[Brussels, 8 April 2014] Last weekend, the members of the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) met in Brussels to discuss EWL’s strategic objectives and actions. A fruitful meeting, with many ideas, exchange of good practices and information, and strengthening of EWL solidarity for women’s rights and gender equality in Europe.
On Friday afternoon, EWL members called for the respect of abortion right for all women in Europe, through a public action in front of the European Parliament. "My body, my decisions" action aims at raising awareness on the recurrent attacks on women’s rights and calling for stronger European commitment to realise gender equality.
On Saturday, EWL members discussed the 12 priority themes of the Beijing Platform for Action. Endorsed in 1995 during the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, the Platform for Action is an agenda for women’s empowerment and delivers strong commitment to realise gender equality and promote women’s rights. A review process has been taking place every five years, and 2015 will see the 20th anniversary of this human rights instruments. Building on its 2010 report, the EWL will issue a Beijing+20 report, with its analysis of the European Union’s progress on implementing the provisions of the Beijing Platform for Action. EWL members exchanged about gaps and challenges, successes and demands, in interactive sessions.
On Sunday, some members had the opportunity to present their work and successful activities:
- Against stereotypes in the work place: Monique Stein, from the Luxemburg Women’s Lobby presented the project of CNFL on Women in Non-Traditional Occupations. Together with city councils participating in the project, they organised exhibitions on women working in male-dominated professions.
- Advocacy voice of migrant women: Monica Cristea from the Europe Network of Migrant Women (ENoMW) screened the video co-realised with EPIM (European Programme for Integration and Migration) to present the network, their ambitions and their actions. See the video below.
- Mentoring programme for women leaders: Daniela Antonovska from the Macedonian Women’s Lobby focused on their mentorship programme (), launched in 2013, to run until 2015. The project “We are the future leaders and agents of change in our communities” is aimed to motivate and build the capacities of women leaders to candidate, be elected and perform the function of mayor and municipal councilors in the local self-government units. In order to achieve this objective, they set up a mentorship programme and created a useful operational manual.
- A price against sexism: Rita de Baets from the Belgian Women’s Lobby talked about the special AUWCH award created by NVR to fight against sexism and misogyny. Everyone is invited to report the sexist talks they heard, or the sexist movies, advertisements they have seen. There is then a vote, and who wins the most voices wins the AUWCH prize… And receives a cactus in form of penis! It is a really funny, simple and painful way to denounce ordinary sexism! See the video below.
- The Nordic Forum: Johanna Pakkanen, from the Coalition of Finnish Women’s Association (Nytkis) presented the Nordic Forum Malmö 2014 that is to be held from 12 to 15 June 2015. It is a conference arranged by the women’s rights movement in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The regional conference manifests the determination of women in the Nordic countries to promote girls’ and women’s empowerment and achieve gender equality.
- Feminist radio: Alexandra Sofia da Silva, from the Portuguese Platform for women’s Rights, introduced the website The Clítoris da Razão ("The Clitoris of Reason") which has been created by one of their member organisations. It started as a feminist radio programme in 2013. They write about a lot of different themes on a feminist/gender point of view, allowing debate inside and outside the feminist movement. The project rapidly grew, extending to a radio show and a feminist magazine online.
You can find them on facebook, listen to the broadcast, and on Instagram. Site: www.oclitorisdarazao.com
- Pledge to stop war: Finally, Martha Jean Baker from the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom encouraged the members to join the movement Women’s Power to Stop War (initiated in 1915 in the midst of the first world war) by signing their pledge.
European Network of Migrant Women
The AUWCH award, Belgium
Clítoris da Razão