Annual Report of the University Women Romania Association

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In 2019, University Women Romania Association (AFU România) organized its own 3 conferences (May 25th , October 5th , November 23rd ) and a webinar (August 4th ). The conferences were held in Bucharest, at the prestigious National Museum of Romanian Literature and consisted of public speeches held by AFU Romania members and by guests who are prominent Romanian women. The topics of 2019 were: education, family, non-gendered working fields, women in STEM fields and well-being as an indicator of happiness.

On 5th May, in the conference “History of women – Professions without gender”, we evoked, with the support of our guests, historians, psychologists and other professionals from different fields , female personalities who have written history and pioneered in professions once considered to belong to men.

On 5th October it was time for an educational event: “Romanian women in history- Women as mothers and educators”. We invited people to explore together what education means today in all its aspects.

On 23rd November we talked about what well-being and wellness and how we perceive it as men and women. We challenged our audience to find new answers to old questions and we were helped in our journey by our guests: psychologists, writers and other professionals from different fields.

We also participated as a BURSA partner in the “Genderless Entrepreneurship” Conference, and as an UWE partner in the Erasmus Net Power Project, and developed partnerships with several high schools in Bucharest and in the country, in the purpose of emotionally supporting 12th grade students to prepare for baccalaureate degree and college admission.

“Genderless Entrepreneurship” was aired live on AFU Romania’s Facebook Page. Detailed info on the 2019 partnerships and projects can be found on the AFU website, as follows: Net Power Project and Students’ support project.

And since 2020 has been the IT year for digital communication and social distancing, AFU Romania launched on 4th August a webinar on Well-being. Well-being is not something abstract, it is provided by the sum of verbal and nonverbal behaviors determined by the thoughts we use both in our verbal and inner dialogue. People attended online via Zoom.

Just like in 2018, in 2019 we faced various challenges: to attract new members, to ensure sustainability and better financing. For 2021 we aim to increase collaboration with other international women associations on women common interests, to grow our membership and find volunteers and active people ready to get involved in making things happen.

On behalf of the University Women Romania Association:

Roxana Donaldson Cirtu/CER


Annual Report of the Swiss Federation of Graduate Women

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During 2019, our NFA has invested body and soul in planning and organizing the Triennial Meeting and Centenary Celebration of GWI in Geneva. The Swiss NFA managed that enormous event with pleasure, determination and courage. It was a heavy load of work, but the Conference was a big success. This report underlines that activity.

In 2019, one of our members, Mrs Verena Welti, was included in the brochure celebrating 100 years of IFUW: “Inspiring a Vision: Pioneers and Other Women“. Mrs Welti was very active in the Swiss National Association as well as internationally. She was the Coordinator for International Relations, then Vice-President in 2003, and finally she was President of the Swiss NFA from 2008-2014. She put a huge effort in promoting young women in their studies, especially in the STEM field. She was one of he promoters of DACH friendship-meetings (between Germany, Switzerland and Austria). Sadly, Verena Welti passed away this summer.

Other activities: our NFA has carried out conferences and events around many topics such as:

  • Education and Equality;
  • Women and their qualifications, encouraging them to highlight their skills;
  • Training offered to migrant women;
  • Action on Equal pay Day between men and women in business and professional areas;
  • Participation in the women’s strike in Switzerland on 14 June 2019.

My NFA can be proud of all the work we did last year.

On behalf of Schweiz Verband der Akademikerinnen (ASFDU):

Dr. Christine Botchi Morel/ CER

Annual Report of the Austrian Federation of Graduate Women

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VAÖ members at the Rose of Appreciation award ceremony for L’Oreal Austria

Austria celebrated 100 th anniversary of women’s suffrage. We had our first-ever female Head of Government – Dr Brigitte Bierlein was Chancellor of Austria from 6/19 to 1/20. Dr. Bierlein had been a recent VAÖ guest in her previous role as President of the Austrian Constitutional Court and had joined VAÖ. In the current Government, nine of the 17 members of the Cabinet are women. However, the gender pay gap and equal numbers of women in leadership positions more broadly, still remain an issue.

In March this year, the VAÖ elected a new Board. The new President is Dr. Maria Tiefenthaller. Vice President is Dr. Irmgard Bayer. The new CER is Mag. Elisabeth Francis. The full Board is shown on the VAÖ website.

Before the Corona lockdown, all six provincial chapters – Vienna, Lower Austria, Burgenland; Upper Austria; Styria; Carinthia; Salzburg; Tyrol – continued very active, inviting diverse and distinguished female experts and scientists from various disciplines, as well as politicians, to their regular meetings and workshops on issues of interest to women. The current Minister for Women will be our guest shortly.

We have re-instituted the Rose of Appreciation – to be awarded to enterprises or individuals who advance gender equality and who promote or publicise outstanding female achievement. The first recipient was L’Oreal Austria for their practice of annually giving five scholarships to young female scientists. Subsequently the Rose was awarded to a journalist for her exemplary reporting and efforts to make women in science visible.

In 2018 VAÖ hosted the D-A-CH Friendship Meeting (Germany-Austria-Switzerland, also including some Dutch members) in Innsbruck.

Celebrating Samira’s graduation from High School

It was a very successful gathering with a rich cultural programme. The VAÖ has for some years been supporting and befriending a number of women refugees and is delighted that our friends have successfully integrated into Austrian society and are well underway with their new professional lives.

VAÖ members actively represent GWI at the United Nations Vienna. The VAÖ has joined SDG Watch Austria, a civil society platform promoting and monitoring progress toward the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The new President has been very active, contacting officials and personalities in areas where we do not have members, looking to increase and broaden ourmembership. Attracting younger members continues to be an important objective. Three new Board positions were created – Career and Study Advice, Art and Science, and Public Relations. The Corona crisis has brought many challenges. We are now resuming our activities and are looking forward to celebrate the 90 th anniversary of the Upper Austria chapter in Linz in November.

On behalf of VAÖ,

Elisabeth Francis / CER

Annual Report of the Israel Association of University Women

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Scholarship winners

Since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic in early March, the meetings of the organization took place with Zoom. These included monthly book discussions on contemporary Israeli literature, meetings with members of the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) dealing with issues of empowering and promoting women, and lectures on a variety of topics.

There are a number of children’s institutions in Israel for maltreated children who have been removed from their homes by order of the Court. About 40 of our members are mentors in three of such institutions, helping to improve the children’s spirit and teach them to believe in themselves and their future. A scholarship fund has been established to give these girls guidance and additional help to begin their higher education. This year we awarded 19 scholarships each of NIS.6,000.

We are very thankful to Dr. Anne Negre, UWE President for her visit to Israel and were delighted that she participated in the award event.

Dr. Anne Negre at a round table Conference in the Parliment with Orly Almagor Lutan, Research and Information Center

We have another scholarship fund which has been in existence for nearly 50 years which awards grants to women doctoral students. This year we awarded 10 scholarships each of NIS. 6,000.

On International Violence Day a conference was held in parliament to increase the awareness of the public of the violence against women. Volunteers from all the women’s organizations in Israel (including IAUW) attended. It was interesting to hear several victims sharing their problems. Volunteers from IAUW help in shelters for battered women.

In these difficult days of Corona, since many people have lost their jobs and face poverty, volunteers are also participating in a project delivering food parcels to needy families.

Dr. Anne Negre, UWE President with Ora Sharon, IAUW Vice President and Adv. Shiri Malca, Tel Aviv Jaffa Chairlady at the scholarship award

Representatives of IAUW sit on the parliamentary Committee for the Status of Women. On August 2020 the Parliament passed an amendment to The Men and Women Employee Equal Wages Act (1996). This amendment compels the employer to publish a comparative pay report of both gender employees.

Words cannot express how much we appreciate the Cooperation MOU Agreement which we signed with UWE. This gives us more strength to promote women’s rights.We hope that in the near future we will be accepted as full partners in the UWE.

On behalf of IAUW,

Ora Sharon / Vice President & CER


Virtual Annual General Meeting 2020

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UWE Meeting with CERs and Presidents @ zoom / June 21, 2020

As you know, restrictions on meetings, travel with higher than usual costs of planes and trains are putting our planned UWE AGM in difficulty. It was to be held in Paris on September 19, 2020, preceded by a beautiful program, including a visit to UNESCO, the discovery of a robot from the Orange Company, a gala dinner on the Seine with singers among other pleasant moments.

UWE Board waited as long as possible before unanimously taking the decision to cancel the General Assembly in Paris, looking into what others INGOs were doing. All the Centenary commemoration of the French Association – AFFDU has been cancelled, too. Luckily, few informal meetings have been organised before on zoom with our CERs and Presidents and this is only the beginning of a new stage of UWE’s internal life.


UWE Meeting with CERs @ zoom / May 9, 2020

The AGM is going to be conducted virtually on the 19th September at 10 am, local time in Paris and going to be a short AGM with the statutory work, online registration is open until 72 hours before the event.

Our meeting will be no longer than 90 minutes, according to the Preliminary Agenda. Due to the restricted format and time, it was decided by the Board to limit the presence of the participants to one person/each NFA, the CER or a delegate, in case the CER cannot attend, the annual reports 2019 (approximately 400 words including spaces and few pictures) will be published on our blog. Most of you have registered so far and sent us the annual reports, well done! 

Now we’re inviting all of you to read the annual reports prepared by President Anne Negre, Vice President Aisha Alshawaf and Vice President Giuseppina Foti.

We are looking forward for your questions, comments and feedback, preferably until September, 17, two days before our virtual meeting!


Board Meeting @ zoom / September 9, 2020

We will have no elections for Vice President this year, similar to other organisations we proposed UWE members to postpone elections and have a WHITE YEAR, a year not accounted for in the mandates. University Women of Europe is governed by the law of the country in which it has its legal seat, in Netherlands the legal and regulatory provisions allow this concession due to the exceptional circumstances, similar arrangements were deployed in Belgium for the European Women Lobby. All our members agreed and unanimously responded in favour with that.

It is great to feel our organisation pulling together and moving forward at the same pace.

UWE Board is thanking all of you for your continuous engagement and support, we look forward to hearing from all of you.

If you have any questions regarding the General Meeting do not hesitate to contact our Board.



Call for applications: International Marie S. Curie FRIAS COFUND Fellowship Programme (FCFP) 2021/22

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For the eighth time the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS), the international research college of the University of Freiburg, one of the strongest research universities in Germany and member of LERU (the League of European Research Universities) publishes a call for applications of the international Marie S. Curie FRIAS COFUND Fellowship Programme (FCFP), for the academic year 2021/22.

About 25 fellowships will be awarded through a highly competitive, strictly merit-based selection process.

This programme offers outstanding international researchers, both on the junior and the senior level, an opportunity to apply for an extended research stay here at the Institute.

We therefore ask you to consider this opportunity for yourself and/or to pass it on to colleagues to whom this call might be of interest.

The programme, which is co-financed by the European Union’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Programme, is open to all disciplines; the financial conditions are internationally competitive.

Fellowships of 3 to 10 months may be applied for in the senior scheme, while in the junior scheme the fellowship duration is 12 months. Successful applicants will conduct their fellowship between September 2021 and September 2022.

For the fellows the programme offers outstanding research opportunities, not only in the research environment of a leading European research university, but also with the added advantage of being part of a community of fellows from different disciplines.

FRIAS provides its female researchers with targeted information on attractive offers relating to mentoring, coaching and training. Special attention is given to fellows who plan to come to Freiburg together with their families. FRIAS makes every effort to provide tailor-made solutions with regard to suitable accommodation, child care and educational facilities.

Click here for further information

The deadline for application is September 30, 2020; 24.00 h CET.

2020 HELP Network e-Conference, Strasbourg 8-9 July

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The HELP Annual Network Conference is the main gathering of the HELP Network members and partners. It provides a forum to present the latest HELP courses developed and key HELP projects. It is also a forum for discussion on how to enhance the impact of human rights training and how to improve effective co-operation among all members and partners of the HELP Network.

In 2020, due to the limitations caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the HELP Network Conference will exceptionally be held in an entirely online format.

Click here to see the Agenda 

The objectives of the conference are:

  • To highlight the response of the Council of Europe Programme on Human Rights Educational for Legal Professionals (HELP) to the situation caused by the coronavirus outbreak
  • To mark the 70th anniversary of the European Convention on Human Rights
  • To inform on the current challenges for the respect of certain rights guaranteed with the ECHR and on the HELP response to those challenges through the HELP online courses
  • To present the developments in the HELP Programme since the 2019 HELP Network Conference:
    • an update on the HELP projects and initiatives
    • newly developed or updated HELP courses
  • To provide the HELP Network members a forum for addressing their peers 
  • To present to the HELP Network the newly established Open Council of Europe Academic Network (OCEAN) and discuss links and synergies between OCEAN and HELP

Click here to join e conference 

Interpretation available in English, French

Select your preferred language on the video toolbar

Link active on 8-9 July 2020



The European Committee of Social Rights adopted 15 decisions on state compliance launched by UWE for violations of the European Social Charter

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The European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) has adopted 15 decisions (see links below) on state compliance with the right to equal pay, as well as the right to equal opportunities in the workplace, following complaints which were lodged within the framework of the collective complaints procedure by University Women Europe (UWE) on August 24, 2016. The decisions concern the 15 States which have accepted the complaints procedure (Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden), were adopted by the ECSR on 5 and 6 December 2019 and became public today, 29 June 2020. “It’s up to you to make them effective, to disseminate them as widely as possible in the countries of the European continent. It’s up to you to continue the fight so that this deep injustice of unequal wages between women and men ceases, as well as the absence or the few women on the boards of directors of companies and executive committees. Good luck with these actions!” – Dr. Anne Bergheim-Nègre, President UWE.

The decisions identify clear and strong standards in the field of equal pay and, more precisely, they require that the right to equal pay has to be guaranteed in law. The ECSR has identified the following obligations for States:

  • To recognise the right to equal pay for equal work or work of equal value in their legislation;
  • To ensure access to effective remedies for victims of pay discrimination;
  • To ensure and guarantee pay transparency and enable pay comparisons;
  • To maintain effective equality bodies and relevant institutions in order to ensure equal pay in practice.

Moreover, the right to equal pay implies the obligation to adopt measures to promote it. This obligation has two elements: on the one hand, collecting reliable and standardised data to measure and analyse the gender pay gap and, on the other hand, designing effective policies and measures aimed at reducing the gender pay gap on the basis of an analysis of the data collected. The States are also under an obligation to show measurable progress in reducing the gender pay gap.

The ECSR acknowledges that the gender pay gap is no longer solely or even primarily a result of discrimination as such. The gap arises mainly from differences in the so-called “average characteristics” of women and men in the labour market. These differences result from many factors, such as horizontal segregation, where there is the concentration of one sex in certain economic activities (sectoral gender segregation) or the concentration of one sex in certain occupations (occupational gender segregation), as well as vertical segregation. The decisions highlight the positive obligations of States to tackle these phenomena in the labour market, including by promoting the advancement of women in decision-making positions within private companies.

14 out of the 15 States were found to be in violation of one or more of the above-mentioned aspects of the obligation to guarantee the right to equal pay and the right to equal opportunities in the workplace. However, the ECSR also noted various positive developments. Measures taken by some States in recent years have led to some progress in reducing the gender pay gap, but the progress is slow. The ECSR’s decisions clearly demonstrate that problems and practices, such as segregation in the labour market, lack of pay transparency, secrecy regarding pay levels, obstacles to access effective remedies and retaliatory dismissals continue to exist and prevent full realisation of the equal pay principle.

The decisions on the merits of the complaints lodged by UWE:

No. 124/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. Belgium

No. 125/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. Bulgaria

No. 126/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. Croatia

No. 127/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. Cyprus

No. 128/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. Czech Republic

No. 129/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. Finland

No. 130/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. France

No. 131/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. Greece

No. 132/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. Ireland

No. 133/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. Italy

No. 134/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. the Netherlands

No. 135/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. Norway

No. 136/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. Portugal

No. 137/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. Slovenia

No. 138/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. Sweden


French Version here:

Des écarts de salaire entre les femmes et les hommes subsistent en Europe


Bringing the SDGs Home – Guide

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On 5th June is celebrated the World Environment Day, the United Nations day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment. Corona Virus pandemic had a profound impact on the environment and if we are able to rethink our life, we can be motivated to be more eco-friendly in our day to day lives: with the technology and employer policies of teleworking, we can only hope jobs that can be done remotely should stay that way, to minimize the carbon emissions and other air pollutants, people will have learned to be more resourceful and less wasteful during this time, shopping more sustainably out of necessity, the whole world doesn’t need to stop for positive environmental changes to happen, but small lifestyle adjustments from people all over the world that can go a long way to help the environment.

Whether or not you have just been introduced to the idea of sustainable living or have been trying to better your lifestyle for a while now, thanks to Catriona Sutherland – CER Scottish Federation of University Women, we found out that UN Association Scotland has just completed a beautifully composed guide on how to incorporate the SDGs into your home living: A Simple Guide to Sustainable Living, an easy read relating to real world possibilities, a great resource where you can find all of the basics and do more research on topics that you are curious about. We invite you to have a look through hoping you’ll find something you’ve never considered before or even more ideas to improve your lifestyle.

We hope you find it useful, feel free to share it widely.

UNHS Guide Final.pdf 4.61 MB • Download

#halfofit – We demand half of the Corona funds for women

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Since the Coronavirus crisis has hit, women across Europe are sustaining our society working in hospitals, childcare and supermarkets, their hard work was appreciated with applause on the balconies and public declarations, but they are still dramatically underpaid.  Women are now losing their jobs at a much faster rate than men. Many of them work in “client-facing sectors” – tourism, events, hotels, restaurants, retail trade, different forms of therapy and many others which have been particularly affected by the crisis.
In March, almost five times as many women had lost their jobs than men. On top of this, women carry out the bulk of the additional unpaid work arising from closed schools and childcare facilities, sick family members and closed canteens. In Germany, it was calculated that parents spend three hours a day homeschooling their children. In 82% of the cases “parents” meant mothers. Due to this extra amount of extra work in the home, women hardly have time to participate in the public debate anymore. An article published in the journal “Nature” and some early academic studies (4) during the COVID lockdown showed that during the Corona crisis female academics submitted only half of the research papers  to scientific journals compared to the previous period in 2019. Male colleagues submitted more compared to the same period in 2019. Women have less time than ever to invest in their careers  – while rising unemployment leaves companies ample choice in hiring among men. This will make women’s advancement to the higher echelons of decision-making even more difficult.
The Coronavirus crisis is turning into an enormous crisis for women’s income, life-long earnings, pensions, overall participation and power in society. Now is the time to turn this moment into an opportunity for the advancement of gender equality.
The European Commission and the European Council are developing a 500 billion  euro Recovery and Resilience Instrument. We support the Franco-German initiative for the planned EU reconstruction fund and wish it broad approval. This investment plan to relaunch and modernize the economy, with a priority on the digital and green transition, will shape Europe’s future by combating climate change and ushering in the green and digital transformation. This is an an absolute priority which we share, but there is on caveat: the digital and the energy sector are known to be male-dominated. Without additional measures, this economic stimulus instrument will not offer jobs for the women who are losing them – but for men. This could could turn into a redistribution programme of jobs and income being transferred from women to men. And thereby an instrument which will increase the impoverishment of women, funded by European taxpayers – half of whom are women. This is an example of unintended consequences which arise when the gender equality perspective is not involved applied at the onset of budgetary and recovery stimulus plans.

We invite you to sign and share a petition run by Alexandra Geese, Member of the European Parliament, Greens/EFA. The petition urges the European Commission and the European Council to make sure that at least half of the volume of the Recovery and Resilience Instrument is spent on women’s jobs and the advancement of women’s rights as well as equality between women and men.

Petition text

We urge the European Commission and the European Council to make sure that at least half of the volume of the Recovery and Resilience Instrument is spent on women’s jobs and the advancement of women’s rights as well as equality between women and men. It is the European institutions’ task to ensure the implementation of Art. 23 of the European Charta of Fundamental Rights: “Equality between women and men must be ensured in all areas, including employment, work and pay”.  We ask them to act in line with the European Commission Gender Equality Strategy adopted in March 2020.
We call for: 

  • Gender impact assessments and gender budgeting for all funds spent in the framework of the Recovery and Resilience Instrument
  • Investment in the care economy, developing resilient childcare services and schools that allow all parents to maintain paid jobs and a healthy life balance.
  • Development of care services from a life-cycle perspective: a Care Deal for Europe and a European project for gender-disaggregated statistics of unpaid and paid work as a basis for a new calculation of GDP
  • Obligations for companies receiving state aid or subsidies from the Recovery and Resilience Instrument to document that these funds will equally benefit employees of all genders; and especially those that have a low share of female employees and managers to hire and promote women respecting minimum quotas at management level
  •  A special fund dedicated to female-led businesses