[Brussels, 30 October 2020] The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) has over the years taken the position that sexism reinforced by gender stereotypes is one of the factors that runs counter to achieving gender equality and the full recognition of women’s rights. The prevalence of sexism continues to suppress and oppress women and girls, whereby women and girls are subjected to all forms of violence to silence women and maintain them in a subordinate place. Male violence against women is clearly linked to a culture of sexism in our societies, coupled with indirect forms of violence against women such as women’s poverty, women’s economic dependence, gender pay and pension gaps, women’s unequal participation in political life and the lack of parity democracy, women’s unequal access to public services and common goods (including health, education, culture, transport, housing, media, etc.), sexist stereotyping in the media, etc.
Despite progress over the last decades on equality between women and men, there is not a single country in the world where women and girls are free from male violence, and there is not a single area in any woman’s life where she is not exposed to the threat or reality of acts of male violence.
To raise awareness on sexism and how to combat all forms of sexism in key sectors, the EWL has launched a collaborative project Mobilise Against Sexism together with nine national coordination members from Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, and Spain. The Mobilise Against Sexism project is supported by the Council of Europe, with the goal to raise awareness on sexism and influence member states to pass legislation in line with the CoE’s Committee of Ministers’ adopted Recommendation CM/Rec(2019)1 – Preventing and Combating Sexism.
Since July 2020, inspite of limited movements due to COVID-19, EWL members in the nine countries have been actively implementing activities in the target sectors as mentioned in the CM/Rec(2019)1, namely on the:
- legislative measures (ban on sexism and criminalisation of sexist hate speech)
- digital space
- public sector
- justice sector
- educational institutions
- culture and sport
- private sphere
Meetings with national decision-makers were organised; gatherings with key actors were conducted such as with local members, women’s organisations, civil society organisations, academics, lawyers, journalists, young feminists to name a few; webinars promoting the CoE’s campaign on Sexism: See It. Name It. Stop It. were launched or are being organised, and visibility plans on social media and on other communication tools have been implemented.
We welcome the inclusive and meaningful engagements happening nationally and EWL will be sharing national stories gathered from the nine countries, highlighting what has been achieved and what our impacts are thus far.