[Brussels, 8 August 2022] Each year on 12 August, we mark International Youth Day – an opportunity for the world leaders and society as a whole to draw attention to issues concerning young people worldwide.
As the largest umbrella of women’s organisations in Europe, the European Women’s Lobby is once again using this occasion to highlight the work of its members. The struggle to achieve a just, prosperous and feminist Europe requires dedication, passion and a strong will to create space for the next generation of feminists, and the following story from Portugal shows how big of an impact these efforts can accomplish.
The National Video Contest “I say no to sexism!” was a competition aimed at middle school and secondary school students, from public, private and professional schools in Portugal, jointly promoted by the Portuguese Platform for Women’s Rights (PpDM) and the Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality (CIG), in collaboration with the School Libraries Network (RBE), which took place between September 2021 and January 2022, within the scope of the european project Mobilise Against Sexism II, coordinated in Portugal by PpDM.
The initiative emerged to respond to the challenges launched by the Council of Europe (CoE) in its 2019 Recommendation, “Preventing and combating sexism”, which specifically considers school education one of the nine strategic areas to prevent and combat sexist behavior and discrimination that affects girls and women, but also boys and men. Thus, the contest was aimed at students from the 7th to the 12th grade, so that they could take charge and reflect on the different manifestations and consequences of sexism in their lives, present and future, and ultimately to denounce it and to combat it through the creation of short videos aimed at young people and teenagers.
Sixty-two eligible videos were submitted to the competition, twenty-five from middle schools and thirty-seven from secondary schools, involving a total of one hundred and fifty-three students from twenty-four schools or groups of schools.
On March 30th 2022, the public award ceremony took place in the auditorium of António Damásio Secondary School, in Lisbon. Caterina Bolognese, Head of the Gender Equality Division of the Council of Europe, took the opportunity to congratulate the participants.
The awards and certificates were presented to the students by representatives of PpDM, CIG and RBE, as well as representatives of the sponsoring companies Auchan and Xerox.
Also distinguished were teachers whose pedagogical work of monitoring and encouragement was central to the creation of the award-winning videos, as well as representatives of the schools that hosted the winning teams.
All award-winning or distinguished videos are available online, and are often used in awareness-raising actions carried out by PpDM members. Thus, the success of this contest is indisputable, as it offered an incredible opportunity for learning to the students directly involved, as well as their teachers, but also to all others who, in one way or another, have come or will come into contact with these works. It is the transforming potential of youth that gives substance and strength to the structural changes that will dismantle sexism and ultimately achieve effective equality between women and men, girls and boys.
Check out the photo gallery from the ceremony!
#StopSexism #MeToo #ISayNoToSexism
This article is a part of the International Youth Day 2022 series. For more stories about young feminist engagement from EWL members, please visit this section of our website and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.