Monday, August 20, 2018

Egypt's feminists laud mass appointment of women as top judges


Women's rights activists and jurists hailed a decision by the Supreme Judiciary Council earlier this month to promote 16 female judges, expressing hope that women in top judicial positions will make their mark on the gender-sensitive issues that come before the courts.

"I am very optimistic about the promotion of the 16 female judges as it may bring forth another interpretation of laws, especially those concerning female genital mutilation, rape, safe abortion, inheritance and violence against women and eventually reform the judicial system," Randa Fakhr El-Deen, executive director of Egypt's union of nongovernmental organizations working to protect women and children, told Al-Monitor.

Fakhr El-Deen said that the long overdue move reflects the Egyptian leadership's willingness to move toward recognizing equal rights and ensuring the fair representation of women in Egypt’s judiciary.

Hadia Abdel Fattah, a women’s rights activist and founder of an anti-harassment initiative, said that feminists face “a male mentality” in judicial and wider government circles. With the increased presence of female judges in the judicial system, changes and reform, particularly regarding women’s issues, are possible.

Female activists in Egypt have been pushing for efficient implementation of new laws that protect women, such as the penalization of female genital mutilation and jail terms for those who marry underage girls as well as upcoming legislation that would penalize families who allow such marriages. They ask for maximum penalties for domestic violence, swift divorce under fair conditions for women and a no-tolerance attitude toward harassment and rape.

“When we feminists push for changes in laws affecting women, we get stuck with a male-dominated judicial community. Men in Egypt do not feel women’s problems as much as women do. That is why having female judges can be very helpful for women in Egypt,” she told Al-Monitor.

One of the plum posts is Qena Appeals Court, one of the top judicial rank now taken over by Judge Amal Ammar, a member of the Egyptian National Council for Women.

National Council for Women chairwoman Maya Morsi said that the Egyptian Constitution's Article 11 guarantees women’s right to high administration posts, including the judiciary. Morsi added that there are currently 66 female judges in the country. The number was reached in four batches of large-scale nominations — all of them in the last 15 years, almost half a century after other regional countries such as Lebanon, Iraq and pre-revolutionary Iran. In 2003, Tahani al-Gebali was appointed to the Supreme Constitutional Court. In 2007, the first female judges and prosecutors were appointed. More appointments followed in 2008, 2015 and 2017.

Yet, Egypt’s female jurists still have to break into the all-powerful State Council. The council issues legal opinions and reviews bills, resolutions and draft contracts for the state and public entities. The National Council for Women and some individual female jurists have been battling for access to this powerful body to no avail. Though there is no legislation banning their appointment, the State Council has kept women out via its own selection process.

Nevertheless, Gebali sees the recent appointments as a success story for women in the judicial sector. She told Al-Monitor, "The process started in 2003, when I was the first woman to be appointed vice president of the Supreme Constitutional Court and then tens of female judges were appointed in Egypt's courts in 2007. It is normal now for these female judges after being for several years in the judicial system to be promoted."

Gebali said that women's involvement can transform and reform the system, explaining, "There were many distinguished female graduates of Egypt's law schools who were not allowed to take up posts in this field. Now, those efficient women are being appointed as judges and also being promoted to leading posts. This is for sure a huge benefit to the judiciary system in the country."

But she added that 66 female judges out of a total of 17,000 judges in Egypt are not nearly enough. “Although the number of female judges is still low, I believe that Egypt’s new leadership is adamant on getting women to join every field in the country, especially the judicial system,” Gebali concluded.
Menna A. Farouk
Found in:WOMEN’S RIGHTS
Menna A. Farouk is an Egyptian journalist who has been writing about social, political and cultural issues in Egypt since 2013. She is an editor at The Egyptian Gazette newspaper. Farouk has covered stories about the unrest that followed the January 2011 revolution, press freedom, immigration and religious reforms. On Twitter: @MennaFarouk91




Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/08/more-female-judges-appointed-in-egypt.html#ixzz5OPLwRp00
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Saturday, August 18, 2018

KENYA – GRANDMOTHER DEFEND YOURSELF GROUPS – AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT


Helen Wairimu, 106, walks home after a Shosho Jikinge class. In 2016, a young man came to Helen’s home and raped her. Helen still participates in the class every week, and encourages the other women to train harder. In Korogocho and Kibera, located on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya, a widespread superstition that having sex with a grandmother can cure HIV and remove all sins has led to many elderly women becoming targets for sexual assault. But recently, local groups known as Shosho Jikinge (Grandmother Defend Yourself) have formed to teach them how to fight back. In this series, photographer Nadja Wohlleben (@nadjawohlleben) shows how these women are learning how to identify potential attackers, use their voices, and escape dangerous situations. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BmOOTUyDaRu/?taken-by=opensocietyfoundations

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Friday, August 17, 2018

Australia - Dowry Abuse Legislation Passed in Victoria




 After much campaigning to introduce anti-dowry legislation in Australia, the Victorian Parliament passed the Family Violence Protection and Other Matters Bill 2018 earlier this month. The Bill will come into effect in December 2018 and will make Victoria the first Australian state to outlaw dowry abuse and recognise "abuse to demand or receive a dowry, either before or after a marriage" as a form of domestic and family violence. The Bill achieves this by redefining the meaning of family violence to include "using coercion, threats, physical abuse or emotional or psychological abuse to demand or receive a dowry, either before or after a marriage". This means that women who are experiencing dowry-related coercion, emotional, verbal or physical abuse will be able to report the abuse to police. The Bill has now passed to the Governor for royal assent.
16 August 2018 -
http://www5.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/bill_em/jlavpaomb2018731/jlavpaomb2018731.html

http://achrh.org/
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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Shehla Masood


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Belief systems and gender norms fuel violence against women: exploring the beliefs and behaviours of young women and men



The report identifies eight belief systems and gender norms that fuel violence against women in the region. The accompanying beliefs and behaviours for each belief system and norm are described, showing both the regional trend and a comparison across the eight countries studied, highlighting the country or countries with the highest prevalence. These belief systems and gender norms are related to control of women’s bodies and sexuality and are rooted in the construction of a subordinated femininity and a hegemonic masculinity.7 The persistence of such beliefs and behaviours has a direct correlation with social impunity for perpetrators of violence against women and girls. 
For the analysis, we have used the metaphor of three mirrors: distorting mirrors, augmenting mirrors and worn/outdated mirrors. We consider belief systems and gender norms as representing mirrors in which men and women are obliged to see themselves, behaving in such a way as to ensure compliance with the gender stereotypes prescribed for them throughout their lives.

Distorting mirrors are the belief systems and gender norms associated with direct control over women’s bodies in relation to one of the strongest champions of hegemonic masculinity: male virility. Augmenting mirrors are beliefs and norms associated with expressions of control, but in relation to romantic love and the obligations of a concept of sexuality that leaves no room for anything other than compulsory heterosexuality. The main aspect of worn/outdated mirrors is the standardization of certain forms of violence and the provisions that have become entrenched as the attributes of a ‘good woman’. 

https://oxfamilibrary.openrepository.com/bitstream/handle/10546/620524/rr-breaking-the-mould-250718-summ-en.pdf;jsessionid=C0B9203D92B240B38BE44DEFB762EC55?sequence=3
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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Belief systems and gender norms: how to identify them?



In this report, we use the concept of belief systems and gender norms to explain that the beliefs and behaviours that constitute them are deeply entrenched in the system that produces, reproduces and sustains violence against women. Language also plays a significant role, with discourse and repetition or replication (of both discourse and actions) shaping our ways of seeing, hearing, thinking and doing. Chauvinistic, sexist and racist beliefs and behaviours are replicated at the personal, group and society levels. 
The concept of gender norms stresses the importance of institutions or reference groups that have the power to determine which behaviours are appropriate for women and men, and which are not. These reference groups include friends, teachers, artists or musicians, parents, religious leaders, social networks or sports personalities, among others. 

The concept of belief systems takes into consideration the elements that determine gender norms (reference groups and behaviours), but also places context and culture in a central role, where certain institutions have acted to build and define structures which, in effect, serve to regulate what people should think, believe and do. Such institutions (family, church, markets, the media and educational institutions) have the power to dictate rules and deny the interests of certain groups (Figure 1). They thus succeed in institutionalizing gender-based inequalities by encouraging girls and boys, men and women, to internalize the roles prescribed to them by society. These institutions also tend to have 
substantial influence on the implementation of public policies.
It is important to stress that male-dominated, sexist and racist belief systems and gender norms, with their associated beliefs and behaviours, can be transformed. All of us can play a part in promoting alternative belief systems and gender norms, through individual as well as collective action. Changes at a personal level are vital, while bearing in mind that it is essential that any transgression of beliefs or behaviours must have an influence on the group: we must influence those whose power and control over consciences and behaviours has entrenched inequality.  
https://oxfamilibrary.openrepository.com/bitstream/handle/10546/620524/rr-breaking-the-mould-250718-summ-en.pdf;jsessionid=C0B9203D92B240B38BE44DEFB762EC55?sequence=3
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Sunday, August 12, 2018

What is doing to change harmful belief systems and gender norms



 Oxfam has been working with feminist and women’s organizations to eradicate male violence through specific programmes and campaigns for around 20 years. We have been supporting the agendas of feminist and women’s organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean through stand-alone programmes on women’s rights, working on initiatives for the eradication of all types of violence against women, the economic rights of women, transformative leadership and participation of women, and campaigns led by feminist organizations in 9 of the 13 countries in which we work. 

Much progress has been achieved since 2017. We have committed to going beyond a funding role in the campaign Enough! Together We Can End Violence Against Women and Girls2, which focuses on young women and men aged 15–25 to transform the belief systems and gender norms which reinforce violence against women. This campaign is being implemented in eight countries, led by feminist and women’s organizations, young activists and Oxfam.
As part of Oxfam’s role in the campaign, this report helps to identify and analyse the belief systems and gender norms that fuel violence against women and girls in the region. We hope it will focus attention on this pernicious problem, which reproduces beliefs and behaviours, particularly among young people, and which entrenches social impunity for male violence. Oxfam has had the support of the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO) in the management of the national research teams for collection and processing of data in seven countries, while data collection in Bolivia was coordinated by Oxfam, Coordinadora de la Mujer and, Diagnosis. 

The research findings are based on analysis of 4731 surveys carried out with young women and men aged 15–25 in March and April 2017, together with reflections derived from 47 focus group discussions and 49 in-depth interviews carried out in June and July 2017.4 The report provides an overview of regional trends, as well as a comparative analysis across Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua – the eight countries involved in the Enough campaign.
As well as information collected at country level, the report uses other key sources of insights on belief systems and gender norms, such as regional discussions convened by Oxfam, with broad participation from the feminist movement, and particularly the regional conference, ‘Resistance and alliances in the face of inequalities and violence against women in Latin America and the Caribbean’, held in Medellín, Colombia, in March 2016. The report also reflects the processes for Enough campaign design in the various countries and on a regional level, which have provided platforms for debate and collaboration between partner organizations, young people, and Oxfam teams. 

We trust that the analysis provided by this research will be useful for all actors working to eradicate violence against women and girls in the region, and that it will also help to improve coordination between the various programme and campaign strategies seeking to achieve change. In this sense, the report should be central to the design of country campaigns, and a tool for collaboration between feminist and women’s organizations, young people and Oxfam.

https://oxfamilibrary.openrepository.com/bitstream/handle/10546/620524/rr-breaking-the-mould-250718-summ-en.pdf;jsessionid=C0B9203D92B240B38BE44DEFB762EC55?sequence=3
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Friday, August 10, 2018

Violence against women: a violation of human rights



In Latin America and the Caribbean, 1831 women died at the hands of men in 2016, and three out of ten women have suffered male violence during their lives.1 In recent years, countries in the region have made significant progress in tackling the problem by adopting national laws to protect women. Today, 16 Latin American and Caribbean countries have laws in place punishing violence against women, and 15 have incorporated feminicide/femicide as a specific crime. 

This legislative progress is a significant step forward. But gaps in implementation allow a culture of impunity for men who commit violence against women and girls. Without adequate financing and effective means to prevent, report and punish violence against women, the problem will not go away. 
Male violence must be prevented and eradicated. To do this, one of the main challenges is to change the harmful belief systems and gender norms that are used to justify violence against women. It also means recognizing that beliefs and behaviours built on a patriarchal system that is also sexist and racist are part of the structural causes of inequality that feed violence against women. 

This report provides insights into the prevalence of belief systems and gender norms among 
young women and men in the region. It looks in depth at the most entrenched beliefs and behaviours among the younger population and provides ample evidence that we must challenge and change the prevailing belief systems and gender norms if we are to make real progress in guaranteeing the right of all women and girls to a life free from violence.

The results of our research are alarming. In our sample across eight countries, 56 percent of men and 48 percent of women aged 20–25 know a female friend who has endured male violence in the past 12 months – a clear indication that this problem is rife. Moreover, six out of ten young people believe that women do not escape violent relationships because the man threatens to kill them. Five out of ten women consider that violence against women is normal. 

So, is it normal? 
The perception that male violence against women is normal is one of the key problems in tackling the issue. The normalization of violence pervades our discourse, our conversations, the way we relate to others, and also the sources of mass knowledge and public policies. This normalization is fuelled by beliefs and behaviours that are deeply engrained, not only among young people in their families and social circles, but also within public institutions – beliefs and behaviours that are reinforced through daily practices. 

Male violence has become normalized to the extent that 86 percent of young women and men in the region would not interfere if a male friend hit their female partner, and 25 percent consider that their friends would not do anything if an assault occurs in a public space such as the street, a park or a disco. The situation in Nicaragua is alarming, with four out of ten young men reporting that they know a friend who hits his female partner. In the Dominican Republic, three out of ten young people state that their male friends hit their female partner. 
Although 84 percent of young women and men believe that violence against women is a product of inequalities, they believe that solving the problem is not up to them. Two-thirds (67 percent) believe that the state should be responsible for reducing the consequences of male violence.

‘Women get used to being beaten and defend their aggressors… So it is best not to get involved.’ (Man, focus group, Bolivia) 

This indifference in the face of violence is all the more worrying if we consider that almost 62 percent of young men (15 to 19)  in the region justify sexual violence due to men having drunk too much alcohol, while 72 percent blame women because of the clothes they wear. 
As for sexuality, there is also a highly normalized belief system regarding pleasure and sexual desire, with 87 percent of young men and women aged 15–25 believing that men have greater sexual desire than women. This portrays women as incapable of feeling either desire or pleasure, and firmly establishes their enjoyment as secondary to a man’s desires. 

Moreover, a very high percentage of young people also deny women’s right to make decisions about their own bodies: 72 percent of young people aged 15–25. Likewise, 77 percent of young women and men agree that all women should be mothers. In Bolivia, for example, we found that 61 percent of men aged 20–25 believe that when a mother works outside the home, the children suffer abandonment.

‘I think every woman is a mother, even if she doesn’t have any children.’ (Woman, focus group, Cuba)

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Thursday, August 9, 2018

International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples



There are an estimated 370 million indigenous people in the world, living across 90 countries. They make up less than 5 per cent of the world's population, but account for 15 per cent of the poorest. They speak an overwhelming majority of the world’s estimated 7,000 languages and represent 5,000 different cultures.

Indigenous peoples are inheritors and practitioners of unique cultures and ways of relating to people and the environment. They have retained social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live. Despite their cultural differences, indigenous peoples from around the world share common problems related to the protection of their rights as distinct peoples.

Indigenous peoples have sought recognition of their identities, way of life and their right to traditional lands, territories and natural resources for years, yet throughout history their rights have always been violated. Indigenous peoples today, are arguably among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of people in the world. The international community now recognizes that special measures are required to protect their rights and maintain their distinct cultures and way of life.

As a result of loss of their lands, territories and resources due to development and other pressures, many indigenous peoples migrate to urban areas in search of better prospects of life, education and employment. They also migrate between countries to escape conflict, persecution and climate change impacts. Despite the widespread assumption that indigenous peoples live overwhelmingly in rural territories, urban areas are now home to a significant proportion of indigenous populations. In Latin America, around 40 per cent of all indigenous peoples live in urban areas — even 80 per cent in some countries of the region. In most cases, indigenous peoples who migrate find better employment opportunities and improve their economic situation but alienate themselves from their traditional lands and customs. Additionally, indigenous migrants face a myriad of challenges, including lack of access to public services and additional layers of discrimination.

The 2018 theme will focus on the current situation of indigenous territories, the root causes of migration, trans-border movement and displacement, with a specific focus on indigenous peoples living in urban areas and across international borders. The observance will explore the challenges and ways forward to revitalize indigenous peoples’ identities and encourage the protection of their rights in or outside their traditional territories.

The observance of the International Day will take place on Thursday 9 August 2018 from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm in the ECOSOC Chamber at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The programme can be found in Events. More information in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) page.


International Year of Indigenous Languages

Languages play a crucially important role in the daily lives of all peoples, are pivotal in the areas of human rights protection, peace building and sustainable development, through ensuring cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue. However, despite their immense value, languages around the world continue to disappear at an alarming rate due to a variety of factors. Many of them are indigenous languages.

Indigenous languages in particular are a significant factor in a wide range of other indigenous issues, notably education, scientific and technological development, biosphere and the environment, freedom of expression, employment and social inclusion.

In response to these threats, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a Resolution (A/RES/71/178) on ‘Rights of Indigenous Peoples’, proclaiming 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages.
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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR empower and to prevent radicalisation on women


It is a common misconception that women, solely based on their gender, form a homogenous group. They do not. And neither do the women and girls supporting ISIS/Da’esh. Research shows the women who joined ISIS/Da’esh have different socio-demographic profiles and background stories. Their motivations range from a quest for belonging, the aspiration to help build a utopian Islamic state, to belong to something bigger and divine and a (perceived) moral duty to support their Muslim brothers and sisters, to a sense of adventure, the prospect of marriage, or a combination thereof. Another misconception is that female radicalisation can be explained as a single-causal process, predominantly fed by emotional or personal factors. It has long been acknowledged that radicalisation is a complex, multi-causal phenomenon. Understanding and responding to female radicalisation requires the same multi-layered approach. In addition, where men are mostly considered active players in their radicalisation, women are reduced to passive actors. Their radicalisation is perceived as a situation that happens to them, rather than a process they are a part of. These gendermisconceptions hinder an adequate response to the phenomenon of female radicalisation. Any serious attempt to prevent or counter female radicalisation must acknowledge the diversity of women and should avoid generalisations and oversimplifications.  In addition, gender misconceptions and gender stereotypes affect the space for women to contribute to PVE/CVE programmes and related initiatives. Often, women are included in these programmes as mothers, sisters and wives, based on their supposed ideal position to signal early warning signs of radicalisation. While women can be valuable assets in prevention and intervention programmes in this capacity, it reinforces gender stereotypes and ignores women’s capabilities to contribute in many other areas. Different studies and experts point out that women can play a vital role as policy shapers, educators, community members and activists.  

Recommendations for policy-makers on including women in their programming: 

 Facilitate and stimulate local, grassroots initiatives. In general, it has been acknowledged that bottom-up prevention efforts are more effective than top-down approaches. Local, grassroots initiatives are aware of the situation in their communities and enjoy the trust of the communities they are part of. Therefore, such initiatives are often better positioned to identify community grievances, making them potential key-partners in (drawing up) effective prevention programmes. On the other hand, local initiatives can benefit from existing (academic) expertise on radicalisation. An alliance between local initiatives and government institutions optimises prevention efforts;   
 Avoid demonising specific groups. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) has three suggestions how to accomplish this. First, the focus of prevention efforts should have a multi-ethnic approach rather than engaging with specific ethnoreligious groups to avoid labelling. Second, prevention efforts should strictly be led by civil society organisations, with no connection to security or intelligence operations. Security-led interventions should be reserved for countering initiatives. The specific  relevance of this is also underscored in the UK case study, where it is explained how the government-led PREVENT initiative received criticism for singling out Muslim communities and was even accused of spying on Muslim citizens. Third, prevention programmes are more effective if they have an objective that is wider than solely countering or preventing violent extremism. A focus on building strong, inclusive and resilient communities and addressing issues that concern them helps create a solid base of support for the programme;  
 Offer training to all professionals working with Islamist radicalised women and girls. Radicalisation is a complex phenomenon. All professionals dealing with radicalised Islamist women and girls should be aware of the multifaceted dynamics of (female) radicalisation, how to best approach radicalised females and their families, and how to offer support and counselling. Training should take place in the form of case studies and speaking directly with experts who have dealt with multiple cases. There should be a helpline for all working with extremists so they can discuss difficult cases with experts and make correct decisions; 
 Stimulate and facilitate cooperation between existing initiatives in an (online) support network. Organisations from different European Member States working on preventing female radicalisation can learn from each other’s experiences. However, social infrastructure often differs between Member States. Therefore, it is not always possible to transfer successful approaches. It is possible to learn from successes but they cannot necessarily be transferred;  
 Encourage women to partake in prevention efforts. Women can be valuable contributors to PVE/CVE efforts as mentors, community organisers, intervention officers, mothers, sisters, policy advisors, educators and health care professionals. Policies and programming should encourage women, provide them with the necessary space, and offer (additional) training to support them in their efforts; 
 Safeguard the quality of prevention and intervention programming. The number of organisations working on prevention and intervention has rapidly increased. In order to safeguard the quality of such programmes, it is vital to ask questions such as: is the programme substantiated by academic findings? Is it evaluated? Is it registered? These questions need to be seriously examined in order to ensure the target group is offered the correct and most appropriate support. 

Recommendations and considerations for prevention and intervention programmes aimed at women: 

 Target female specific push and pull factors that put women at risk of radicalisation and recruitment. ISIS/Da’esh has produced a highly-gendered narrative in which women are offered alternative concepts of freedom and empowerment, based on Islamic virtues. In this narrative, Western feminism is portrayed as imperialist and exclusively advantageous for white women, leaving little to no room for Islamic women and their values. ISIS/Da’esh promises women the opportunity to free themselves from the superficial and materialistic principles that are imposed on them by the West and to reclaim their true identity as intended by God. By stating that women are the hope of the Ummah, ISIS/Da’esh feeds this rhetoric and promises women perspective, meaning and self-worth. This propaganda    message, which resonates with different women and girls, suggests that a search for belonging and for meaning in life is important driving factors in the radicalisation of different women and girls. Prevention and intervention efforts should incorporate this in their programming;  
 Address female specific vulnerabilities that can increase the exposure of women and girls to radicalisation. A Dutch practitioner argues for example that girls in search of answers about their sexuality within Islam have an increased risk of being targeted by recruiters, especially if such issues are not addressed within the family sphere. Programming aimed at answering such questions and raising awareness among parents about this increased exposure could help obviate this vulnerability; 
 Recognise female specific enabling factors. Research shows that women and girls experience different enabling factors in their radicalisation than their male counterparts. A study by Pearson and Winterbotham reports for example that Islamist women, due to their choice of attire, have an increased risk of experiencing discrimination, which can cause feelings of exclusion. This could spiral into an increased vulnerability to radicalisation. Prevention and interventionist strategies and programmes aiming at identity and resilience should take this gender difference into account; 
 Account for female specific issues in intervention and reintegration programming. In line with findings of the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN), intervention efforts should be tailor-made, meeting the requirements of each specific individual. In general, such an approach will include individual coaching, family support and psychological and religious counselling. RAN raises awareness that quite often, women and girls who have joined or attempted to join ISIS/Da’esh have troubled family relationships and histories of abuse and/or sexual violence. In addition, in the case of women or girls returning to their families, issues including those related to honour and shame need to be addressed. In those cases, RAN recommends a risk assessment to establish whether it is safe for those women or girls to return home;  
 Raise awareness of women’s increased exposure to online recruitment and of female specific online recruitment tactics. It is generally agreed that the internet can play a crucial enabling factor in radicalisation processes. Studies suggest Islamic women and girls experience an increased vulnerability to online radicalisation, as traditional gender norms and gender expectations affect how women engage in the public sphere. Consequently, it is important to raise awareness of recruitment tactics used on social media and how to respond in an early stage, for example through education; 
 Make use of the opportunity that the Internet can provide. The internet can be an important tool to spread counter-narratives and to tackle radicalisation by deploying the same tactic as recruiters. Effective counter-narratives require addressing female specific issues. In addition, programmes exist that can help identify women and girls searching for answers online. An operative can reach out to these    women and eventually invite them to a closed network where she/he can attempt to move the woman or girl away from extremist messaging. 




IPOL_STU(2017)596838_EN.pdf

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Monday, August 6, 2018

Good practice initiatives to prevent radicalisation



National programmes 

PEN-LCRV - National Strategic Plan to Fight against Violent Radicalisation (Ministry of the Interior, 2015)391 Considering violent radicalisation as one the greatest security threats to Spain, the National Strategic Plan to Fight against Violent Radicalisation is a nationwide coordinated plan to detect and neutralise all sources of violent radicalisation. The Integral Strategy against Terrorism and Radicalisation (Ministry of the Interior, 2015) is part of the national PEN-LCRV strategy, and also includes an international mandate, as its activities are framed within the European Union programme for the fight against radicalism (2005). Stop radicalism (Ministry of the Interior, 2015) is also included in the PEN-LCRV. It brings together twelve ministries in the task of preventing radicalisation. The goal is to empower local community institutions and individuals who have direct contact with local residents.   

New Programme for the Prevention of Radicalisation in the Penitentiary System  Penitentiary systems are also included in the Spanish programme of fighting against radicalism. The programme takes preventive measures and timely actions to detect processes of radicalisation. 


  
                
Local Programmes 

Strong Cities Network  Malaga has a local strategic plan to help families dealing with the possible spectrum of radicalisation. As part of the international Strong Cities Network, the city is running a pilot project with a multidisciplinary team focusing on youth. The main areas of intervention are prevention, institutional cooperation, training, promotion of gender equality, facilitation of interreligious contacts and digital media communication. Furthermore, they have an online area of intervention to counter online radicalisation, and in particular online jihadist recruitment aimed at young people. In order to carry this out, they have enrolled young Muslims as online leaders to engage positively and disseminate peaceful messages.  

Islamic Radicalisation Detection Procedures (PRODERAI)394 Catalonia has its own local plan of intervention that is organised by the local police, Mossos d’Esquadra, and focuses on working with the local school system. 

Preter-IS395  The programme is a private initiative of the Camilo José Cela University, in Madrid, aiming to detect patterns of behaviour within different processes of radicalisation. It involves the cities of Madrid, Barcelona and Ceuta and Melilla due to the high incidence of cases of radicalisation in those places.  

IPOL_STU(2017)596838_EN.pdf
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Saturday, August 4, 2018

Good practice initiatives to prevent radicalisation and violent extremism – focus on women


Good practice initiatives in preventing radicalisation in the UK have come in the form of supporting voluntary organisations who work at grassroots level with people who are the most vulnerable in society, for example initiatives like Inspire, WARN (Women Against Radicalisation Network), and the Henna Foundation. There are numerous such organisations that exist around the UK and many were established decades ago addressing problematic cultural issues that particularly affected women in Asian communities, like forced marriages, honour killings, and domestic violence. In 2008 the Labour Government brought together women leaders of such groups under the National Muslim Women’s Advisery Group (NMWAG). They sought the advice of these women as they knew their communities well and had credibility within them. The Labour Government at the time sponsored three main initiatives that addressed theological issues and women, one that empowered women in the form of promoting role models, and lastly one that increased civil participation.430 In general the work was received well by women in their communities but the most powerful by product of this initiative was bringing together strong, active, and credible Muslim women who were able to share best practices and support one another in their work. Even after the NMWAG was disbanded in 2011 by the coalition government many remain in contact today and they continue to work and support one another as they face similar challenges in their work. Women who head these groups are criticised as they speak openly about difficult issues within their communities. Their actions have been construed as encouraging Islamaphobia and have caused some factions within their communities to become quite defensive. Inspire and WARN both were created specifically to address the problem of radicalisation and Islamist extremism. Perhaps because of this they are more heavily criticised than some of the other older Muslim women’s organisations. However this does not deter the founders as they are highly motivated to rid their community of extremism and hate. Inspire organised a “Road Show” where they toured the UK with their message against extremism and spoke about actions women could take against radicalisation and on advice on how they could protect their children. They held workshops and talks creating awareness. They raised the difficult subjects that were generally not spoken about within many Muslim communities and really aimed to put these women into the picture, making sure they were equipped to defend themselves and their children against extremist recruiters. WARN also do similar work in the form of workshops stating on their website, “Our workshop teaches mothers to know what’s what and how to spot the signs of radicalisation. It walks them through the simple steps they need to make sure their children stay safe online.” These organisations are doing great work within their communities and there is a great possibility that the decrease in numbers of young women wanting to join ISIS/Da'esh can be attributed to some of their work within schools and communities.   

A fundamental part of good practice is to be transparent and for all those working with   individuals and communities to gain the trust of those who may be susceptible to radical views. This also includes all Government institutions, such as the Police, Education, Healthcare and Social Care. The multi-agency approach has worked exceptionally well in the UK and has successfully addressed the needs of hundreds of individuals who have been at risk of radicalisation or who have actually held radical views. This is largely to do with the afore mentioned PREVENT strategy and the UK Channel initiatives. The key to the success of Channel is information sharing and for all parties to be on the same page when addressing  each individual case. The cases that come through Channel need to be understood by all parties involved so that the best possible actions can be taken for each person. If information is not relayed effectively there is a greater chance for people to slip through the net, or escalate issues which could lead to problems. On the other hand, although multi agency approaches with regular face to face meetings are essential when dealing with cases, what has also tended to occur is a type of “professional help overload.” This is where the individual is in connection with an excessive number of agencies and professionals. In one case, an individual had around 10 people they needed to keep regular meetings with and it became quite suffocating for them. They began to resent the amount of time taken up by the meetings and did not find any of them useful to her. What was decided at the Channel Panel, in this case, was to cut back some of the services the individual felt they did not need and to keep the ones she engaged with the best. 

Training all frontline Government workers so that they understand the complexities of the issues surrounding radicalisation and can address any problems that may occur, is an essential best practice. In the UK, WRAP (Workshops to Raise Awareness of PREVENT) training is offered to all those working in front line services so that they have adequate knowledge of extremism and radicalisation. However, although WRAP training gives a good introduction, it is important for training to be ongoing and background reading needs to be kept up by individuals who work in the area. Best practice would include a means of support for individuals dealing with cases, especially those who feel unsure of how to deal with a radicalised person. There should be a helpline for professionals of some sort and an accessible and easy to understand handbook for frontline workers so they are helped to make the right decisions.  

Dealing directly with an individual’s radical views is something that needs to be dealt with in a sensitive manner, in the UK this is the role of the UK Channel Intervention Provider (IP). An IP saying the wrong thing or acting in a way that can aggravate the individual can be catastrophic. Professional IPs who have the responsibility of talking to radicalised individuals are all well trained and have in-depth understanding of radical views. They need to have the ability to counter arguments and be familiar with extremist rhetoric, in order to be most effective. Each individual referred onto Channel will have a particular drive and this will need to be addressed in a non-combative way. Anita Nayyar is an IP who uses her Psychology background to employ Freud’s “Free Association” technique where she will allow her clients to speak freely and openly on subjects using prompts to encourage speech. This allows the individual to feel comfortable and say what is on their minds leaving the IP with a clear understanding of their needs and to then specifically address them. She gave the example where one client spoke about the fact they had a very limited network of friends. The IP then arranged for them to meet people in her local area with whom she could meet on a regular basis. Offering the correct support for individuals will give the individual a sense of genuinely being helped this will then increase the chance of them remaining on the programme and engaging for as long as the IP deems fit. A large function of the IP is not only to engage in counter narratives with an individual but to support and mentor them. Often IPs are referred to as mentors and this may be a more apt definition for IPs depending on the case in hand. Under some circumstances where the individual is not radicalised but is categorised only as vulnerable to radicalisation, the IP must get to know their client and provide them with solutions to specific problems they may be having. For example, it is not uncommon for IPs to help their clients filling out CVs to find a new jobs or filling out forms for college to embark on a course. To ensure an individual feels hopeful and supported is a major part of an IPs job description as this helps to eradicate susceptibility to radicalisation.

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Thursday, August 2, 2018

Making Sense of Child Marriage among Syrian Refugees in Lebanon


Although comprehensive engagement at the community level is required for meaningful and sustained progress towards addressing child marriage, our analysis suggests that it may be more effective to tailor strategies in a more nuanced and gendered approach.

Child Marriage and Education It is critical to highlight the importance of education as a means to prevent child marriage, especially in humanitarian contexts. Programming after displacement should focus on educational/ awareness campaigns targeting girls and their families from the onset of the response as means to prevent child marriage. For example, campaigns could provide information about different portals that allow refugees to register their children in formal education programs. It is also important that education for girls be framed as a way of increasing future financial stability not only for the girls themselves, but also for their families since our findings suggest that this might resonate more with fathers.

In cases where access and retention in formal education is not possible, programming should also consider non-formal educational options that are context specific and relevant to the specific needs of girls. These can be mainstreamed within or linked to activities provided in women and girls safe space centers as presented in the below section. 

Child Marriage and Protection & Security Protection and security concerns were a key issue across all participant groups. Increased security for women and girls could include the development of sustainable safe space centers, particularly in targeted areas with high rates of child marriage. The centers should provide a safe space for girls to attend a varied range of activities including awareness-raising sessions on topics related to child marriage, psychosocial support, and life skills building. These types of sessions address issues that are key building blocks to girls‘ empowerment. 
Protection and security were also discussed in relation to other factors such as safe access to education and girls’ freedom of movement. Intersectoral efforts to develop joint strategies addressing the unique safety/security concerns in respective communities is urgently required. 
Child Marriage and Financial Resources  Aside from education, creating opportunities for Syrian community members (both women and men) to engage in vocational training and technical skills programs is needed. Such programs are important for building capacity, peer engagement, and creating a sense of belonging, while also providing an opportunity to generate income. As a means to prevent child marriage, such activities should be tailored for both fathers and mothers of underage girls. In addressing gender inequalities, it is vital that economic empowerment not be limited to just men despite the social pressure for men to financially provide for the family. Ideally, age-appropriate economic empowerment activities would also target young girls, thus contributing towards financial independence. 

Comprehensive Interventions with Married Girls Additional holistic interventions should be tailored to support girls who are already married, noting that such programming is often limited by an inadequate understanding of their needs. Programs should be based on evidence that is derived from regular consultations with the girls, thereby increasing their willingness and commitment to access activities and services. Suggested interventions may include: age-appropriate family planning education and services, age-appropriate legal services, accessible consultation for marriage registration, and registration of new births and divorce. Holistic GBV services should also be provided, including case management, sheltering, and psychosocial support.
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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

RURAL OLDER WOMEN/WIDOWS - BEYOND POVERTY AND VIOLENCE



UN Secretary-General in his Message on International Women’s Day 2018, said ‘Women’s empowerment is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  Investing in women is the most effective way to lift communities and even countries. Women’s participation makes peace agreements stronger, societies more resilient and economies more vigorous.’

But it is evident that in the Asian economy in both urban and rural areas, women are fewer both in the formal and informal employment sectors. Women also tend to be paid less than men for the same work or work of equal value. Moreover, gender-based discrimination in employment throughout their life has a cumulative impact in old age, forcing older women and widows to face disproportionately lower incomes and pensions, or even no pension, compared with men.

Population remains predominantly rural in most of the Asian and African regions and   majority of them are women including older women and disabled women.

In Bangladesh rural women/widows play a significantly important role towards bringing change in the social fabric and achieving self sustained economy through the use of micro finance and micro entrepreneurship mechanism. But limited access to credit, health care, education and gender based violence are among the many challenges they face in their day to day life. Empowering them is essential, not only for the well-being of rural communities, but also for overall economic productivity, given women’s large presence in the agricultural workforce. 

It is also true that many older women/ widow provide care for the family of their migrant children, or sometimes the sole caregivers of their dependent young children, spouses or elderly parents or relatives. The financial and emotional cost of this unpaid work and support are rarely recognised. Women’s unpaid work at home or in the agricultural sector also needs to be recognised and valued.

There are four occupational groups of informal workers, such as, domestic workers, home-based workers, street vendors and waste pickers, which may be defined as the most important pattern and source of income for poor rural women, older women and widows of all ages.  Domestic workers who are mostly rural poor women, who   provide essential services, such as cleaning, cooking, childcare and gardening in other peoples' homes.  But they are mostly excluded from social security schemes and collective bargaining processes in many countries and the regulatory framework for domestic workers in most countries fails to provide sufficient workplace protection.

Home-based workers, mostly micro entrepreneurs, produce goods or services for the market from within or around their homes. Home-based work represents a significant share of rural and urban employment, especially for women, in many countries.  Income of these workers  provide crucial support to their households, although they face a range of vulnerabilities, including: inadequate market facilities, instability and insecurity of work, unsafe working conditions, low earnings and lack of collateral free loan facilities.

To accommodate more rural women and widows in the workforce, appropriate fiscal measures, budget allocation, proper planning and gender based policies are necessary. Such as, access to discrimination and barriers free    training and credit facilities ,  access to land and  inheritances, markets and seed money, which  need to make  available to them .  Besides,  Part- time work and  flexible  retirement age may be introduced  and   wage-pay-gap need to be reduced ,  so as to protect women’s  as well as older women’s rights to continue  their work as  they wish to and to accumulate pension benefits, where applicable, at par with men.

Balancing work and family responsibilities, sharing domestic work, technology based job opportunities, where physical labour is less required and above all violence and discrimination free environment at home and at work are important for larger participation of women in the workforce.

In most of the Asian society older people are unable to work due to vision problem. Low cost cataract operation could bring them back to the workforce again and thus help them to maintain their dignity and economic sustainability.

The increasing demand for care services has been driven by the changing demographics, which needs a clear and appropriate policy support. The soonest the Governments of receiving countries realize these reality and act accordingly will be helpful to maintain workforce in this sector. Bangladesh has witnessed a substantial increase in female employment in labour-intensive export-oriented industries, namely the readymade garment sector after 1990.


Composition, quality and participation of work force depend on the socio economic and cultural background of the country, gender and poverty line distribution of work force , their skills and educational background and above all  on the interaction of demand and supply side of labour force. However, challenges relating to different wages based on gender and other aspects of compliance with labour standards, e.g., working hours, safety and health in the work place, collective bargaining and child care facilities still remain as a barrier.


Under employment and unemployment among young people and older people, both men and women are very common due to lack of job opportunities or lack of skills, training, experiences and stereotyped attitude towards age and gender.


Fiscal choices for the investment in skill building, training and technological advancement and collateral free microcredit is necessary for the augmentation of the shrinking workforce.  There is a   rapid expansion of micro-finance in rural areas in the Asian society, supported women’s employment in poultry and livestock sector.

As for example, in rural Bangladesh and in many other Asian countries the traditional birth attendants (TBAs) are still active, who perform almost 88% of deliveries, which occur at home.


These TBAs are mostly older women.  They may be trained as skilled birth attendants for safe delivery and   quality of care in pregnancy and childbirth for women and could fulfil the need for low cost medical service delivery to pregnant women at their door steps in rural areas. This policy measures could also help older women to maintain their profession.


The role of migration to address perceived imbalances in population structures brought about by population ageing, which arises from declining fertility and mortality   is very important in the ageing Asian society.


To compensate the short fall of labour, many Asian countries are welcoming migrant work force. But unfortunately most of the receiving countries do not have appropriate laws or bilateral agreements with the sending countries to safeguard safety, security and human rights of migrant labour. Women migrant workers mostly fall victim of gender based violence during transit or in the destination country.


As for example, the increasing demand for social care services and the cost of providing these services has over the years prompted a series of political and policy debates as the migrant work force in this sector are predominantly women and migrant women ; who are low paid with low status and not protected by domestic legal support. In the USA and Western part of the world, as the demand for long-term care continues to grow, the societies are facing a shortage of care workers.  The role of care giving in these countries has increasingly been filled by immigrants.  But present hard-line on immigration of these Governments, may create difficulty and imbalance in this sector.


Many Sri Lankan, Filipino, or Bangladeshi women migrant workers who provide care services face difficulties in the destination countries.


Fiscal measures and coordinated policy adaptations and informed choices by the Governments and society based on life course approach and free from age and gender based discrimination may help to maintain a steady and productive workforce size for the continuous development of the country, which may also ensure stability and social inclusiveness for all ages in the ageing Asian society. Governments also need to create job opportunities for older workers as projected significant   increase of older population  in the economy and  society, older workers both men and women will make up an increasingly sizable part of the labour force.


 PROGRAMS/POLICIES CSW62 PARALLEL EVENT 2018
Ferdous Ara Begum


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Sunday, July 29, 2018

A readers’ guide to the report


This first edition of the global monitoring report:
 ● Provides an overview of the follow-up and review process, showing how accountability for gender equality commitments can be strengthened at the global, regional and national levels. 
 ● Explains the global indicators framework and the key statistical challenges for monitoring progress from a gender perspective. 
 ● Reviews starting points and preliminary trends at the global and regional levels across a range of gender-specific indicators for all 17 SDGs. 
 ● Proposes a survey-based strategy for identifying groups of women and girls who experience multiple forms of discrimination and deprivation in diverse national contexts. 
 ● Offers concrete guidance on how to achieve and finance progress in two critical areas under SDG 5: 
eliminating violence against women and girls; and recognizing and redistributing unpaid care and domestic work. 
Future editions will build on this framework by providing updates on global and regional progress on key indicators, extending policy guidance to other areas and analysing the dynamics of national implementation through in-depth country case studies. Over time, it is hoped that the reports will build a robust body of evidence on the impact of the 2030 Agenda on gender equality policies, processes and outcomes. 
Chapter 1 discusses the challenges and prospects for achieving the SDGs. It explains the report’s monitoring framework and analyses potential mechanisms for enhancing accountability for gender equality in the follow-up and review process that has been established to track progress at the national, regional and global levels. 
Chapter 2 provides an analysis of the global indicators framework from a gender perspective, identifying 54 official indicators directly relevant to monitoring outcomes for women and girls. In this chapter, readers will find a succinct discussion of the challenges that the global statistical community needs to address to effectively and comprehensively monitor progress on gender equality.
Chapter 3 provides a snapshot of gender equality across all the 17 SDGs, providing evidence of how gender equality matters for each and every one of them. It presents global and regional averages for gender-specific indicators that can serve as baselines for future reporting and highlights the interlinkages between SDG 5 and other goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda.
Chapter 4 provides powerful evidence of how multiple forms of discrimination—including those based on sex, age, class, ability, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or migration status—can compound each other to create pockets of deprivation, often in stark contrast to the average trend in a given country. 
Chapters 5 and 6 focus on two strategic areas under SDG 5: eliminating violence against women and girls (Target 5.2); and unpaid care and domestic work (Target 5.4). Both chapters provide powerful evidence for the interlinkages between these gender equality targets and other parts of the 2030 Agenda, underlining the need to break down policy silos and move towards integrated strategies for implementation. They also provide concrete examples of how policies and programmes can be aligned with the principles of the 2030 Agenda, including universality, human rights and leaving no one behind. 
The two chapters are followed by a short section that provides guidance on how to determine the costs and finance the implementation of genderresponsive policies and programmes under the 2030 Agenda.
Each chapter includes a detailed list of recommendations as well as select monitoring questions that invite readers to reflect on progress, gaps and challenges in their own specific contexts. 
The final section of the report, Moving Forward, is a summary of strategies for strengthening gender-responsive implementation, monitoring and accountability at the national, regional and global levels for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

For ease of reference, the chapters in the report are grouped and colour-coded in line with the strategies for gender-responsive implementation proposed by the report: processes and institutions (Chapter 1, green); data, statistics and analysis (Chapters 2, 3 and 4, blue); and investments, policies and programmes (Chapters 5 and 6, orange).






SDG-report-Gender-equality-in-the-2030-Agenda-for-Sustainable-Development-2018-en.pdf
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Friday, July 27, 2018

Urgent action is needed to:

1)Guarantee women’s access to and enjoyment of decent work
Governments and international institutions should:
•Adhere to globally agreed human and labour rights standards by introducing and implementing legislation and policies that guarantee and promote women’s access to decent and safe employment, whether formal or informal sector. This should include a living wage, secure contracts, access to social protection (such as parental and sick leave, and unemployment benefits), women’s right to organise and access to remedy, equal pay for work of equal value, equal opportunities and non-discrimination in the workplace.

•Eliminate al laws that discriminate against women and inhibit their economic equality.
•Develop and implement binding international and national regulations, policies and mechanisms that require companies’ full compliance with international human rights standards throughout their supply chains, including taking responsibility and being held accountable when violations occur, and guaranteeing access to remedy.

Businesses should:
•Abideby ILO decent work standards and conventions, as well as in-country legislation, and support new and implement existing standards and regulations.
•Undertake rigorous gender-sensitive human rights due diligence throughout supply chains.
•Enter into collective bargaining and social dialogue with unions and workers’ organisations, including when ensuring access to remedy where rights violations occur.

2) Recognise, reduce and redistribute unpaid care responsibilities that fall disproportionately on women
Governments and international Institutions should:
• Recognise the contribution of unpaid care work to the economy and invest in infrastructure, time-saving technologies and quality public services such as childcare, care for the elderly, and healthcare.
•Institute family-friendly policies that promote women’s opportunities to access and enjoy decent work, and enable women and men to balance work with their caring responsibilities.

Businesses should:
•Guarantee paid maternity and paternity and medical leave, alongside flexible working hours, and support the provision of childcare services for workers with caregiving responsibilities.

3)Ensure that the economy works for women, not against them, and end the pursuit of growth at any cost
Governments and international Institutions should:
•Systematically review the impact of macroeconomic and fiscal policies on women and implement policies to redress inequality in women’s work, alongside challenging discriminatory social norms and gender stereotyping that underpins this.
•Design progressive tax regimes and institute gender- responsive budgeting that enhance women’s economic rights, their productivity and access to public services and commodities, while redressing discrimination and inequality.
• Prioritise and increase funding for driving gender equality – including funding to support feminist and women’s rights organisations – and for achieving women’s full economic equality.

4)Promote women’s voice, agency and leadership at all levels
Governments and international Institutions should:
•Promote women’s leadership, voice and agency at all levels, from household to international spheres, including through engaging with trade unions, civil society and feminist organisations in economic policy making processes and spaces, such as in national development planning, meetings of the international Financial i nstitutions, G20, or the World economic Forum in d avos.

Businesses should:
•Ensure that women workers and their voices are equally and meaningfully represented at all levels of decision-making.
•Support and invest in women entrepreneurs and invest in training and promotional activities.
•Develop transformational approaches to core business activities that ensure respect for women’s rights and bring down the barriers that women face in the economy.
Civil society organisations and trade unions should:
•Support poor women’s collective organisation and give them a platform to raise their concerns and demands to decision makers at all levels.
•Hold governments and businesses accountable for their commitments to deliver on women’s rights and women’s economic equality.
•Engage in policy dialogue to promote alternatives to the current unsustainable economic model and pursue rights-based alternatives that work for all, especially poor women and men.

5)Ensure that ending women’s economic inequality is high on the agenda of the new Sustainable Development Goals
All development partners should:
• Support a strong, stand-alone gender equality and women’s rights goal with targets on redistribution of women’s unpaid care work, control over economic resources and assets, and women’s full and equal participation at all levels of decision making
• Support an ambitious goal on full and productive employment and decent work, alongside targets to ensure living wage and equal pay for work of equal value
•Agree to the goal on reducing inequality within and among countries, and formulate ambitious strategies to implement and finance all Sustainable development Goals.

in the January 2015 www.actionaid.org.uk
http://www.actionaid.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/womens_rights_on-line_version_2.1.pdf
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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Presidential elections in Turkey, a feminist perspective


The need for greater respect for women´s rights is becoming an ever more essential feature in most countries as women continue to be viewed as less capable and less proficient in everything than men. 
Similar to various countries’ elections this year, Turkey’s political parties did not fall behind in the race to attract women and their votes. The June 24th, 2018 election manifestos of the majority of the parties aimed to address issues related to gender equality and particularly in economic and educational areas. The Justice and Development Party (AKP), Republican People’s Party (CHP), Good Party (İP), Islamist Felicity Party, People’s Democratic Party (HDP) raised notably the notion of women’s empowerment and the fight against violence against women. 

However, feminist activists approach these statements with skepticism, highlighting the parties´ and government´s continued tradition of instrumentalizing women’s rights for their own political purposes, using selective women’s rights to weaken political opponents and masking government’s disregard for the people’s demands of freedom and social justice. The EU governments have long been aware of violations of human rights in Turkey but they preserve their national interest, among others the pertaining of the shameful agreement between EU and Turkey on refugees passed in April 2016.  

It was promising to see that political parties have increased awareness on women´s rights, comparing to previous elections. The request for change and sustainable equality in most election manifestos was more persistent in Turkey this year. However, how words could turn into reality with President Erdogan when we know that women’s oppression can’t be dissociated from all forms of oppression, that gender equality can’t be reached without a democratic environment, that there are no women’s rights when a society is confronted by repression, protesters are put in jail or silenced. How to believe that patriarchy in Turkey would be toppled overnight, especially by a president who has a long historic background of denying basic human rights to people in his country?   
Following Sunday’s elections, the percentage of women in Turkey’s 600 seats parliament has increased from less than 15% to 17.1%, with a total of 103 seats occupied by women and 497 by men. However, this percentage remains very low, and it is useful to remind here that today in most countries around the world, the rate of women MPs does not exceed 30%. 


Euromed Feminist Initiative is persistently emphasizing the importance of women’s political participation and expresses full solidarity with all feminist civil society organizations and movements that work hard to advance women’s status in Turkey. The participation of women’s rights defenders in decision making positions is a condition to have women’s rights and interests addressed in policy making process. The Declaration of the Euro-Med Civil Society Conference, Euromed Feminist Initiative organized back to back the 4th UfM Ministerial meeting on women’s rights (Cairo, November 2017), urges for the adoption of proportional electoral systems, with binding gender quotas of a minimum 40% presence of either sex in electoral lists and governance bodies in order to help overcoming structural deficiencies in democracy. 

http://www.efi-ife.org/sites/default/files/Turkey%20elections.pdf
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