European Women’s Lobby (EWL) in dialogue with the National Council of Women of Ukraine
EWL webinar, 3 March 2022 from 9.30 to 12.00 CET
Registration by 2nd of March:
The National Council of Women in Ukraine, member of ECICW (European Centre of the International Council of Women), sounded the alarm bell on rising tensions as tens of thousands of Russian troops gathered at the borders of Ukraine, despite announced withdrawal. Women and girls have suffered severely under the ongoing war and fear a new outburst of violence, which to the detriment of all, became a reality in February 2022.
EWL wishes to stand with her sisters in Ukraine. Today more than ever: Peace is our human right and claim. We wish to listen to their voices and invite them to describe the situation of women and girls, to lead a discussion together on what pressure we can exert on our governments, the EU institutions and the international community involving the women’s movement, in the context of the existing peace agreements and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda (UNSCR 1325).
Since 2014, the armed conflict in Ukraine led to 13.000 deaths and 31.000 wounded. With a focus on this armed conflict, the needs and rights of women and girls have been marginalised, causing greater inequalities. Women are overwhelmingly taking responsibility for the continuity of civil life. The new militarisation multiplies the experience of intergenerational violence against women. In many parliaments, the issue is under discussion and was also on the agenda at the European summit (25th of May). The situation of women and girls must be taken more seriously.
In 2021, the EWL General Assembly adopted a motion which called for support to the National Council of Women if Ukraine.
The adopted motion called for a number of actions, notably, an invitation to the National Council of Women of Ukraine to inform EWL members about the situation of women and girls in Ukraine and to discuss concrete actions that EWL members can take to support peace and conflict resolution. This webinar is being organised in this context.
Given the current situation in Ukraine, the webinar aimed essentially at the EWL members and their members will focus on advocacy actions that can be taken collectively to alert EU political decision-makers but only in consultation with women of Ukraine.
Today the International Day to End Violence against Women we kick off the #16DaysofActivism!
Male violence against women and girls (VAWG) is as an international long-term pandemic and has been recognised a fundamental human rights violation whose impacts know no borders. It happens across Europe, affecting over 250 million women and girls, and yet due to a lack of European harmonisation of legislation, the remedies and prevention methods taken by governments are haphazard and a lottery for the women and girls experiencing violence.
Violence against women and girls threatens the security of half of the population in the EU; 1 in 3 of women in Europe are affected by physical and/or sexual violence and 1 in 2 women in the EU have experienced sexual harassment since the age of 15. Furthermore, according to the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), the economic cost for violence against women and girls is estimated to €289 Billion a year – prevention not only saves money, but it saves the lives of women and girls.
Both in the current context of the increase of male violence against women and girls in the Covid-19 crisis and also looking towards the future, we need concerted action and harmonisation at the EU level to ensure all women and girls are treated equally and violence is adequately prevented. EU legal action is needed to ensure equal rights between women and men in all EU member states during times of crisis, at least as much as in times of stability. The development of new types or new ways of perpetrating violence, especially in the digital sphere, has also significantly increased.
The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) calls on the European Commission to urgently move ahead with its commitments, laid out in the Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025 and in the 2021 State of the Union address by President Von Der Leyen, by adopting a comprehensive legislative framework, grounded in a horizontal Directive that holistically prevents, combats and eliminates all forms of male violence against women and girls, including sexual exploitation and online violence.
Ahead of the release of the European Commission’s proposal on 8 December 2021, the European Women’s Lobby has summarised its views and recommendations in a Paper calling on the European Commission to propose ambitious EU legal actions to fight violence against women and girls. This paper is based on a research project conducted by legal academic experts to evaluate the potential scope and legal basis for the Directive and is the result of consultation with our membership throughout the EU.
EWL’s key recommendations for the Directive include the adoption and enhancement of the gold standards of the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention – to date the most comprehensive international treaty on the topic. The Directive must address all forms of violence against women and girls, including work-related, public sphere online or offline, as well as to explicitly address sexual exploitation, and violence against women subject to intersecting forms of discrimination. EWL also underlines the need to ensure the harmonisation of existing EU legislative instruments relative to forms of violence against women and girls.
The paper takes the evolving environment into account and explores adding VAWG to the list of Eurocrimes, as well as other possible legal bases to prevent and combat some forms, if not all, of violence against women and girls.
This is a key moment in the long history of our movement’s fight against male VAWG, and it is crucial that all EU Institutions and Member States step up and play their part: together, we can disrupt the continuum of violence and create an EU where all women and girls live free from violence and the fear of it.
Message from members of European Women’s Lobby (EWL) national coordination in Turkey:
The situation in Turkey is getting worse. Recently 11 MP’s/leaders of the Kurdish Party (HDP) were arrested, the Democratic Party of the Peoples (HDP) announced the suspension of parliamentary activities on behalf of their party. The state of emergency continues and every day there is another statutory decree which bypasses the constitution. The societal polarization is huge.
The Women’s Coalition in Turkey (an independent women’s platform which is very closely linked to the EWL Coordination for Turkey), recently made this statement and calls for solidarity for all the women in Turkey.
“Women’s Coalition – Turkey: WE ARE HERE! It is high time for Coalition. All and every single one of us are under attack. There is an attempt to convert us into a huge colorless and shapeless crowd. They will not succeed! We are here with all the hope and conviction we have. We stand up for each other. We stand up for our future, for hope, for equality and for democracy.”
University Women of Europe together with EWL strongly supports the Women’s Coalition and calls on all its members and friends to do so. We will follow up the situation closely.