Museums for ALL

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After the first meeting dedicated to barrier-free museums and to the blind people held in 2016 in Palermo at Palazzo Branciforte and GAM Gallery, a public panel conference “Museums for all: technologies for the free use of cultural heritage” was held on May 12, hosted by the Museum of Papyrus “Corrado Basile” at Siracusa, Italy.

In convention with the municipality of Siracusa the conference was focused on the theme of technologies for inclusion and accessibility to cultural heritage. The idea, was born according to the determination of Giovanni Taormina, the group coordinator of GruppoArte16, together with Professor Renato Tomasino, providing a series of interventions in addition to practical demonstrations of technological innovations already available, realized by StartUp ( EngiMark and In.Sight), VipSystem and the Orpheo multinational. Among the partners , the Academy of Fine Arts in Palermo, the Euro-Mediterranean Institute of Science and Technology and ICOM for the Sicilian Regional District.

UWE is continuing its partnership with FILDIS Siracusa and other prestigious partners, including the Italian Ministry for Cultural and Environmental Heritage and Tourism, to organize and implement actions to integrating culture in the conception and practice of development with a view to advancing inclusive, equitable, and sustainable development. Among the main aims is to promote the integration of both able and disabled-bodied, especially woman within the challenging environment in all mainstream systems of society, including cultural experience and vocational training.

The forum explored the challenges, strategies, and opportunities for fostering diversity and inclusion in the art museum community.

The discussion featured:

  • Introduction: Anna Di Natale, Director of the International Museum of Papyrus “Corrado Basile”, Bernadette Lo Bianco, President of the “Sicily Tourism for All” and member of FILDIS Siracusa executive Board
  • Institutional Welcome: Anthony Barbagallo, Councilor for Tourism, Sports and Entertainment of the Sicilian Region, Francesco Italia, Vice Mayor, Councilor for Cultural Heritage and Tourism, Tourism, Performances, Unesco and Sporting Policies in Siracusa, Giuseppe Piccione, Chairman of the Siracusa 2750 Committee.
  • Panelist: Rosalba Panvini, Sebastiano Tusa, Elena Flavia Castagnino Berlinghieri, Laura Giarrè, Federica Fernadez, Ilenia Tinnirello, Mario Zito.

A prestigious Roundtable included the most influential figures in the field of cultural heritage: Rosalba Panvini (Superintendent of Cultural Heritage of Syracuse), Sebastiano Tusa (Superintendent of the Sea for Cultural Heritage of the Sicilian Region), Elena Flavia Castagnino Berlinghieri (Full Professor of Archaeology, European Vice President of UWE, President FILDIS Siracusa), Laura Giarrè (Full professor of the Department of Engineering of E. Ferrari of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia), Federica Fernadez (Director of the Interdepartmental Center for Nanotechnologies and Innovative Materials for the Health, architecture and cultural heritage of I.ME.ST), Ilenia Tinnirello (Associate Professor at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Palermo) and Mario Zito (Director of the Academy of Fine Arts in Palermo) .

Delivering her speech on the main challenges facing this field, UWE vice President Prof. Elena Flavia Castagnino Berlinghieri underlined the importance of cooperation and inclusion: ” promoting activities highlighting that ‘culture’ can be a powerful driver for growth, with community-wide social (without any distinction between gender or able-disable bodied) impact, as well as economic and environmental impacts”. She also stressed the contributions and efforts given by UWE and FILDIS to promoting intercultural dialogue to harness social cohesion thereby, creating an environment conducive to development. She also closed the speech by saying “the conference represents an important occasion for me from two points views: from one side, it will give me the chance to introduce my work as Archaeologist to the scientific community in the field of accessibility; from the other side, it will also give me the opportunity to underline the efforts given by FILDIS and UWE Associations in the protection of women’s rights and in the promotion of culture, ethics and legality against all forms of violence and discrimination, with particular attention to discomfort situations and the development of free sharing actions with capacity to engage and innovative awareness. I would like to remind to the audience that the first “Technical round-table” on the pregnant theme of this striking conference was promoted by FILDIS Siracusa in the 2012 in the context of “ART Conversations: Worship and Culture without Barriers” in conversation with the FILDIS member Prof. Bernadette Lo Bianco (November 6, 2012). In that circumstance, FILDIS Syracuse hosted one of the first work-oriented approach aimed at proposing solutions to achieve inclusion, accessibility and usability of Siracusa’s cultural heritage at 360 °. For this reason, in the 2012 conversation, members of the Institutions and experts from various professional fields took part in discussing how-when-why to overcome the physical and perceptual barriers (sensory and intellectual), respecting and safeguarding the architectural and artistic value of the same, as well as liturgical and protection needs. This important conference underscores this commitment and highlights how today’s institutional sensibility has matured to begin to look in a concrete and effective way in this specific area of hospitality. ”

Press release in Italian


Reflections of CSW61 by Marita Salo, CIR of Finnish Federation of Graduate Women

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CSW61 opening session.

The sixty-first session of the Commission on the Status of Women took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 13 to 24 March 2017 and I had the opportunity to participate the event during the first week as an advisor to the Finnish delegation. CSW is the second largest event at the UN and it shows – the event gathers thousands of participants all over the world. During these two weeks the huge UN headquarter building looks very much like a global village run by women.  The general discussion is held in the huge General Assembly Hall that you can recognise from news clips. At the same time, the numerous conference rooms of the UN building are full of side events organised by permanent missions and UN entities. In addition to that, NGOs are organising parallel events outside the UN premises.

The Finnish delegation started each day with a morning briefing and that was an excellent opportunity to learn the highlights of the previous day, allocate the most important events between the participants and get to know the special interests of the other members. That enabled efficient coverage of the most important events with the resources at hand. It was interesting to note that many countries seemed to have sizeable delegations with numerous NGO representatives.

It has to be said that sitting in the General Assembly Hall was impressive as you can see the signs of more than 190 member states and their delegates sitting behind the desks. It is a unique space with an universal atmosphere that is difficult to describe as any word seems inadequate. We heard carefully drafted speeches and also some dramatic ones. It is fascinating that somehow cultural stereotypes become alive and walk along the long corridors of the complex UN building.

As a first-timer I missed a couple of interesting events because the conference rooms were full in just minutes and the Finnish generally accepted queuing model did not apply. It was easy to get sympathy from the Britons in this issue. Fortunately, the offering of different events was endless – if only you were able to find your way to the right place. Luckily the security guards were everywhere and able to answer any question with clear instructions.

Finnish Federation of Graduate Women (FFGW) has been the coordinator of the organising parties behind the International Helvi Sipilä seminar since 2006. The topic of the 12th seminar organised on 16th  March 2017 was Empowered Futures – Sustainable Economies.  The seminar was opened by the Finnish Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Pirkko Mattila followed by prominent speakers such as Senior Research Scientist Sari Pekkala Kerr from Wellesley College, General Secretary Malayah Harper from World YWCA and Programme Specialist Nancy Khweiss from Fund for Gender Equality, UN Women. The seminar was chaired by Eva Biaudet, a member of Parliament and President of the National Council of Women Finland. We had full house in spite of having the last session of the day and the instant feedback from the crowd and the speakers was very positive.

Ms. Sari Pekkala Kerr giving an excellent presentation

During the week I was happy to meet some other members of the  “Graduate Women family” and we had interesting discussions concluded with promises to keep in touch and to meet again soon. Next chance will be in Graz, Austria in August this year.

When you attend dozens of events during one week, the ones with something unique stand out from the crowd. During this week, my personal list includes the opening speech of General Secretary António Guterras that was impressive and carefully crafted, the discussion forum with Dr. Hanan Ashrawi who was inspiring and articulate and the brilliant presentation by Sari Pekkala Kerr who made the Finnish audience extremely proud.

The week at CSW61 gave a new perspective and context not only to my pro bono work but also to my daily work. The challenges and obstacles women face in different corners of the world are quite different on the surface but still they all boil down to the lack of equality and lack of equal opportunity.

More information about CSW61 can be found at the website of UN Women.
The seminar program can be found here

Text and photos:

Marita Salo
Coordinator of International Relations,

Finnish Federation of Graduate Women

FILDIS and UWE for international meeting on female military force

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A meeting Donne in Divisa” (Women in uniform) organized by FILDIS and UWE, hosted a delegation of US Navy and US Air Force women and a group of Italian military women belonging to the Armed Forces and the Police.

The event, which is part of the International Women’s Day celebrations, was held at the Syracuse University of Catania – SDS Architettura Università on 28 of March, 2017.

The Naval Air Station (NAS) Sigonella Military, from the NAVSUP Logistic Command and the Remote Pilot Aircraft Group of Air Force aeronautical, and the group of Italian military women belonging to the Armed Forces and Order (State Police, Carabinieri, Guard of Finance) shared their professional experiences during a moderate round table by UWE Vicepresident Phd. Elena Flavia Castagnino Berlinghieri  and the Head of Communications at NAS Phd. Alberto Lunetta.

The entry of women into the Armed Forces and the Guardia di Finanza aims to answer the female aspirations and the needs of the Armed Forces. As claimed by the Ministry of Defence, women’s recruitment is in fact the implementation response of a new model of defence, in line with the new tasks and operational scenarios envisaged for the Armed Forces (increase in international missions, peace keeping activities),which is a completely professional and fully integrated tool with those of the European and NATO countries that have, for a much longer time, been female staff in their queues. In this respect, the publication NATO Women in the NATO Armed Forces, published in 2000, is a very useful reference term.

The event, whose purpose is to make the role of women in the armed forces more widely known to the public and to offer ideas for reflection and inspiration on leadership and managerial style, and on how to reconcile work and family, was addressed by Phd. Gabriella Ioppolo, Questore of Syracuse and the delegations of military women of State Police, Guardia di Finanza, Carabinieri, Navy Military and US Military of Sigonella.

Source: Siracusalife

Photo credit: Salvo Trommino

Gender pay gap must be declared by UK companies

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According to BBC News, companies with 250 or more employees will have to publish their gender pay gaps within the next year under a new legal requirement.

The UK gender pay gap is 18.1% for all workers, or 9.4% for full-time staff.


Women and Equalities minister Justine Greening said “helping women to reach their full potential isn’t only the right thing to do, it makes good economic sense…today we have made gender pay gap mandatory – a key step to closing the gender pay gap“.

About half of the UK workforce will be affected by the new reporting rules, which encompass 9,000 employers and more than 15 million employees.

Public, private and voluntary sector firms are now all required to disclose average pay for men and women, including any bonuses. Firms must publish a snapshot of their employee pay as at 5 April 2017 if they are a private business or charity, or 31 March 2017 for those in the public sector. All the data will eventually be available on a government database.

A few firms had already published their figures prior to the government’s campaign launch.

The gender pay gap refers to the difference in average pay between men and woman, which the Office for National Statistics works out using median hourly earnings figures for UK employees.

Other countries are also working to eradicate the gender pay gap. Iceland is debating a bill that would require companies with more than 25 employees to prove they do not discriminate between male and female workers.

The country has the smallest gap, according to the World Economic Forum’s Gender Pay Gap Index, while the UK is in 20th place.



Kit Against sexism

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For the first time, the word SEXISM has entered into the labour code with a new specific “sexist acts” provision.

Manifestations of sexism at work take many forms, they can be experienced differently by those who are victims of it and can have repercussions on the professional lives of employees.

While a certain number of acts and behaviours on the grounds of sex (discrimination on grounds of sex, insults on grounds of sex) or sexual connotation (sexual harassment, etc.) described hereafter (appendix) are already covered by the law, what we call “everyday sexism” has recently been subject to a specific provision in the labour code regarding the banning of “all sexist acts”, arising from the act of 17th August 2015 relating to social dialogue and employment. The act of 8th August 2016 relating to labour, the modernisation of social dialogue and the safeguarding of career paths has strengthened these provisions.

The Higher Council for professional equality between men and women (CSEP), introduces this new legislation to you, as well as three tools to act within your company:

Two awards for the Spanish Federation of University Women – Marbella on International Woman’s Day

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Very proud to announce all our members and friends that on the International Woman’s Day, the Spanish Federation of University Women(SFUW) Marbella has received two awards, one from the Town Hall of Marbella and another from the Diputación of Málaga (the most important political representation in the province of Málaga). Congratulations for their work in empowering women!
The speech at the Town Hall of Marbella thanking the Mayor and the Council of Equality for the award was based on the HE for SHE slogan. Some husbands joined us for the celebration in the Town Hall. Both awards were for our work in empowering women through education. So far we have 16 young women at University thanks to our scholarships” – Garbiñe Larrazabal, President of Marbella Chapter SFUW.
Here with the “He for She cards” in Marbella
Here with The Major of Marbella
The Málaga Award

EWL at CSW61

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Like every year, the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) will take part to the 61st session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (13-24 March). EWL membership is very active during CSW61, organising side events and influencing the negotiations on the Conclusions which should be adopted by the UN member states at the end of the session.

This year’s priority theme is “Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work” and the emerging issue is ’The empowerment of Indigenous women”. Ahead of CSW61, the EWL had sent, together with its members, a joint statement highlighting the situation of women domestic workers. We have also made comments on the zero draft of the conclusions.

During CSW, the EWL is organising two events :

  • A side event co-organised with Belgium and Iceland, on “The Nordic Model on prostitution: a key step to ensure girls’ and young women’s economic empowerment”, on Wednesday 15 March, 8.15-9.30am, in conference room 8 of the UN.

  • A parallel event co-sponsored by NAWO Youth, Unizon, Wagggs, the European YWCA and Rights4Girls, on “#HerFuture: Challenges & opportunities for girls’ and young women’s economic empowerment”, on Wednesday 15 March, 2.30-4pm, at the Salvation Army (downstairs).

Other EWL members’ events:

EWL Secretariat members will also be speaking at:

EWL will take part to the EU-briefing, and will co-facilitate the meetings of the caucus for Europe and North America:

  • Wednesday 15 March, 6.15-7.45pm, Boss room Church Center
  • Monday 20 March, 6.15-7.45pm, 2nd floor Church Center

The list of NGO events is here. The list of official side events is here.