Season’s Greetings from UWE

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It’s been a year like no others, full of unprecedented challenges, most of our 2020 plans had to be changed and adapted overnight, new words like white year, zoom meetings, virtual General Assembly were put on our Agenda.

Hopefully, this year has brought out the best in us, we managed to stay together and thank you for being with us. KINDNESS and HOPE are not cancelled.

We wish you good Health, Love and Peace in the next year!

For the Board,

President Anne Nègre

Vice President Aisha Alshawaf

Treasurer Annelies Pierrot Bults

Vice President Pina Foti

Secretary General Roxana Elena Petrescu

Rise up against violence!

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Today marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (VAW) and the start of the 16 days of activism to end VAW. On this occasion, we join the call of European Women’s Lobby to sign the Rise Up against violence petition supported by WeMove Europe. We are urging the EU and all European countries to make Europe a safe place for all women and girls.


Why is this important?

Male violence against women and girls is a long-term systemic issue across Europe. It is the most pervasive violation of women’s human rights, rooted in our societies’ culture of sexism. It has life-long implications for women’s physical and mental health.

This is an emergency situation threatening the security and dignity of women’s lives that precedes the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. The situation has even worsened during the COVID pandemic: lockdown and isolation measures have created an enabling environment for abusers and have lead to more incidents of physical, psychological and sexual violence.

During this pandemic crisis, women victims/survivors of male violence have had less access to help and protection. They have faced further isolation which can have serious mental consequences, especially for women facing multiple forms of discrimination.

There can be no peace and security while women fear for their safety in their homes, workplaces and in public spaces across Europe.

What can we do?

Good laws can change whole societies, and the Council of Europe’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, known as the Istanbul Convention, is to date the most advanced legal framework to end violence against women and girls. It gives our states powerful binding tools to provide protection, prosecute perpetrators, and prevent different forms of violence that millions of women encounter every day 1.

The EU signed the Convention in 2017, but a signature is not enough – to be effective, the convention must be ratified and applied broadly. Unfortunately, for a few years now, the negotiations between the EU countries have been blocked.

Although all 27 EU Member States have signed the Istanbul Convention, six countries—Hungary, Czechia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Latvia and Lithuania—still haven’t ratified it. Moreover, in July 2020, the Polish government announced its intention to withdraw from the Convention. This is of great concern for all women in Europe who, now more than ever, need to see strong concerted EU action against male violence against women and girls.

We urge the EU and all European countries to adopt strong legislation to tackle all forms of violence against women and girls, including sexual exploitation and online violence, and to implement the standards of the Istanbul Convention.

We call on EU decision-makers to step up their efforts, in times of crisis and beyond, to ensure no women or girl is left behind and to disrupt the full continuum of violence against women and girls.

We also call on the EU to ensure adequate funding to address the emergency situation with regards to violence against women and girls, by ensuring that the Multi annual Financial Framework (MFF) and the New Generation EU fund provide adequate resources for women civil society organisations working on ending male VAWG and supporting its victims.

This year, despite the limitations, we will join the 16 days of activism once again to say loudly and firmly that women want to live a life free from violence and from the fear of it.

Raise your voice and join the almost 190,000 signers to our petition by signing it here.


Annual Report of the Italian Federation of Graduate Women

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FILDIS – Italian Federation of Graduate Women was established in Rome 98 years ago in 1922 under the Presidency of philosophy Isabella Grassi, whose Diaries (1920-21) edited by Fiorenza Taricone, were published in2000. Isabella firmly believed that personal commitment, even of breath international within associations “elevated women culturally, socially and spiritually”. It is present on the national territory with 12 local FILDIS sections. It suspended herself from 1935 to 1944 due to disagreements with the fascist government, to resume her journey in 1945 under the guidance of Prof. Libera Trevisani Levi Civita.

Since 1994, the Pavia section has edited the magazine “Storia donna”. For its 90th anniversary, the Foundation was awarded a special medal by the President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitanos a member of the Lazio Regional Women’s Council, the Equality Network, the CNDI and therefore of its Lazio Regional Coordination, collaborates with other women’s associations that also operate at national and international level and with the “Female Toponymy”. Association is included in the Permanent Workshop: “The Historical City from a Gender Point of View”

From 7 December 2019 the registered office is in Syracuse. We thus wish to mark a new and renewed beginning of our activities, all aimed at the social, cultural and professional promotion of women “above any question of race, language, religion or political opinion”, so that they can best express their talents.
The strengths of our actions are hospitality, solidarity and friendship, which allow us to continue to promote collaboration between women, graduates and not, from all over the world but also with women’s associations or social commitment that cooperate with African and / or Latin American countries, taking care of the formation of groups of volunteers.
We maintain systematic relationships with associations that are committed to the recognition of women in power management roles. Every year, by statute, we are committed to carrying out the FEDERAL COUNCIL – meeting of all the Presidents of the local sections and of the National Past Presidents. On this occasion we organize at least one conference which is held in turn in the cities where there is a local office.

Competitions, conferences and initiatives organized and / or sponsored and organized by FILDIS:

  • Seminar: “FILDIS in the field of national and international women”s associations at the Institution Libraries in Rome Via Aldrovandi 1 Rome – 25 October 2019
  • Conference: “Women”s associations for a gender culture and beyond” – Sala Zuccari – Palazzo Giustiniani – Senate of the Republic – 6 December 2019

On behalf of FILDIS,

Mariella Ubbriaco /  President

The Recommendation in support of the Istanbul Convetion adopted by the Conference of INGOs

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Conference of INGOs of the CoE
The Recommendation in support of the Istanbul Convention has been adopted by the Conference of INGOs on the October 15, 2020.
The Conference of INGOs participated in the drafting of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, which has been open for signature in Istanbul since 2011. The first signatory was Turkey. All CoE member states have signed it except Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation.
34 states have ratified it and they must continue to do so according to the clear and determined words of the Secretary General of the CoE during the plenary session of the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe.
Dr. Anne Bergheim- Negre, UWE President presented her argumentation as Gender Equality Expert, here you are the conclusions of her intervention in support of the Istanbul Convention: 
“Depending on the country, almost similar campaigns appear, but with different objectives: abortion, the referendum against marriage for all, education for equality, contraception, you can put whatever you want in it, migrants, Muslims, LGBT people. Strategies are beginning to emerge to influence national legislative developments in favour of women, to reverse the ratification of the Istanbul Convention 15 or to set in motion oppositions to prevent further ratifications, this legal instrument has become a target.
In this context where very pro-religious, very right-wing regimes have come to power, the States concerned are castigating the Istanbul Convention, the object of their wrath, even though yesterday these same States ratified it.  The Venice Commission explains these points clearly.
It is in this context that we have drafted the Recommendation in support of the Istanbul Convention, because the CoE Conference and its member INGOs support the Council of Europe texts, and the Council of Europe really deserves to be supported.

European Committee of Social Rights finds violations in 14 countries

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The European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) has found violations of the right to equal pay and the right to equal opportunities in the workplace in 14 out of 15 countries which apply the European Social Charter’s collective complaints procedureBelgiumBulgariaCroatiaCyprus, the Czech Republic,  Finland,  FranceGreeceIrelandItaly, the NetherlandsNorwayPortugal and Slovenia. Only Sweden was found to be compliant with the Charter.

“The gender pay gap is unacceptable in modern societies, yet it continues to be one of the main obstacles to achieving real equality. European governments must urgently step up efforts to ensure equal opportunities in the workplace. And more countries should use the Council of Europe’s Social Charter as one means of reaching that goal,” said Marija Pejčinović Burić, Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

Complaints to the ECSR, which monitors the implementation of the Charter, were lodged by the international NGO University Women of Europe (UWE). While the ECSR found that all 15 countries concerned had satisfactory legislation recognising the right to equal pay for equal work, it found various violations – bar Sweden – primarily due to insufficient progress in reducing the gender pay gap, but in some cases also due to lack of pay transparency in the labour market, ineffective legal remedies and the insufficient powers and resources of national gender equality bodies. Moreover, despite quota arrangements and other measures, women also continue to be under-represented in decision-making positions within private companies. The ECSR noted that the gender pay gap had narrowed in some countries, but progress was insufficient.

More information can be found here:

Right to equal pay: European Committee of Social Rights finds violations in 14 countries

Annual Report of the Spanish Federation of University Women

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AMUB Bilbao

The Spanish Federation of University Women (FEMU) has four associations (Bilbao, Madrid, Marbella y Murcia associations of graduate women), at this moment we are a total of 166 members.

These are the main activities accomplished along 2019:

During the 33ª General Meeting of GWI, that was hosted in Geneva from the 25th to 28th of July of 2019, the First Century of GWI took place. The FEMU attended being represented by four members and it was recognised as one of the three world organizations with a faster increase of its membership. The main issue of the meeting was: “Fostering the Peace Culture through women empowerment as a way of education”.

AMUM Marbella

Through the different associations we have done countless talks, seminars, cinema forums, lectures, concerts, visits to museums, voluntary work and other various activities. Some of them were directed to obtain resources in order to award a grant to 8 scholars girls who have excellent marks and a limited financial situation as they have to initiate their universities studies.

Currently, the FEMU, through her associations, is involved in boosting its membership even if there is an added difficulty as the Covid-19 pandemic, which is the reason we are increasing efforts to adapt to new technologies.

Guerilla girls message to the ladies attending Art Seminar in Marbella


This coming year we will keep working and having our activities online, as we are doing the most out of the year 2020, and we will maintain our main goal that is the promotion of women in our area by permanent education in the framework of UWE.

On behalf of the Spanish Federation of University Women,

Eloísa Sánchez-Amillategui / President

Annual Report of the Turkish Cypriot Association of the University Women

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All the activities referred to in this report have been carried out with the decisions of the Board of Directors of TCAUW. The activities were carried out by reaching the members of our association, and in communication with other associations in order to strengthen the status of women in the TRNC as well as other current issues, with the aim to help education, environment and women’s issues.

On January 8, 2018, the TCAUW General Assembly was held and the new board was elected.

A conference on “Being a Woman in the Assembly” was held in February 2018 by our association in the Chamber of Commerce. Speakers; Sıla Usar (CTP), İzlem Gürçağ (UBP), Gülşah Saner Manavoğlu (HP).”Support to Women” issues were discussed with the Nicosia Turkish Mayor M. Harmancı in cooperation with the Civil Organizations. It was decided in principle that the municipality can carry out women’s development activities in our association building.

In December 2018, our association was able to collect funds from the trip to South Cyprus our working partner CVAR (Rita and Costas Foundation Research and Library, Bi-Communal Cultural Heritage Museum) and the opportunity to see the southern villages was created for members and other women.

A working lunch meeting was held in Nicosia with the participation of the UN Special Representative and the Dutch Ambassador and our members participated.

Our Board Member Didem Erel made a speech at the CVAR jointly held with CVAR, UN special representative and embassies within the framework of bi-communal activities on 01.2019.

On 30.01.2019, the Board of Directors of TCAUW paid a visit to the First Lady, Mrs. Meral Akıncı to discuss cooperation with KAYAD, empowerment of women and combating violence.

A session was held at AKM (Atatürk Cultural center) in March 2019, attended by Fikri Toros (MP) and Hasan Esendağlı (President of the Turkish Cypriot Bar Association. In 2019, it was agreed with journalist Özgül Gürkut to create a book about extraordinary women in the TRNC. Berna Yılmazoğlu started an initiative for the sponsorship of Limassol Cooperative Bank.

A social meeting was held with the members of the association at the association building in April 2019. On June 15, 2019, second-hand goods were sold with the slogan “Let’s use what is not used” and some funds were generated for the association. An income was generated for our association by participating in second hand sales in Lapta region on behalf of the association.

Members participated to the Famagusta trip organization in the “Women’s Walk” sponsored by the bi-communal and embassies we are partners with. On 23 November 2019 “End of the year dinner” was held for the members and supporters of the Association. This also generated some income for our association. “Women’s Walk” organization was held at the Lakadamya village on December 7, 2019.


On behalf of the TCAUW:

Dr. Ferdiye ERSOY / CIR, CER

Annual Report of the Swedish Association of Graduate Women

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Annual Meeting Stockholm 2019-03-13

The Swedish Association of Graduate Women (Kvinnliga Akademiekrs Förening, KAF) was founded in 1904 with the purpose of working for women’s rights both on the national as the international level. Today it consists of five independent departments: Stockholm, Uppsala, Western Sweden, Southern Sweden and Umeå (Northern Sweden). The National Association works as an umbrella organization for the departments.

The National Association is run by a board with the following constitution: Anne-Marie Morhed, President (Uppsala), Stina Johansson, Secretary (Uppsala), Anna Lewin, Treasurer (Southern Sweden), Johanna Sjöstedt (Western Sweden), Kaarina Wallin, (Stockholm)

Coop-member: Beatrice Christensen Sköld, CER; Auditor University Women of Europe

Due to a generous contribution from the Swedish Authority of Women’s Equality the Association has been able to support the work of the local departments as well as travel expenses for conferences in Geneva and Helsinki.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemia much of the planned work has been postponed. However, local meeting have taken place due to the use of Zoom. The board has also been using Zoom for its meetings. Another big task, a biography project has also been able to continue undisturbed. Six members work with the biography of Sweden’s first female medical doctor Karolina Widerström.

The departments in Uppsala an Western Sweden have been working on projects dealing with the anniversaries of their organisations.

The Association is in charge of two foundations with the purpose to give grants to female students and researchers living in Sweden.


On behalf of The Swedish Assocation of Graduate Women:

Beatrice Christensen Sköld / CER

Annual Report of the Finnish Federation of Graduate Women

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Baltic Sea Conference

In 2019, we had 928 members and 19 local branches which organised over 200 local events (e.g. seminars, lectures, election panels, cultural events, visits in companies and organisations). FFGW had 6 employees, of which 5 worked in our integration projects.

Advocacy work:

We sought to increase the women’s participation in politics, remove the gender pay gap (17 %), decrease the educational and occupational gender segregation. In the Finnish parliamentary and EU elections we encouraged the parties to appoint more female candidates, reminded voters of the benefits of getting more women in power, presented our advocacy goals to the parliament’s women network and shared our EU campaign material with the UWE member associations.We marked the Equal Pay Day and kept the theme visible throughout the year on our social media channels. We discussed different solutions for decreasing gender-based segregation at our Baltic Sea conference together with university women’s associations from Estonia, Lithuania, Russia and Sweden. We helped to co-write the Finnish NGOs’ Beijing +25 report: our area of expertise was gender equality in Finnish education and economy. We took a public stand against honour related violence in Finland.

Major events:

We continued our national seminar series ”Transformation of Work: New Technology and Know-How”. Our local branches organised 7 seminars.

14.3.2019 New York. MY BODY IS MINE – How free contraception is linked to empowerment and education. 14th International Helvi Sipilä Seminar at the CSW64 organized together with the National Council of Women of Finland, the Coalition of Finnish Women’s Associations – NYTKIS, Finland National Committee for UN Women and the Young Women’s Christian Association of Finland YWCA. The seminar video is on Youtube.

29.4.2019 Helsinki. Does the EU include women? Seminar on the gender equality issues in the EU. Organized together with the National Council of Women of Finland and its member organizations.

12.10.2019 Vantaa. Together for GENDER EQUALITY IN EDUCATION AND WORK and Commitment to our common Baltic Sea. Organized together with British Embassy Finland, Eesti Akadeemiliste Naiste Ühing, Федерация женщин с университетским образованием, Kvinnliga Akademikers Förening and Lietuvos Universitetų Moterų Asociacija. The seminar videos are on Youtube.

29.10.2019 Helsinki. Women’s Career Boost. Inspirational workshop event for career planning. Organized together with our Auroras mentoring network for immigrant women and Women’s Career Network Finland.


President and few members of FFGW

NET-POWER – Network for Promotion of Women Empowerment Recognition

New Erasmus+ project together with University Women of Europe (the Netherlands). Asociatia Femeilor Universitare (Romania) and Femmes Chefs d’Entreprises Mondiales (France). The project, which is coordinated by the language school Italian in Italy, began in October 2019 and will last for 24 months. During that time, we will collect, exchange and spread good practices regarding various gender gap issues. The first project meeting was held in Rome in November 2019.

Let’s Read Together – a national network that support immigrants’, especially women’s, Finnish language skills and integration. The network offers Finnish, Swedish and literacy teaching to immigrants all around Finland.Continuous funding by STEA (Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organizations), 80 groups in 29 cities and 2 permanent and 1 temporary employees.

Auroras – a national network that support educated immigrant women’s integration in Finnish society. The network offers group and individual mentoring. Project funding 2018 – 2021 from STEA and Finnish National Agency for Education, 10 groups in five cities and 2 temporary employees.


On behalf of FFGW:

Sari Kuusela/CER

Annual Report of the Graduate Women Scotland

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UWE Meet & Greet Dundee, 2019

Although we are ending this session in strange times and last years social events seem far away we have had a very busy session.

Just prior to the end on Session in May 2019 GWS hosted the UWE Meet and Greet in Dundee, and we were very happy to welcome 80 attendees representing 11 European Federations.

The GWI AGM followed in Geneva and 9 members of GWS attended, the UWE AGM being held during this meeting.

Cat Sutherland was on the GWI resolutions committee for the 2016-2019 Session and in October 2019 the GWI Board approved her nomination to be the Convener for the Resolutions Committee 2019-2022, coordinating a group of 4 GWI members based in Italy, Mexico and India coordinating Objective 3 from the GWI Strategic objectives in membership led by (and reporting to) Membership VP Eileen Fokker-Baker.

In November, Cat was selected from 40 applicants as one of the 20 delegates of GWI’s delegation to CSW64, due to take place at the United Nations headquarters in New

GWS delegates – GIW AGM Geneva, 2019

York City, New York, unfortunately cancelled due to Coronavirus. The GWI resolutions committee continued with their virtual meetings to progress towards 2 webinars as part of the GWI Webinar series These related to resolutions 5 and 6 which were attended on Zoom by many members including some from Europe.

GWS had a busy session with a wide variety of local meetings and the GWS lunch and visit in January. In addition GWS having provided sponsorship, members from the 3 associations attended at the PiCLS (Dundee School of life Sciences) meeting where they spoke to the many undergraduates present.

3 students studying in Scotland received grants from BFWG and Our President Fiona Sutherland met with them to make the presentation. This is a regular occurrence and caused GWS to look at ways that we can provide assistance to students and hopefully this will be in place in time to assist some girls who’s studies were affected by COVID.


Using a combination of Zoom and email GWS and the local associations were able to hold their AGM and voted in Rachel Marsh (GWS East) as the new president in May 2020 (the other Board members remain the same). With restrictions easing the local associations are looking at how to present this years programme with several virtual meetings proposed.

On behalf of Graduate Women Scotland:

Cat Sutherland/CER