EWL members and partners joined forces with NGOs and women’s organisations around the world to mark the 16 days of activism to end violence against women and girls.
[Brussels, 15 December 2020] Male violence against women and girls is a long-term systemic issue across the world. It is the most pervasive violation of women’s human rights that has life-long implications for women’s physical and mental health. There can be no peace and security while women fear for their safety in their homes, workplaces and in public spaces across Europe. That is why every year, women’s organisations and activists from around the world mark the 16 days of activism to end violence against women and girls.
From webinars to social media campaigns, from high level conferences to petitions, our members and partners have used the 16 days to bring attention to the reality in which millions of women continue to encounter violence every day. We called on national and European leaders to ratify and implement the Council of Europe’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, known as the Istanbul Convention, and to use this powerful binding tool to provide protection, prosecute perpetrators, and prevent different forms of violence.
Read some of the highlights from the 16 days below and consult our members’ websites for more information about their work year-long.
Social media and online campaigning has become as important as ever during the past few months. Our members around Europe used this opportunity to share information with their audiences and raise awareness on the pervasiveness of violence against women in our societies.
Le Conseil National des Femmes du Luxembourg ran an online action ‘Let’s say no to violence’, while le Conseil des femmes francophones de Belgique, in partnership with Vrouwenraad, launched their online campaign on femicide and VAWG. Similarly, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) launched a global campaign around the theme of victim blaming, with the hashtag #notHERfault. They asked young people around the world to share their experiences of victim blaming and VAWG and prepared an activity pack to support volunteer youth leaders in conversations about VAWG and victim blaming.
Plataforma Portuguesa para os Direitos das Mulheres (PpDM) and Austrian Women’s Ring ran a social media campaign and shared EWL’s translated materials as well as materials from the Portuguese Government’s official campaign and statistics about reporting violence in Austria, respectively. In Czechia, our members participated in a campaign to raise awareness about violence against women and girls and call for more protective and preventive measures. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom released a video with WILPF members from across the world sharing messages on what inspires them to build a feminist and peaceful tomorrow, and YWCA prepared a toolkit for advocating to end violence against women and girls.
Webinars and events
The European Disability Forum (EDF) hosted a webinar on ending violence against women and girls with disabilities on 24 November, and the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO) hosted a conversation on ‘honour’-based abuse on the same day. The European Network of Migrant Women held a webinar on best practices in legal assistance and integration support to female migrant victims of sex trafficking in Europe, and the Greek Coordination participated in a high level conference on violence against women, presenting EWL’s work and the Coordination’s activities during the pandemic.The Greek Coordination also co-organised an open discussion with Vice President of the European Parliament Mr. Dimitris Papadimoulis and the Greek MEP Mrs. Eliza Voseberg, member of the FEMM Committee.
Our Croatian members organised a wide range of events and activities, from physical protests to online film screenings, while the National Women’s Council of Ireland organised a discussion to explore gender-based harassment from different perspectives under two pillars of the Istanbul Convention - Prevention and Protection. The Gender & Diversity Hub of Utrecht University, the Center for Inclusive Leadership and the Dutch Women’s Council discussed the bill that focuses on the number of women on boards of large companies, and the Coalition of Finnish Women´s Associations (NYTKIS) organized a remote discussion event in discussing the origins of the idea of cooperation between women’s organizations. Women’s NGOs Cooperation Network of Latvia broadcastedinterviews with four Roma activists, and Romanian Women’s Lobby and Associazione Donne Romene in Italia - ADRI organised a discussion with Romanian women living in diaspora on the topic of sexism.
Motivated by the serious setbacks in women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in Europe, EWL Member Soroptimist International of Europe issued a statement defending the right to freely decide to attain the highest standard of SRHR. Read the full statement urging all European governments and the European Commission to develop a comprehensive binding proposal on SRHR that is aligned with research and guiding principles, and to coordinate women’s health as a priority in accordance to the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. EWL Spain expressed their support to the campaign launched by the Federation of businesswomen and professionals BPW Spain that fights against the rise in the quota of the self-employed, and the The Estonian Women’s Associations Roundtable issued acall to suspend the draft international regulation on surrogacy initiated by the Hague Conference on Private International Law.
Sweden’s Women’s Lobby contributed to an article calling for investment in wages in welfare and closing the wage gap, and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) released a statement advocating for extra protection against online harassment for women working from home. During their first-ever virtual triennial Congress, the International Alliance of Women (IAW) commemoratedthe International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and the International Council of Jewish Women (ICJW) issued a statement in support of the Orange Week, encouraging its members to continue to be activists in their countries and to provide support for victims of violence.
In partnership with European Movement International, EWL organised the Women of Europe Awardsto celebrate the extraordinary women in their own right from politics, business, civil society and academia. Our European-wide members Business and Professional Women Europe (BPW) have been nominated to receive an honorary mention in the 2020 G7 – EU WEPs Award competition, in the category Best Network. Lastly, Frauenring Vice Chairwoman Maria Rösslhumer was honoured for her extraordinary commitment against violence against women and received the Human Rights Award 2020.