited to submit your reactions to the report online, in English and in Arabic, French, and Spanish, starting next week. The consultation will also include a series of teleconferences with regional and sub-regional civil society networks from the global South.
The consultation will inform a day of dialogue between civil society organizations and Member States on 22 September, ahead of the UN General Assembly Special Event on the Millennium Development Goals on 25 September.
A UN-NGLS synthesis report will highlight regional perspectives from the global South on the four reports.
For more information, please see http://www.worldwewant2015.org/NGLSconsultation.

* We need a Post2015 development agenda that prioritizes gender equality & rights of women & young people. More than ½ world’s population is under 25.
*  Agenda must guarantee sexual & reproductive rights as fundamental human rights, along with gender equality.
* Youth empowerment, especially for girls, is key to global prosperity & peace .
* Agenda should ensure women’s economic rights, incl. rights to control land & property.
* Agenda should guarantee women’s rights to participate in leadership & decision-making at all levels, including economic development.
* Agenda – framework must recognize that patriarchal systems & practices are major impediment for development
* Agenda – Ending Early and Forced Marriage – the  MDGs failed to address girls’ rights.
* Gender inequality & violence against women and girls is “the unfinished business of the MDGs.logo_lg
* Addressing women’s & girls’ health needs, incl. repro health, across life course is critical for achieving #worldwewant.
* Agenda must guarantee women’s economic rights by increasing access to decent work, with legal protection and a living wage.
* Women make up 2/3 of world’s illiterate adults. Time to make education a priority for #post2015
* Addressing violence against women (vaw) must be at core of  UN human rights agenda
* Agenda must guarantee women’s economic rights by increasing access to decent work, with legal protection and a living wage.
* etc. etc.

 See  also http://www.iwhc.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3871&Itemid=599
and  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carole-presern/child-marriage_b_2821325.html #post2015