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.
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.
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.
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:
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
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:
At the GWI-NL AGM April 2019, the members approved the annual report 2018, the budget 2019 and (re-)appointed the board , the yearly membership fee for GWI-NL was enhanced to € 37,50, the AGM approved GWI-NL joining two other women’s NGO’s in the Netherlands namely: the Dutch Women’s Council (NVR) and WO=MEN.
In view of the GWI 100 year theme ‘Peace through Education’ Marie Bamutese, now living in Belgium and a former refugee from Rwanda, co-author of the book MARIE – Surviving with death (Leuven, 2015) gave a lecture “A case from Rwanda” about the problems refugees encounter in our societies. Marie was elected as Woman of Peace 2016 in Belgium. Together with her husband, Belgian VRT-journalist Peter Verlinden, she wrote her story. The book is a pressing personal account of the genocide in Congo, 1996. After the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 a lot of Rwandese fled to East-Congo. However it wasn’t safe there either. In 1996 under the eyes of the UN a new, silent genocide took place. More than a half million Rwandese were bombed in the refugee camps by troops of the Rwandese president Kagame.
Participation UWE Meet & Greet in Dundee, Scotland 17-19 May 2019, conference theme: “My Identity. My Story”, the conference was a combination of discussion, culture and friendship.
Participation UWE AGM 2019 which took place during the GWI Triennial General Assembly in Geneva and UWE Collective Complaints procedure on Equal Pay.
Participation GWI-NL at GWI Triennial AGM and Centennial Conference “Peace Through Education” – July 2019
Some 10 members of GWI-NL joined the 33th GWI Triennial AGM and Conference in Geneva. GWI-NL proposed a resolution on Women and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in cooperation with NFA’s from Lithuania, Russia and England. The resolution was accepted.
GWI-NL members took part in the annual German speaking friendship meeting of the DACH (NFA’s of Germany, Austria and Switzerland) in Dresden, Germany, October 2019. The theme of the conference was: ‘Mitte Europas – Sachsen im Wandel’. GWI-NL will participate in the organisation of the DACH(H)-Treffen in 2020, which will take place in the Netherlands. Because of COVID-19 this meeting is postponed until the spring of 2021.
1.Sexual and reproductive health education as a human right for all – by Marieke Ridders from Rutgers, the Dutch expertise centre on sexual and reproductive health, and rights
2.Skype presentation by Fabiola Wollants of AMUS, El Salvador on “SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH EDUCATION AS A HUMAN RIGHT FOR ALL”, GWI 2019 Resolution no
3. GWI-NL Workshop: developed suggestions for AMUS
At a global perspective we’ve seen a large push back from many different communities like the global gag rule. Some governments released a policy that restricts access to safe abortion services and information for women worldwide. Nowadays The Rutgers Organization, and other international planned parenthood federation experience a strong push back on comprehensive sexual education program (CSE).
CSE is mainly based on prevention. It helps young people to get to know their own body and to prevent a lack of self-confidence. It helps them in problem-solving and give them trust, rather than controlling. CSE forms the basis for later behavior regarding sexual contacts.
Some results of the GWI-NL workshop with suggestions and ideas which have been presented to AMUS, El Salvador:
- Start with finding out the root course of the lack of sexual and reproductive rights in El Salvador and then connect with the grass-root actions, among others, by using social media if possible where men and boys are prominently included.
- The Netherlands has experienced that contacts with and education of the police is essential and use positive statements of the church.
- Also try to find allies in the educational sector and use GWI as a champion in your overall approach.
- Important is also GWI’s regional network as your regional power and connect to the other NFAs in South and Central America and of course to Panama who is the co-signer of this resolution.
- Look for success stories in hospitals and clinics. Positive storytelling/emotions are of utmost importance.
- You could emphasize that El Salvador’s economic value increases when women’s sexual and reproductive health is addressed.
Success for SDG goal 3, Good Health & Well-being is also rewarding for politicians; you create a “win/win” situation.
Programme GWI-NL 2020/2021
- July 2020: GWI-NL Webinar: ‘Graduate Women International – Significance for GWI-NL’
- September 2020: GWI-NL AGM & Lecture
- October 2020: NVR Young Feminist Weekend 2020 in The Hague
- November 2020: GWI-NL Expert Meeting in The Hague: Corruption in Education
Corruption in Education from a European perspective in relation to SDG 16”; compare the report “The Global Corruption Report” which Transparency International published in 2013. Corruption can be found at all levels of our education systems, undermining the right to education, from ghost schools and fake diplomas, to undue corporate influence in university research. https://www.transparency.org/whatwedo/publication/global_corruption_report_edu cation
- Spring 2021: Visit to the European Parliament in Brussels
- 28-30 May 2021 DACH(H)-Treffen in 2021 in Rotterdam
- Summer 2021: GWI-NL Webinar on Twinning Activities
On behalf of GWI-NL:
Local Associations have been adapting in many innovative ways during these strange times, as has the Management Team.
After a successful email Executive in March, the regretful cancellation of an International Day in June, planned to include GWI President Terry Oudraad, on July 19 the finale of a successful and innovative ‘virtual’ AGM of the British Federation of Women Graduates took place via a Zoom session attended by 27 Members.
President Patrice Wellesley-Cole (top row two in from right) concluded the business which had been conducted via email over the past few weeks, making several ‘thank yous‘ and announcing Sudha Srivastava (Top second from left ) as the newly appointed Alternate CIR/CER .
BFWG is now adopting a system of ‘One woman One vote’ starting in 2021.
Many Registrants are donating their returned AGM Registration fee towards the Hegg Hoffet fund.
We welcome incoming President Jasmit Kaur Phull.(Middle column second row up).
Dr Gillian Hilton is carrying out research on challenges faced by women in the workplace and another Member has interviewed some of us in the so-called called ‘silent post war generation’ about attitudes to voting and particularly with respect to Europe.
Over the Summer Members also enjoyed a lively Questions and Answer Zoom session with noted historian Prof Mary Beard.
In early September our President Jasmit invited Dr Elizabeth Poskitt, noted Paediatrician, former International and British Federation President and Jans Gremee Award Winner, to address British Members and English speaking Members of UWE, via Zoom.
‘Adapt to survive‘ has to be our motto!
On behalf of BFWG:
Jenny Morley/ CIR-CER
Founded in 1925, the Irish Federation of University Women (IrFUW) has four associations (Queen’s Women Graduates, Trinity Women Graduates, Galway University Women Graduates and University College Dublin Women Graduates), representing Ireland and Northern Ireland, including linked members and candidate graduates.
With current 211 membership, it’s purpose is to bring together University Women in Ireland to uphold the aims of Graduate Women International (GWI) . Key Activities for IrFUW 2019-2020: Annual Conference hosted in Dublin by Trinity Women Graduates, Public Speaking Competition,Council Meeting, hosted in University College Dublin, we planned UWE Meet & Greet for May 2020 in close collaboration with UWE Board. IrFUW continued close work with UWE regarding Collective Complaint for equality of pay.
Association activities include: social and online events, including online book clubs, discussion panels and talks, access Programme – bursary to finance student through four-year university degree- bursaries for Postgraduate Masters in Education students, financial support for Aidlink, a charity which supports girls’ schools in East Africa, funding of Study Days for Primary School pupils in University Outreach Science Lab, co-hosting of careers series event with Faculty of Engineering Mathematics and Science and ongoing project to encourage more girls to study engineering.
Our Public Speaking Competition continues to succeed and remain a highlight in the IrFUW calendar. Supporting UWE regarding the Collective Complaint for equality of pay. Planned to host the UWE Meet & Greet in Dublin at UCD. This was organised in close collaboration with the UWE Board. We were excited to welcome friends from other associations. At previous conferences / Friendship Visits the Irish delegation is consistently the largest group (other than the host country) emphasising the close links between IrFUW and the European federations and UWE.
The key challenge of this year has and remains Covid-19. We have reconsidered many planned events and introduced online events. We have also postponed others, most notable being UWE Meet & Greet (May 2020), IrFUW Annual Conference (October 2020). We hope to host the UWE Meet & greet in the future. Other challenges: to make our organisation and individual associations better known in the community, ensure sustainability by encouraging new members, to drive awareness and promote involvement and engagement in issues of national and international concern.
IrFUW Goals 2020-2021 would be to encourage cooperation and friendship through attendance of online initiatives and events, to actively increase membership, to continue and further develop our support for students at all levels in Ireland, to pursue and extend our efforts to promote study of STEM subjects among girls and to continue to promote the press release for the Collective Complaint, increasing media attention.
On behalf of the Irish Federation of University Women:
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
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.
- 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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
We are looking forward for your questions, comments and feedback, preferably until September, 17, two days before our virtual meeting!
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.