To the attention of Presidents and CER’s

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Amsterdam 20th of August 2017

Dear Presidents and CER’s , 

I am so happy to announce the conference in Graz is fully overbooked. The VAO – the University Women of Austria and especially Graz have done a marvelous job. It will be a great conference in a wonderful city and I am looking forward to meeting 120 women from all over Europe. We can all celebrate the 95th Anniversary of VAO! Congratulations!
We will post news during the conference on Facebook and of course there will be a report on our website. We hope also to get your reports even when your not able to come. They serve as inspiration to us all.

Not only the influx of migrants in Europe is changing our cultures. Which is the theme of the conference. In some countries accomplishments of our mothers and grandmothers are in danger of being overruled by governments. Another issue is that the crisis has hit women more so then men, as women in most countries had smaller jobs, had lower paid jobs and were on short contracts. Furthermore the changes in pension dates in many European countries have thrown thousands of women in the arms of poverty as they don’t have enough savings to cover the pension gap. And last but not least, the violence against women is rising while still lots of governments have not ratified the Istanbul Convention. There is still lots of work to do. To stand united I would like to draw your attention to two very important proposals at the AGM in Graz.

Support the Collective Complaint for Equal Pay
anne negreThe UWE has great news. As you know we have a collective complaint in fifteen countries against the social charter on the subject of Equal Pay. (https://uweboard.wordpress.com/collectivecomplaint- equal-pay-for-equal-work/) We can compliment Anne Negre, our representative at the INGO conference of the Council of Europe for her work as the complaints are admissable. It means we will get answers of the governments as to why the feel they don’t need to take measures of adapt their policies to make sure women and men are paid equally in their countries. We will receive those by September. It means by the end of October our answers will have to be ready. So the UWE proposes to organize a meeting of three days in Amsterdam for the experts and lawyers of each country involved. It will be around half October. Please look around you for experts on Equal pay and some excellent writers. The proposal at the AGM will be to host the meeting including a lunch and dinner. So the associations or individual members will have to pay their own trip and accomodation.

Support the changes in the constitution The UWE stands for an important decision. To stand united in Europe or face losing our representation in Europe. For this reason we have proposed some changes in the constitution allowing non GWI members to be members of UWE. This is in line with the changes GWI has done and will help to keep associations like Finland, Germany, Romania, Lithuania etc on board. Please support this. If there are issues you wish to raise on the matter please let us know in advance so we can prepare answers or propose changes so we can decide this AGM. So in short, please support our proposal. Send us your additional comments or questions in advance. When your not able to come you can write us at boarduwe@gmail.com your decision and we will vote by proxy.

For the board, Edith Lommerse, President UWE

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Proposal to host 2018 UWE AGM & Conference in Rome

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The Board is glad to announce we’ve received a letter on behalf of FILDIS – Federazione italiana Laureate e Diplomate Istituti Superiori, signed by President Prof. Gabriella Anselmi, to host the AGM Conference 2018 in the beautiful city of Rome.

Rome is one of the most beautiful cities in the world to return frequently. It gathers open arms. It also constitutes an Open Air Museum.
The Powerpoint will show you some of the places where we will choose the locations for our events.
FILDIS will be happy to host the 2018 UWE Conference in Italy.
We will gladly welcome you to Rome.
We inform you that all costs will be borne by the participants.
FILDIS can not support all these expenses.
Looking forward to see you in Graz next week!
For the board,
many regards,
Roxana Elena Petrescu
Secretary General University Women of Europe

Aisha Alshawaf – UWE Vice President Candidate

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UWE Board is pleased to announce first candidate for Vice President: Aisha Alshawaf, immediate past Vice-President of The British
Federation of Women Graduates.

Click on the link to read her application form

Click on the link to read the recommendation letter from British Federation of Women Graduates signed by Dr G.E. Banner PhD,  Immediate Past President.

She also has the support of their CER Jenny Morley.

The candidate is required to present herself during 5 minutes at the UWE Conference in GRAZ AUSTRIA 24-26 August 2017 to be elected at the AGM.

Other applications by the NFA in a letter of recommendation should be accompanied by a CV, photograph and a motivational letter stating the candidate will accept the Vice Presidency.

Applications should be made to boarduwe@gmail.com to arrive ten days before the AGM, i.e. by 15th of August 2017 at the latest.

 

Why don’t women earn more? the BBC pay gap story

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Is it the culture? Is it men? Or is it women, afraid to ask for what they’re worth? The reality is that it’s a messy combination of all these things. But only one of them can be changed quickly: how women feel about themselves and their value.

The BBC is facing a backlash from female stars over pay after revealing that only a third of its 96 top earners are women and the top seven are all men. 20 wealthy women at the BBC are paid the same as 40 wealthy men. It’s about the millions of women elsewhere who feel uncomfortable about saying: “Can I have a 20% pay rise this year?” This is the internalised pay gap, and it’s everywhere. Or at least anywhere where women in well-paid jobs feel able to have a say. Let’s not even get started on the low-skilled and low-paid who never get the opportunity to negotiate their own pay.

Privately, many women will admit their internal barriers are a problem. And they’ve had enough. In fact there’s an intriguing trend running alongside the BBC pay story. Rapidly gaining momentum over the past 12 months, a new branch of self-help has emerged that calls itself “money mindset mentoring”. It’s aimed at women and is an American trend – of course – but it has an international audience. The term “money mindset” has over 33m results on Google and rising.

This idea is championed by Jen Sincero, author of You Are a Badass at Making Money (yes, this is a real book title), Marie Forleo (“Oprah for the next generation”) and Australia’s Denise Duffield-Thomas (motto: “Get rich, lucky bitch”). I interviewed Sincero recently at an event where the nearly all-female audience was hanging on to her every word. Her books are New York Times bestsellers and have been translated into over 20 languages. Wasn’t she duping women, I asked, by telling them, for example, that they just needed to trust “the law of attraction”? (This is the self-help idea that if you ask the universe nicely for something, it will give it to you.) She slapped me down. This isn’t about wishing on a star, she said, this is about making concrete plans and naming what you want.

Clearly some of these coaches have indeed figured out how to get rich: by getting you to buy their books and courses. But others do seem on a genuine mission. Duffield-Thomas, who has just launched a new online “money bootcamp” for women, quotes a 2016 American Express report about the United States, where 38% of businesses are owned by women: “Women-owned businesses account for 4% of the nation’s revenues, a figure that has not changed in the past 20 years.” Her mission is to change this by helping women to bust through their “money blocks” (“I don’t deserve this”, “I can’t ask for too much”, “I’ll only sabotage myself”).

Knowing Your Value author Mika Brzezinski
Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
 ‘There’s no harm in following advice from the likes of author Mika Brzezinski (photo): show your boss what you could do in six months and put a number on it.’

Such advice, even if it is couched in psychobabble, could be the necessary corrective. Some of these gurus are addressing in simple language what most of us are afraid to admit: a lot of women have subconscious prejudices about what they are entitled to ask for.

In my first job in journalism 20 years ago, I found out a male colleague with similar responsibilities to mine was being paid almost double my salary. “We pay enough to keep you in shoes, don’t we?” was my editor’s response. It was true. I had a lot of great shoes. Although at that particular moment I wished I had been coming in in a pair of old flip-flops. I secured a job offer from a place where I didn’t really want to work but would have gone if I’d had to. They matched the salary immediately.

Yes, yes, yes, I know. No one should have to do this. It should all just be fair and equal. And everyone should get a warm glass of milk before bedtime. But there’s a reason L’Oréal poured millions of advertising dollars into the slogan: “Because you’re worth it”. If most women already thought they were worth it, this wouldn’t need to be said.

 

Of course there are unconscious biases on both sides of the conversation about pay. One US study by researchers at Harvard and Carnegie Mellon University showed that women were seen as “tough and unlikable” in salary negotiations and judged accordingly. Men were not. If women are judged more harshly for asking for more money, the impact of this particular bias is obvious.

One fascinating aspect to the BBC story is that many of the women in question would not have been negotiating their own salaries. So did their agents (male or female) also internalise ideas about their clients’ worth? Gary Lineker’s agent said that the lower pay was the fault of “female agents” not asking for enough. Although he also said that he would “never buy a house off a woman” because they negotiate too hard. It seems we are all saddled with preconceptions about money and gender that will take years to unravel.

In the meantime, why not risk being disliked? Ask for what you’re worth. Be prepared to demonstrate it. Back it up with examples and counter-offers. There’s no harm in following advice from the likes of Mika Brzezinski, author of Knowing Your Value (and latterly the TV presenter better known for “bleeding from a face-lift”, according to Donald Trump): show your boss what you could do in six months and put a number on it. Don’t talk too much while you’re asking, let them take it in. Never say: “I’m sorry to ask” or “I have childcare issues”. (“No one cares about you and your issues.”)

Transparency and legislation are crucial, of course. And perhaps the playing field will begin to level in the UK when it becomes law – from April 2018 – for companies employing at least 250 workers to publish wage figures. But such measures are slow and will not solve everything. Meanwhile the pay gap will take as much busting from inside as from outside. The message from Sincero, badass money mentor woman, is this: “Uncover what’s holding you back from making money.” Certainly, the culture is. But women are the culture too. Change happens with repeated, individual micro-actions. Or at least that’s how it looks from where I’m standing, looking tough and unlikable in these jewel-encrusted flip-flops.

 

by Viv Groskop, writer and standup comedian

Source: The Guardian

“Migrantes 2017” at TAOMODA

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Presented on 19 th June, just before World Refugee Day, at the Greek Theater of Taormina, the project “Fildis Syracuse – Migrantes 2017”  is the result of an international cooperation of promotion women’s talents and professionalism for social and cultural integration of immigrant women. Invited by Elena Flavia Castagnino Berlinghieri President Fildis Syracuse and UWE Vicepresident, UWE Board represented by President Edith Lommerse, Treasurer Annelies Pierrot -Bults and Secretary General Roxana Elena Petrescu, attended on 15 July the TAOMODA opening event  in the presence of personalities from fashion and television gathered together in the centre of wonderful city of Taormina. A unique piece of clothing designed to support the “Migrantes” Project by Filly Cusenze promoted by volunteer associations Fildis Syracuse and the University Women of Europe was sold at the contemporary exhibition with auction organised on this occasion and with gathered funds will go on buying sewing machines to be donated to migrant women, thus addressing them to a new perspective of professional integration in the fashion industry.

 

“I have created a Suk-spice warm-colored dress, the Tunisian markets that look so much like the Sicilian ones and want to explain the beauty of the different colors. In the decoration, it was created a face that, bored by the usual white or black skin, asks designer Filly Cusenza to have two colors: brown and pink. A woman’s face that wants to open to different cultures of the world to enrich her experiences. The union of different cultures creates wealth, creates beauty.”

 

Next day, surrounded by a beautiful landscape at Taormina Excelsior Palace Hotel we had the honour to attend together with Fildis Syracuse to a fashion design Masterclass led by the designer Filly Cusenza for the brand FILLY BIZ with a group of migrant women from our international Project Migrantes promoted by volunteer associations Fildis Syracuse and the University Women of EuropeFifteen immigrant women participated and together with Filly created tailored made accessories for one piece of dress material to tell their stories and emotions.

 

The purpose of ‘Migrantes project‘ is to create an evolving perspective on the human side of immigration, migration, refugees, asylum-seekers and social justice which is now particularly difficult to cope especially in the Sicilian context.

More than other countries in Europe, Sicily is facing a “biblical exodus” for people moving between Arab countries, Middle East and south Asia escaping from their own realms to reach Europe.

IOM (International Organization of Migration) reported that deaths of all migrants and refugees attempting to reach EU by sea in 2015 now total 2,373: most of them have drowned in overcrowded boats heading for the coasts of Italy. As crossroads in the middle of the Mediterranean, Sicily welcome women that had left their homes with their children in great haste, fleeing before the civil war in search of a future. Their husbands had stayed behind, either because they had joined the combat forces or because they had fallen victim to the bloody conflicts. For these women, the death of their menfolk means there can be no return to their previous lives, even after the war ends. Projects aimed at helping migrants are facing renewed political opposition in some countries. Even facing such an uncertain future, the refugee crisis shows no sign of abating.

The main aim of this project is giving women refugees in Sicily the hope of a brighter future and work opportunities by combining social, fashion and design on the art of tailoring thanks to specially designed training.

In 2016 we started the project with the well-known fashion designer Loredana Roccasalva from Modica (Sicily), to create a special DRESS inspired by woman refugees and their stories. In 2017 the desiner is Filly Bizz.  As sympathetic woman close to social issues, Filly fully agree and crafted for us a stunning dress by using different fibres and patterns from all over the Mediterranean, she tailored a sort of mosaic-overcoat coupled with a pure-white silk dress with flowers evoking positive outlook and hope to reborn (see attached immage). Thanks to Agata Saccone, the Director of Taomoda Fashion Week, the 16 of July 2017 the “Migrantes Project” will performe a masterclass with with first training in sewing, fashion design and embroidery skills. The majority of women, between 18 and 50, are married, with children. For most women, the income they generate will support the entire family.


Call for candidates Jans Gremée award

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The UWE president and the JGA committee calls for candidates for the Jans Gremée Award 2016. Nominations should be entered before the 15th of August 2017 including a motivation maximum 400 words, a colour picture of the candidate and CV.

Criteria for nomination for the JGA

  • The award can only be awarded to a female citizen of Europe.
  • The contribution for the nomination for the award must enhance European Matters and should be innovative.
  • It is not obligatory that the award-winner is a member of UWE/GWI. This is to make UWE   outward-looking and innovative oriented.

Jans Gremmée founder of UWE in 1981
At the occasion of the 16th IFUW Conference in Karlsruhe, Germany, a small group of participants took the initiative for the European associations/federations to start studying the consequences of the European developments for their organizations.

Several meetings were held and in 1975, Jans Gremmée inquired at the IFUW now GWI headquarters if and how headquarters could help to further nomination of capable European women in positions of influence and decision-making in the new Europe.  GWI answered that it would undertake activities on a global level only. This meant that for any actions to the further interests of women in Europe, European associations/federations had to bundle their forces at a regional, European level.

In 1977 a few European participants at the 19th IFUW Conference Stirling, Scotland, took up the initiative to realize the Consultative Status for a new NGO to be founded for the University Women in Europe.  A proposal  thereto was launched by German DAB’s Gisela Kessel (†) and the Dutch VVAO’s Jans Gremmée in 1978. Several meetings were held and during a meeting in Luxembourg 28-29. November 1981 UWE started its official life. At that time, fourteen European NFAs (countries) participated. The Seat was to be in Switzerland. In 1982 the first Executive was chosen, with Jans Gremmée as its president.

Nowadays UWE is a network of Associations of University Women from sixteen European countries working in partnership with the Council of Europe and the European Women’s Lobby to address issues impacting the lives of academic women throughout the European community. Its aim is to work towards an achievement of the goals of the Council of Europe and also to cooperate with all other European governmental and non-governmental organizations dealing with European matters and in particular questions affecting  the lives of academic women.

The Jans Gremmeé award was proposed by the Dutch NFA to encourage and compliment women for their work for a peaceful Europe and a better position for women and girls. Candidates can be proposed by any NFA. Please let us know ultimately 15th of August 2017 at boarduwe@gmail.com.

Call to host AGM 2018 and a Meet and Greet 2018

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The UWE Board is pleased to invite applications from NFA’s interested in hosting the UWE Conference in 2018. The host NFA will be assisted by the Board in relation to the Conference programme.  Applications, including a short proposal in PowerPoint, for presentation at the UWE Conference in Graz  2017, should be made to Boarduwe@gmail.com to arrive 15th of August at the latest. There is ample material to use for organizing the Conference and the UWE Board will assist with the theme, PR and programming. The AGM is held around the end of August 2018.

Call to Host Possible Meet and Greet 2018
The concept of a Meet and Greet originates from a try out in Amsterdam follow up with a successful event in London.  It was judged to be very worthwhile, productive and informative, as well as being an opportunity for members from different NFA’s to meet, exchange views, form friendships and learn from each other.  As the cost for attending should be low it is an opportunity for members of your NFA to be introduced to the international work of UWE.
A Meet and Greet 2018, again taking place around Europe Day (9 May 2018), would further inform both existing and potential members in an informal setting, would give further focus to UWE and strengthen the ties already made.

Applications are therefore requested from NFA’s who would be interested in hosting a Meet and Greet weekend in May 2018. The host NFA would be assisted by the Board in regard to themes and presentations for the day. A Meet and Greet is a kind of friendship tour combined with introductions and updates on the international work of UWE in the EWL and the INGO conference of the Council of Europe.