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Portugal warns at the UN of the shadow pandemic of violence against women

The Portuguese Secretary of State for Citizenship and Equality warned today, during the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), that violence against women "has emerged as a shadow pandemic".

This article was originally published in Notícias ao Minuto.

"Violence against women and girls has emerged as a shadow pandemic," Rosa Monteiro said in a virtual CSW side event co-organized by the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU), European Commission and European Women’s Lobby.

"The risk of violence has increased with the implementation of containment measures in all countries", lamented Rosa Monteiro, declaring that the pandemic "is not neutral" between men and women.

The gender equality expert quoted the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, when considering that the Covid-19 pandemic "has the face of a woman" and that "in all spheres, be it in health, economics, security or social protection , the impact is exacerbated for women ".

Ana Sofia Fernandes, from the European Women’s Lobby (EWL), also underlined the same concern and demanded the European Union’s ratification of the Istanbul Convention, approved in May 2011.

"A gender-based recovery strategy will not be effective if it does not target the shadow pandemic, namely the structural persistence of male violence against women and girls," said the vice-president of EWL.

The representative of the largest platform of women’s associations, with more than two thousand organizations, considered that the Istanbul Convention is "the most comprehensive legislative tool in Europe that addresses specific forms of violence against women and girls".

Ana Sofia Fernandes added that EWL is "very pleased that this is a priority for the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the EU, anticipating a decision by the EU Court of Justice, expected soon".

Rosa Monteiro, Secretary of State for Citizenship and Equality, also indicated that women are "overrepresented" in vital sectors for all economies and societies, such as health, education, care and cleaning, at the same time as saw an increase in responsibilities and burdens in personal lives with unpaid care for the elderly or children.

All of this contributed to the "reinforcement of gender stereotypes", declared Rosa Monteiro.

The Secretary of State recalled the statements by the Minister of State and the Presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva, speaking on Tuesday, on behalf of the European Union, in the general debate of the CSW, which called for intensified efforts and collaborations to eliminate "systemic discrimination" based on gender.

The minister pointed out obstacles to women’s participation in public life such as online violence, which includes threats, harassment and intimidation and "cyber bullying".

The side event co-organized today by the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union discussed the theme "Gender equality and the socio-economic consequences of the crisis caused by the Covid-19" and the objective of "building gender-sensitive emergency and recovery measures", within the scope of CSW, which runs from March 15 to 26.

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EWL event "Progress towards a Europe free from all forms of male violence" to mark the 10th aniversary of the Istanbul Convention, 12 May 2021.

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