Today, across the globe more than half of humanity is confined, this is unheard of. Our democracies and human rights are affected, and especially the rights of vulnerable women.
We want to be united, attentive and concerned for each other and for our common future.
In particular, we need to have regard to the people who are suffering from daily violence, and especially women and children who are affected by domestic violence.
I would like to urge NFAs to lobby their governments to safeguard access to women suffering from domestic violence.
As well as ensuring support facilities for affected women and children, we also need to be aware of the need to continue to focus on prevention, including facilities for angry and violent men.
These need to be in place in every country, and therefore we would like all national associations to make a call to immediately ensure the existence of such facilities in each country.
Few interesting articles here:
Home is not a safe place for everyone (As “social distancing” is urged to contain the coronavirus outbreak , home is exactly where the danger lies for some)
We thank our Irish friends who had prepared a very interesting Meet & Greet for us, regrettably of course they had to cancel it. For the moment we are maintaining the AFFDU Centenary on September 17 and 18 and the AGM in Paris on September 19, we will open the registration if the situation allows.
We recognize that in these difficult times many of us are isolating at home, and have time on our hands. We also need to support each other, and stay in touch. Therefore we thought it would be a good idea to invite members to weekly contribute to our blog; as we are reaching out to all our members we thought a good name for this special newsletter would be ‘REACHING OUT – IN SOLIDARITY‘.
We welcome your thoughts, ideas and experiences. Feel free to send us at firstname.lastname@example.org approximately 400 words including spaces, on what you are experiencing, by means of texts, poems, paintings, or various artistic expressions. Exchanges can also take place if you wish via comments section below the article posted.
Keep safe and connected,
Dr. Anne Bergheim – Negré
President University Women of Europe
The recommendation on equality between women and men has been adopted by the Conference of INGOs on 30 October 2019.
This recommendation was proposed by Anne Nègre , President of University Women of Europe and Vice-President in charge of Equality with the participation of: Association of Women of Southern Europe (AFEM), University Women of Europe (UWE), and support by: European Centre of the International Council of Women (ECICW), European Network church on the Move (EN/RE), European Union of Women (EUW), Intereuropean Commission on Church and School (ICCS), International Alliance of Women (IAW), Soroptimist International Europe (SIE), Zonta International (ZI), European Buddhist Union (EBU), ANDANTE Europa, European Action of the Disabled, (AEH), Conference of European Churches (CEC).
Here you can read the entire text of the recommendation on equality between women and men. The Conference of INGOs calls on Members States to respect and defend this essential Human Rights assets.
english version or french version
Another concern is the drift of artificial intelligence, with its gender bias, that is uncontrolled, reproducing by increasing inequalities between women and men, the sexist abuses probably linked to the lack of women in science.
Artificial Intelligence is transforming the decision-making processes, it has become part of our daily life, changing our rights. Research had shown that currently AI is not gender neutral, so today gender equality is not done in algorithms. Also, only about 15% of programmers are female and this makes for a salary difference between women and men. AI reproduces the exclusion of vulnerable people, not only women.
The Recommendation on preventing and combating sexism has been adopted yesterday by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers.
In response to the #MeToo and other recent movements that have heightened awareness of persistent sexism in society, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers adopted the first-ever international legal instrument to stop sexism, which includes the first international definition of sexism.
UWE President Anne Nègre, as the representative of the Conference of INGOs, was in the writing group and is very happy of this result.
The recommendation stresses that sexism is a manifestation of “historically unequal power relations” between women and men, which leads to discrimination and prevents the full advancement of women in society.
Because it is “widespread and prevalent in all sectors and all societies, and (…) sexism and sexist behaviour are rooted in and reinforce gender stereotypes,” sexism is defined for the first time ever in a dedicated legal instrument to tackle it, via a comprehensive list of measures and areas where sexism occurs, from advertising and media, to employment, the justice sector, education and sport. The text in particular aims to shed light on what sexist behaviour is and proposes concrete ways for different actors to identify and address them.
It requests that member states monitor progress in implementing its guidelines and to inform the Council of Europe’s Gender Equality Commission of measures taken and progress achieved.
The recommendation aims to address issues with which women, but also sometimes, men, are confronted with every day. Notably, it makes the link between sexism and violence against women and girls, explaining that acts of “everyday” sexism are “part of a continuum of violence that create a climate of intimidation, fear, discrimination, exclusion and insecurity which limits opportunities and freedom.”
Examples of recommended action include legislative reforms that both condemn sexism and define and criminalise sexist hate speech, and provide for appropriate remedies for victims of sexist behaviour.
The recommendation calls on states to use awareness-raising measures including “speedy reactions” by public figures, in particular politicians, religious, economic and community leaders, and others in a position to shape public opinion, to condemn sexism.
The recommendation also stresses that language and communication “must not consecrate the hegemony of the masculine model”. It calls for the use of non-stereotypical communication to educate, raise awareness and prevent sexist behaviour. For example, it recommends ending the use of sexist expressions, and using gender-sensitive language.
The recommendation focuses, too, on recent technologies. While the internet and social media can promote free expression and gender equality, they also can allow “perpetrators” to express “abusive thoughts” and engage in abusive behaviour, the recommendation notes.
It takes into account artificial intelligence and how algorithms can “transmit and strengthen” existing gender stereotypes and therefore may contribute to the perpetuation of sexism.
Anne is doing a great job for UWE on the European Social Charter and will give a speech about Equal Pay and the collective complaints at our Conference in Rome. She is the only candidate for the President and will be invited to present herself to be elected at the Annual General Meeting in Rome.
On 24 January, our colleague Anne Nègre – Gender Equality Expert was elected for three years as Vice-President in charge of Equality at the Conference of INGOs. The former President Anna Rurka was re-elected for a 2nd three year term. Congratulations to them, they’ve done a great work!
Meanwhile, for the first time a woman from Bosnia, has been elected as Human Rights Commissioner by the Parliamentary Assembly of the CoE. The PACE has elected María Elósegui Ichaso as Judge at the European Court of Human Rights.
The Gender Equality Commission of the Council of Europe (GEC) helps to ensure gender equality mainstreaming in all policies of the 47 member States. The Committee of Ministers has asked the GEC to prepare a draft recommendation to combat sexism. The final objective is to fight sexism in order to have more equality, less violence, less hate speech and cybercrime etc., in the different member states. As representative of the Conference of INGOs, Anne Negre have been invited to participate in the drafting committee of the draft recommendation. The drafting committee would like to have your opinion on this issue and I invite you to answer the following questions to strengthen our impact in the elaboration of this document:
- What areas do you consider should be covered by a Council of Europe recommendation to prevent and combat sexism?
- Who should be the target groups included in such a recommendation?
- What type of measures would you suggest to be included?
- Could you please highlight good practices in this area?
- Do you have other points?
Please find enclosed links to two documents on the subject. You will also find here an interesting « Kit against sexism »that could be useful in your INGO:
Please feel free to forward these questions to other INGOs or NGOs. The deadline for replies is 1 June 2017.
Please DO NOT SEND YOUR ANSWERS TO NGO-UNIT BUT TO ANNE NEGRE AT: email@example.com
The Conference of European Churches, in partnership with the Theological School of Aristotle University, organized the 3rd Annual Summer School on Human Rights “Stand up for Women’s and Children’s Rights!” from 31 May to 4 June in Thessaloníki.
More than 90 people, from different countries and representing a number of denominations, participated in the opening of the Summer School. Dr Anne Negre, gender equality expert from the Conference of INGOs at the Council of Europe was one of the main speakers invited. Here you can read her entire intervention on Women’s rights and Gender Equality seen by CoE
Other main speakers: Dr Fulata Mbano-Moyo, World Council of Churches programme executive for Women in Church and Society and Rev. Dr Patrick Schnabel, a European legal advisor for the EKD (Evangelical Church in Germany), representatives from NATO, European universities and many CEC Member Churches and Organisations in Partnership.
Among issues related to women’s rights participants discussed human and organ trafficking, sexual exploitation, working conditions and pay, an equal level of education and progress in the work place, arranged marriages and female genital mutilation. The situation of women and children was highlighted and discussed from legal, theological, and practical angles. In many cases, women and children are discriminated or denied their fundamental rights, such as the right to food, shelter, education, access to health care, participation in society and so on. In some European countries one of three women are victim or a potential victim of different forms of violence, including sexual violence and harassment. Children often face various types of violence and abuse on a daily basis, including bullying in schools. With regard to refugee women and children, the situation is direr still.
Participants agreed that a common response is needed by states, societies, churches and other religious organizations, as human dignity does not have gender or age. The summer school facilitated the exchange about best practices on how to promote gender equality and the rights of the child in church and society.
Summer School participants learned about international, European, and national legal frameworks on the protection of the rights children and women. The United Nation’s Convention on the Right of the Child (CRC) and monitoring systems related to it are especially important for child-centred responses and safeguarding their best interests.
Close analysis of biblical passages and traditional teachings of the churches helped shape discussions. There was a call for a self-critical theology that takes children as a starting point and gives them a voice.
There were several study trips, including to the Centre for Roma Minors, to the premises to the NGO NAOMI, and to the refugee relocation center Diavata. The students who attended the summer school had also possibility to pass the exam from this subject and receive credit for their studies.