WIDE+ and EWL International Conference “Movements, Borders, Rights? Feminist perspectives on global issues in Europe“ 24-25 October, 2016, Brussels, Belgium

The world seems to be in turmoil, and Europe is deeply affected as economic and political power is reconfiguring on a global scale. The recent Brexit is an expression of the deep divide in many countries, with right-wing populism on the rise. Years of austerity and market liberalisation politics have increased the social and economic precarity and feelings of insecurity. The lack of political transparency and democratic decision making resulted in a loss of credibility of both national governments and the EU. The potential of the EU as a peaceful, democratic, social and open-border model of cooperation is under threat. In view of the humanitarian crises in the EU neighbourhood which have forced millions of people to flee from their countries, Europe´s main answer is to build new fences to stop them.

Women In Development Europe+ (WIDE+) and the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) are organizing this two-day international conference to develop a consistent feminist analysis on these global developments faced by Europe. Panels and workshops will explore the ways in which social justice, gender equality and women’s rights are affected, sacrificed or squeezed.

By organizing this conference, WIDE+ and EWL also react to the widespread feeling that Europe needs a real departure from current policy remedies and neoliberal economic solutions. The conference aims at shaping strategies for policy intervention, thinking out of the neoliberal box and countering neo-conservative and right-wing political forces. Responses in and by Europe also need to integrate alternative economic perspectives that decrease inequalities and discrimination globally. ‍The adoption of global environmental and social goals, formulated in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), may provide some signposts.

The conference will be a space for civil society, women’s rights experts, activists and policy makers to deepen and broaden their understanding of the current situation in Europe from a feminist perspective in an international exchange with women’s human rights activists from the Global South who have been dealing with similar challenges for a long time. The conference will also start a process of building momentum toward constructive criticism and joint political action beyond the conference, through encouraging constituencies and potential allies to take on board feminist perspectives in their future activities and agendas.

The conference is made financially possible through support of Heinrich Böll Stiftung (HBF), Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) and Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (RLS) who are co-organizers. The conference will be held at Chant d’Oiseau, Avenue des Franciscains 3A, Brussels on 24 and 25 October, 2016.

More information will follow.

Members of the WIDE+ or EWL network (including members of member associations), partners and staff from the co-organizing foundations can directly register through contacting Gea Meijers at conference@wideplus.info.

Other can register through the public registration form. There is currently a waiting list, but it might be that additional tickets come available in the later part of September:
http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/international-conference-feminist-perspectives-on-global-issues-in-europe-tickets-26376406542?ref=ebtnebregn

 

logoconference

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WIDE+ Newsletter May 2016

WIDE+ proposes measures to improve situation of women refugees in Europe and Turkey

As a feminist network WIDE + is very concerned about the vulnerable situation of women refugees in Europe and in Turkey. WIDE+ has therefore asked United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and UN Women to check how gender sensitive measures are implemented.

WIDE+ calls for secured access to places of safety and privacy, including gender-segregated sleeping and sanitation facilities in camps as well as staff with gender sensitive training. It is necessary that women with experience of violence, torture and threats will be proactively given access to professional GBV counselling and assistance. Women’s health should be a priority as well, especially the situation of pregnant women should receive more attention. And it is of utmost importance that women’s rights to lodge an asylum claim independently of their spouse and family, and to have a legal status independent of that of their spouse and family, are duly and proactively enforced.

Read here the concerns WIDE+ has: WIDEletter_UNCHR_April_2016
Read here the reply from UN Women: http://wp.me/p2KSLS-m0

CAWN and WIDE+ call on European Parliamentarians to pressure El Salvador to end ban on Abortion

 The Central America Women’s Network (CAWN) and Women in Development Europe (WIDE+) have asked European Parliamentarians to pressure El Salvador to have an open debate in its Legislative Assembly to change the legislation that bans abortion under all circumstances. MEP Members of the Delegation to the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly will come together on 16-18 May in Lisbon, Spain and meet Latin American parliamentarians. Human rights groups in El Salvador agree that a debate on the inadequacies of the abortion law in the Legislative Assembly is key for the advance of women’s reproductive rights in the country and the rest of the region.

http://wp.me/p2KSLS-mn

CSW 2016 Stepped It Up for Gender Equality and a Planet 50-50 by 2030. What now?

Janice G Foerde

 The milestone sixtieth session of the UN Commission of the Status of Women (CSW) took place from 14-24 March 2016 at UN Headquarters in New York City. It was the largest CSW ever. This articles reviews the outcomes, reports on the controversial issues on the table and asks whether the final conclusions will help step it up for gender equality.

http://wp.me/P2KSLS-mF

WIDE+ supports TTIP campaign aiming to protect European regulations on chemicals and pesticides

WIDE+ supports a current campaign that calls for chemicals to be excluded from regulatory cooperation within the TTIP (EU-US trade) negotiations. The campaign also calls for no provisions enabling multinationals to sideline the EU courts and sue European states in the agreement, the so-called Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) or Investment Court System. There are indications that negotiations to harmonise European and American standards will lead to a lowering of European standards that set out to protect consumers from health risks associated with the use of chemicals and pesticides. This is one area in which the TTIP could directly impact negatively on women’s bodies.

http://wp.me/p2KSLS-mk

 WIDE+ member GADIP Conference “ Beijing+20” report available

The network Gender and Development in Practice, GADIP organized last November at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden a conference reviewing Beijing+20. The theme was “How do we continue the work?”, reviewing the twelve prioritized areas in the Beijing Platform for Action by inviting NGOs and researchers.

Read the report: Report_Beijing_final version april 2016

The first Financing for Development review Forum fails to deliver meaningful outcomes for Women’s Human Rights

The inaugural ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development follow-up was  held from 18 to 20 April 2016, but it did not bring results. The outcome document provides four articles that basically affirms the current process and agenda.  As one CSO report described it, it “ended up being as good as a blank sheet of paper”. Civil Society addressed many concerns during the meeting, including the lack of structural changes in the global economic governance and development architecture to deliver women’s and girls human rights.

http://wp.me/p2KSLS-mh

New Resources

EP study on feminist NGOs in the EU
Article: Why the Panama Papers are a Feminist issue
ITUC report: Investing in the Care Economy – Gender Analysis of Employment Stimulus in 7 OECD Countries

Article: IMF and World Bank gender projects do not match the rhetoric
EP Study on the Gender Dimension of Trafficking in Human Beings
Oxfam Paper: why gender and economic inequality must be tackled together

BRIDGE briefing: Gender, Age and Migration
ODI paper: Adaptive development and Feminist action
Gender & Development Issue on the Sustainable Development Goals

Study: the Unequal Economics of Women’s Work
AWID Toolkit “Where is the Money for Women’s Rights?” (WITM Toolkit)
EU Gender Action Plan II: opportunities for civil society participation to kick-start implementation

 http://wp.me/P2KSLS-ma

 

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WIDE+ member GADIP Conference “ Beijing+20” report available

The network Gender and Development in Practice, GADIP organized last November at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden a conference reviewing Beijing+20. The theme was “How do we continue the work?”, reviewing the twelve prioritized areas in the Beijing Platform for Action by inviting NGOs and researchers.

Read the report:Report_Beijing_final version april 2016

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CAWN and WIDE+ call on European Parliamentarians to pressure El Salvador to end ban on Abortion

The Central America Women’s Network (CAWN) and Women in Development Europe (WIDE+) have asked European Parliamentarians to pressure El Salvador to have an open debate in its Legislative Assembly to change the legislation that bans abortion under all circumstances. MEP Members of the Delegation to the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly will come together on 16-18 May in Lisbon, Spain and meet Latin American parliamentarians.

Human rights groups in El Salvador agree that a debate on the inadequacies of the abortion law in the Legislative Assembly is key for the advance of women’s reproductive rights in the country and the rest of the region.

In the current climate of the Zika virus, the need to change the current legislation to allow women control over their own reproductive life has become even more pressing. The high maternal mortality rate caused by unsafe abortions in El Salvador could now potentially skyrocket.

The EU must act in line with the objectives of the new framework for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment through EU external relations for the period 2016-2020, particularly on the goal of empowering women to have control over their sexual and reproductive life.

Read the full letter in English:   Lett_EuroLatmeetingENG
And in Spanish: CartaEuroLatESP

Background information:
Los Derechos de las mujeres y el Zika
Maternal Health paper final
Women’s Reproductive Rights

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WIDE+ supports TTIP campaign aiming to protect European regulations on chemicals and pesticides

WIDE+ supports a current campaign that calls for chemicals to be excluded from regulatory cooperation within the TTIP (EU-US trade) negotiations. The campaign also calls for no provisions enabling multinationals to sideline the EU courts and sue European states in the agreement, the so-called Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) or Investment Court System.

While existing EU regulations on chemicals and pesticides need improvement, the regulations in the US are even weaker. There are indications that negotiations to harmonise European and American standards will lead to a lowering of European standards that set out to protect consumers from health risks associated with the use of chemicals and pesticides. This is one area in which the TTIP could directly impact negatively on women’s bodies.

The campaign is launched through the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) and Center for International Environmental Law (Ciel).

Open letter: https://tradinghealthforprofit.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/call-to-exclude-the-e28098good-regulatory-practices_-chapter-from-ttip.pdf

Campaign website: https://tradinghealthforprofit.wordpress.com/

Cefic ‘mythbuster: http://www.cefic.org/Documents/Infographics/TTIP_chemicals-in-TTIP-Cefic-Mythbuster.pdf

 

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The first Financing for Development review Forum fails to deliver meaningful outcomes for Women’s Human Rights

The inaugural ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development follow-up was  held from 18 to 20 April 2016, but it did not bring results. Despite ongoing negotiations between governments, the meeting did not produce any substantive outcomes. The outcome document provides four articles that basically affirms the current process and agenda.  As one CSO report described it, it “ended up being as good as a blank sheet of paper”.

One notable development was that the meeting also provided a platform for launching a new Platform for Collaboration  to coordinate tax efforts between the IMF, OECD, UN, World Bank Group. While governments in the South had advocated for a stronger tax mechanism during the Financing for Development Conference in 2015, in the end the outcome document had included a weaker formulation. “Civil society considers this new platform as yet another distracting measure from addressing the key concern of developing countries in creating an inclusive Tax Body”.

Civil Society representatives of the Women Working Group and the CSO on Financing for Development actively lobbied governments for a strong outcome and spoke during the meeting. WIDE+ is an active member to the Women Working Group.

Caroline Usikpedo-Omoniye who spoke on behalf of the Women Working Group and the CSO on Financing for Development reiterated that the Finance for Development Agenda Document lacks a consistent and explicit human rights based approach for women and girls and called for structural changes in the global economic governance and development architecture. She noted that: “We realized that the global partnership between developed and developing countries established in  the Monterrey Consensus has been weakened by the developed countries through their promotion  of multi-stakeholder partnerships and lack of commitment to address systemic issues in the United Nations”  .

Ranja Sengupta spoke on trade on behalf of the CSO FFD group and called upon the Member States to take action on Para 91 of the AAAA that mandates Member States to ensure public policy objectives are not compromised by trade and investment agreements, as well as target 17.15 of the SDGs on policy space. “FTAs including the mega FTAs and the International Investment Agreements are severely compromising governments’ policy and regulatory space through provisions such as  Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), government procurement liberalisation, higher Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) standards and competition policy, but we do not yet see clear global measures that can address these challenges”.

https://csoforffd.org/2016/04/27/wrap-up-on-the-un-ffd-forum-where-do-we-go-now/

https://csoforffd.org/2016/04/20/statement-in-round-table-d-byusikpedo-omoniye-niger-delta-womens-movement-for-peace-and-development-on-behalf-of-the-cso-ffd-group-and-wwg-on-ffd/

https://csoforffd.org/2016/04/20/statement-by-ranja-sengupta-twn-in-round-table-e-on-behalf-of-the-cso-ffd-group-and-wwg-on-ffd/

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UN Woman respond to WIDE+ concerns for the woman refugees in Europe and Turkey

Ms. I. Solrun Gisladottir, UN Women Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, and representative to Turkey responded to WIDE+ letter about the vulnerable situation of women refugees in Europe and in Turkey.

She replied that UN Women shares many of the concerns WIDE+ voiced. Explaining their efforts, she concluded that:

2016-05-03 01_53_36-Letter_UNW_ECA_RO_Ms.G. Foerde_160426.pdf - Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

Read the letter in full: Letter_UNW_ECA_RO_Ms.G. Foerde_160426

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WIDE+ proposes measures to improve situation of women refugees in Europe and Turkey

As a feminist network WIDE + is very concerned about the vulnerable situation of women refugees in Europe and in Turkey. WIDE+ has therefore asked United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and UN Women to check how gender sensitive measures are implemented.

WIDE+ calls for secured access to places of safety and privacy, including gender-segregated sleeping and sanitation facilities in camps as well as staff with gender sensitive training. It is necessary that women with experience of violence, torture and threats will be proactively given access to professional GBV counselling and assistance. Women’s health should be a priority as well, especially the situation of pregnant women should receive more attention. And it is of utmost importance that women’s rights to lodge an asylum claim independently of their spouse and family, and to have a legal status independent of that of their spouse and family, are duly and proactively enforced.

One can read these and the other recommendations in the letter:
WIDEletter_UNCHR_April_2016

 

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WIDE+ Newsletter March 2016

WIDE+ joins International condemn of the murder of indigenous leader Berta Cáceres in Honduras

Berta Cáceres, a Lenca woman, indigenous leader and spokeperson for more than 20 years of the Civic Council of Popular and Inigenous Organizations of Honduras (Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras – Copinh), was murdered on 3rd March while she was resting in her home by “unknown” gunmen. She was awarded last year’s Goldman Environmental Prize for leading the resistance against the Agua Zarca Hydroelectric Project in Río Blanco, a World Bank and FMO-Dutch Development Bank funded-project which threatens to cut off a vital water source for hundreds of indigenous Lenca people and could have devastating effects for the community.

http://wp.me/p2KSLS-l2

Recent Developments, including further action to take: http://wp.me/p2KSLS-ly

Read CAWN statement, supported by WIDE+: CAWN_statement_Berta_Caceres
Read what WIDE+ member WO=MEN the Dutch Gender platform has done in the Netherlands (in Dutch) http://www.wo-men.nl/berta_caceres/


WIDE+ participated in EU-CELAC Seminar on Gender Equality and Women’s economic Empowerment, 7-8 March 2016

As part of the ongoing exchange between the European Union member states and countries in the Caribbean and Latin-America, a seminar was held around international women’s day to share information and experiences on how to economically empower women.Gea Meijers participated on behalf of WIDE+ in what proved to be a rich discussion pinpointing to key tasks ahead.

http://wp.me/P2KSLS-ls

News around Women’s empowerment in Europe and globally

 Shrinking space for Women’s Activism in Eastern Europe and Central Asia
More Women Leaders needed in EU’s Foreign Affairs
New Campaign for female UN General Secretary
Dutch minister Ploumen takes action following letter from women’s rights associations on the FLOW 2 programme 

http://wp.me/P2KSLS-ll

New Resources

WIDE+ member Karat Coalition report for Poland: pay gap between women and men with basic vocational education

Women with basic vocational education experience the highest pay gap in relative terms in Polandand their situation is hardly improving. Women find themselves predominantly in feminized segments of the labour market and are clearly in a minority in ‘masculine’ occupations.

http://www.karat.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Gender_pay_gap_vocational_education.pdf

Other Resources

Amnesty International report: Female refugees face physical assault, exploitation and sexual harassment on their journey through Europe
Nobel Women’s Initiative report: Women Refugees at Risk in Europe
European Parliament Study: the Gender dimension of climate justice

EIGE Report: Men control the money in the EU
IPU Report: Hardly any more women in parliaments in 2015
Report: gender dimensions of multinational companies’ operations in fragile and conflict-affected areas

http://wp.me/P2KSLS-l6

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Recent developments around the assassination of Berta Cáceres

Action to get last donor to withdraw from Megadam project

Two funders are withdrawing from the project that probably costed Berta’s life. The Dutch funder FMO and Finnish bank have decided to suspend its financial support to the project.  More details can be found here:

http://www.fmo.nl/k/n1771/news/view/28133/20819/fmo-suspends-all-activities-in-honduras-effective-immediately.html

http://www.development-today.com/magazine/Frontpage/finnfund_suspends_disbursements_to_honduran_dam_project

There is still one donor supporting the project. FOE International is collecting signatures to push third funder (the Central American Bank for Economic Integration -CABEI), “to …clarify its role in the Agua Zarca project, and to also immediately suspend all payments to the project”. The statement can ONLY be signed at: banktrack.org

A new murder and Gustave Castro is still being held in Hundoras

Gustavo Castro, who witnessed the murder of activist Berta Cáceres, is still being held in Honduras. And the outrageous and still unpunished murder of Berta Cáceres seems to have intensified the violence and persecution against social activists, indigenous people and peasants in a country whose people continues to be under attack since the Coup d´Etat of 2009. This week after a violent eviction in Rio Chiquito municipality, Cortés department, the member of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) Nelson García was shot and murdered when returning to the place where he was staying.

http://radiomundoreal.fm/8948-we-are-under-an-institutional?lang=en

Read what WIDE+ member WO=MEN the Dutch Gender platform has done in the Netherlands (in Dutch) http://www.wo-men.nl/berta_caceres/

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WIDE+ member Karat Coalition report for Poland: pay gap between women and men with basic vocational education

Women with basic vocational education experience the highest pay gap in relative terms in Poland and their situation is hardly improving. Women find themselves predominantly in feminized segments of the labour market and are clearly in a minority in ‘masculine’ occupations.

It is a common occurrence that employers, led by gender stereotypes do not want to employ women in certain occupations. Gender stereotypes are very powerful not only in the case of employers, but also teachers, career advisers, family members etc. What is more important, gender stereotypes affect the girls themselves in a way that they do not choose ‘masculine programmes’ because they are worried about loosing their feminity or “what people will say” or because they are convinced they do not have the technical skills boys do.

The report recommend to create several social campaigns aimed at breaking the stereotypes concerning ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ occupations and actively encourage girls to pursue professions currently dominated by men as well as encouraging them to choose new and ‘untraditional’ professions (including those related to new technologies).

And as the consequences of not having a permanent job contract are far more disadvantageous for women than for men (e.g. during pregnancy and after childbirth the women are left with no means of subsistence) it is necessary to offer maternity benefits to all pregnant women as well as all mothers irrespectively of whether they are employed or not or the type of their employment contract.

Karat report

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WIDE+ joins International condemn of the murder of indigenous leader Berta Cáceres in Honduras

Berta Cáceres, indigenous leader and spokeperson for more than 20 years of the Civic Council of Popular and Inigenous Organizations of Honduras (Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras – Copinh), was murdered on 3rd March while she was resting in her home in La Esperanza, Intibucá, about 188 km from Tegucigalpa, by “unknown” gunmen.

Bertha Cáceres was a firm defender of small farmers and indigenous peoples’ rights and an inspiring social activist, both at regional and continental level, in defense of social and environmental justice, particularly against mining megaprojects and hydropower plants.

She had warned amny times about Free Trade Agreements as part of the machinery of impunity of transnational corporations. Bertha committed her life to health, land, against patriarchism and violence. She opposed the political golpe of 28th June 2009; COPINH denounced the golpe as an instrument of violence serving transnational corporations to exploit resources and to repress the dissent of social movements. Bertha also opposed US military bases on Lenca territory.

In April 2015, Bertha Cáceres was awarded with Goldman price, one of the most prestigious awards for environmental defenders. She was awarded for her hard work in defense of the Lenca territory against the Agua Zarca Hydropower Project of the Chinese transnational SINOHYDRO and national company Desarrollo Energético Sociedad Anónima (DESA).

Lenca people had been denouncing for years the violation of human right to water as source of life and culture by corporates, military and governmental actors.

berta_carceres

Berta Cáceres was mother of four and was assigned precautionary measures by the Interamerican Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) which were not accomplished by the state. Bertha has been assassinated by a state who protect the interests of local capital, transnational corporations who have spoiled the territory. Bertha’s commitment in favour of life, of those most in need, was reason of several trials, investigations and threats against her.

The indigenous leader denounced many times death threats against her, and this was happening among a general violent context; 111 environmental activists in Honduras have been killed between 2002 and 2014, according to the 2014 report “¿Cuántos más?” of the ONG Global Witness. This makes Honduras the country with the highest rate of violence among the 17 countries analysed in the report. It also shows the architecture of impunity and violence of the large scale mining, of the hydroelectric business, among other activities in favour of private capital and complicit governments. According to the Honduras-based organization ACI-PARTICIPA (Asociación para la participación ciudadana en Honduras) more than 90% of assassinations and abuses in the country remain unpunished.

Part of statement prepared by the Global Campaign Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity /stopcorporateimpunity.org/.

CAWN statement, supported by WIDE+: CAWN_statement_Berta_Caceres

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