Thursday, April 19, 2018


On February 14, the Moroccan parliament adopted a new law on violence against women that criminalizes harassment, aggression, sexual exploitation or ill treatment of women. In addition, the new law obligates public authorities to take preventive measures and provides new protection mechanisms for survivors.  The adoption of the law came after 5 years since it was first drafted in 2013, and was ratified by 112 votes. 
Under the new law, tougher penalties are imposed for some forms of violence in the penal code when committed within the family. The law criminalizes forced marriage with a penalty of six months to one year in prison and a fine of 10,000 to 30.000 dirhams, or one of these two penalties. Furthermore, it imposes penalties for sexual harassment in public spaces and cyber networks.  
The law includes positive provisions, such as a definition of violence against women “any act based on gender discrimination that entails physical, psychological, sexual, or economic harm to a woman” and it provides protection and safety orders for violence survivors. These orders can only be issued during a criminal prosecution or after a criminal conviction and they can be cancelled if spouses reconcile which will only add more pressure on women to drop such orders. 
Although the achievement is unfortunately far to be complete due to several shortcomings within the law, it’s still a positive step towards protection of women’s rights and curbing VAW in Morocco. Feminist concerns remain in regard to the law of violence against women, which is seen as not protecting women victims of violence and does not raise the question of prevention.  Furthermore, there is a critique that the proposals from the feminist movement have not been taken into consideration in the recent legislation, and no sufficient public debate has been engaged.
Leer más...

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


On 27th of February, the Lower House’s Labour Committee submitted several amendments on the draft Labour Law to the Parliament to make it more gender sensitive. They included a two-day paternity leave for fathers, the presence of daycare centres at workplaces if the total number of worker’s children is 15 or more and the introduction of new laws that criminalize gender-based wage discrimination.
Social attitudes and legal barriers posed by the traditional roles of women in society, the lack of daycare centers and gender-based wage discrimination adversely affect women’s participation in labour market. Jordan was ranked 138 out of 144 countries in women’s economic participation and 142 out of 144 countries in labour force participation at the Global Gender Gap Index issued on November 2 by the World Economic Forum (WEF) for the year 2017. 
In spite of these important steps, there are still remaining obstacles that slow down the progress towards gender equality. We hope the new amendments will be ratified to help the increase of women’s labour participation, reduce gender inequalities, decrease pay and earning gaps and foster the idea of joint parental responsibility between women and men.
Leer más...

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Euromed Feminist Initiative urges measures towards improving the status of gender equality in the Euro-Med region.

Euromed Feminist Initiative IFE-EFI welcomes the new law amendments and recommendations in Morocco, Palestine and Jordan and expresses its full solidarity with women’s rights, civil society and human rights organizations and movements and their continuous efforts to attain equal rights for women and to remove gender discrimination in law. The Gender Regional Platform, with policy recommendations to the decision makers that was developed during a one year process in the frame of the project “Gender Regional Platform” funded by the European Union and gathered over 1000 representatives from women’s rights CSOs, CBOs, gender experts, academics and researchers with decision makers and legislators, identified four priority areas of work among which ending discrimination and violence against women. Consequently, IFE-EFI appreciates the recent amendments as important steps to improve women’s rights status in the region and hope that these amendments will lead to annulling all discriminative articles in national legislations existing mainly in the Personal Status Laws and Penal Codes, such as the concept of guardianship in law, inheritance law and the current legal exceptions in the child marriage laws in Morocco, Palestine and Jordan, as well as legislation that exempts the rapist from sanctions if he marries his victim in Palestine. 

The  Gender Regional Platform underlines the necessity to strengthen the connection between legislations and actual implementation with follow up mechanisms.  Legislation is needed to challenge and change the deeply rooted gender-based discrimination against women but it must be translated in concrete actions. The Declaration of the Euro-Med Women’s Rights Civil Society Conference, which was handed to the Ministers in the Euro-Med Region during their 4th UfM Ministerial Meeting on women’s rights on 27th November 2017 in Cairo, urges and proposes concrete and tangible measures towards improving the status of gender equality in the Euro-Med region.
Leer más...

Friday, April 13, 2018

Educating for Accountability 5/5

Adopting processes of accountability will require education. The International Rescue Committee (2013), for example, have developed a curriculum for educating men about accountability processes.  For them, accountability ‘is an active process where men listen to the needs of women and recognise when they act in a harmful manner, even unintentionally’ (page 14). They differentiate between personal accountability, where facilitators are required to monitor their attitudes, beliefs and practice, and relational accountability, where facilitators are expected to challenge power differences between men and women.

In terms of practical measures, Macomber (2014: 8) has five recommendations for integrating men as allies in anti-violence work that should form part of any curriculum on accountability: require newcomers to receive training and education before stepping into key activist roles; cap men’s speaking fees; link men’s organisations to women’s organisations and groups; institutionalise a process to address issues of privilege internally; and reconceptualise accountability to include an emphasis on building gender equity. 

Leer más...

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Forms of accountability 4/5

Barone (2007) distinguishes between three different kinds of accountability: symbolic accountability, practical accountability and structural accountability. Ideally, all three forms of accountability should be developed.
Symbolic accountability is where men let women know what they are doing and seek women’s feedback. Margaret (2010) talks about the importance of allies making their work transparent to those they are in alliance with.
Practical accountability is where men develop relationships with individual feminist women in their lives through ongoing conversations and alliances around particular projects. This involves making agreements with particular women about their aims and intentions and making a commitment to follow through on specific undertakings (Stoltenberg 2013).
At the international level, MenEngage (2014) have developed standards and guidelines on this practical level of accountability. For them, being accountable means:
• Being critically aware of one’s own power and privilege. 
• Being open to constructive criticism. 
• Being responsible for one’s actions. 
• Following through on what is said and done
•  Taking action to address behaviour or beliefs that go against MenEngage Principles, by individuals and groups both inside and outside the workplace. •  Openly acknowledging any harm caused, and developing and implementing solutions to make amends (page 4).
Structural accountability entails organisational relationships between the men’s programs and women’s services. One form of structural accountability would be for men‘s organisations to incorporate a women’s advisory group or a women’s caucus into the structure of their organisation. This would ensure that they are connected to the intended beneficiaries of their work (Macomber 2014).
MenEngage (2014) stress the importance of accountability as being proactive, whereby men take individual responsibility to behave in ways that are consistent with MenEngage Principles and Code of Conduct. Standards of accountability that relate specifically to relationships with women’s services require that MenEngage members:
•  Shall seek collaboration, open dialogue and constructive criticism from women’s rights organisations and other key stakeholders.
 •  Shall engage women’s rights groups and other key stakeholders to improve programs and initiatives on gender equality. 
•  Shall promote women’s leadership within the organisation, and/or include representatives from women’s rights organistaions on their boards or directors or similar governing bodies. (page 9).
When Men Against Sexual Assault (MASA) was formed in the 1990s, we developed formal accountability structures with Centres Against Sexual Assault in Melbourne. Before we organised a campaign against men’s violence, we consulted with CASAs about their views about such a campaign. When we ran workshops with men about men’s violence against women, we invited feminist women to observe our engagement with the men and give feedback and comments at the end of the workshop (Pease 1995).
It is important that profeminist organisations make their commitment to accountability to women’s services explicit on their external websites and materials. They should acknowledge the contribution and leadership of women in challenging men’s violence. They should also encourage local groups who are developing anti-violence projects to develop dialogue with women’s groups in their communities (Bojin 2012).
It is also important for organisations engaging men to develop processes within their workplaces to address male privilege and power (Macomber 2014). Work undertaken elsewhere on undoing privilege and advancing gender equality in public sector organisations (Flood and Pease 2005) is relevant here. Naming and critically interrogating men’s privilege in the context of an intersectional analysis provides a valuable framework for work towards gender equality within anti-violence organisations. Such an analysis provides a basis for designing training programs for men. These programs should include content that examines how men’s gender interests are socially constructed and psychically embedded, critique the routine accomplishment and reproduction of privilege and identify and encourage gender egalitarian orientations, identities and relations (Flood and Pease 2005: 134-135).

Leer más...

Monday, April 9, 2018

The contested nature of accountability 3/5

One of the premises of accountability in campaigns against oppression is that groups who have been oppressed are in the best position to understand injustice because they are more able to understand the realities of oppression (Temasese et al. 1998). This is why they must be leaders in campaigns to address that oppression to ensure ally actions match the needs and desires of a marginalised population (La Caze 2008; Cohen 2012). 
While the concept of accountability is much talked about in the movement against men’s violence against women, it is a much misunderstood concept. Mudge (cited in Goldrick-Jones 2002) says that accountability is a complicated and contested process. Lack of clarity about the meaning of accountability, and lack of agreement about the importance of it, generates tensions between men’s anti-violence organisations and women’s services (Goldrick-Jones 2002; Funk 2008; Macomber 2014).

In the context of men’s violence against women, the most important dimension of accountability is that men involved in violence prevention should be accountable to women and should be guided by the leadership of women. This entails seeking feedback from women, hearing what they have to say and being receptive to their comments (Margaret 2010; Macomber 2014). To assist men in this regard, Funk (2008) poses the following questions:
• How do we keep the voices of women survivors in the work we do? • What does respecting women’s leadership really look like? How do men do it? •  What are the models that men have of other men truly respecting women’s leadership?   (Funk 2008, p. 166).
One way to frame accountability is to ask the questions: Who benefits from my work and who is potentially harmed by my work?  Part of the reason for accountability is to address the interests of women who are impacted by men’s violence.

Leer más...

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Ceija Stojka a gypsy Holocaust survivor, writer, poet and self-taught artist

Ceija Stojka (1933-2013) was a Roma (Gypsy) Holocaust survivor, writer, poet and self-taught artist who raised awareness of the plight of Roma people under the Nazis and in Europe today. Her paintings are vibrant affirmations of life.

StojkaCeija was one of six children born to Roman Catholic Gypsy parents. The Stojka family wagon travelled with a caravan that spent winters in the Austrian capital of Vienna and summers in the countryside. The Stojkas belonged to a tribe of Gypsies called the Lowara Roma, who made their living as itinerant horse traders.

Hundreds of thousands of Roma were rounded up and killed during World War II. As a young girl, Ceija was interned in concentration camps from which only five members of her extended family of over 200 survived.

Ceija-Stojka(1)Aged 12 when she was liberated from Bergen-Belsen, she bore her identification number tattooed on her arm for the rest of her life. Returning to Austria with a brother and sister, she lived for many years selling carpets before taking up painting. Most of her work depicts the death camps, but there are also idyllic pictures of family life before the War.

Ceija’s autobiography, We Live in Seclusion (1988) drew international attention to the plight of the Roma in the past and present. She also features in the film documentary Forget Us Not, to be released in 2013, which recalls the persecution and deaths of the millions of non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust – from the Roma and Sinti people who were targeted for complete annihilation to hundreds of religious people killed for speaking out. These lesser known voices are brought to life through historical footage and the stories of survivors.

Ceija-Stojka(2)The Budapest-based European Roma Cultural Foundation, describing Stokja’s concentration-camp themed paintings as reflecting “entrenched sorrow in the bodies and spirit of the victims”, called her a key figure in the history, art and literature of Romani culture in Europe.

In 2010, after a spate of Roma hate-killings in Hungary, Ceija asked a gathering of Hungarian university and high-school students, “How is it possible at the beginning of the new century that the Roma population is still humiliated and maltreated – and sometimes killed – for the sole reason of being Roma? Let my grandchildren live!”

Leer más...