How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!
We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily difference we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.
In politics if you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman.
“I’ve often thought it unfair that women are expected to stay at home when there’s a fight to be won. If a woman has the strength to bear a child, she can swing a sword as well as any man.” Apinya
The enthusiasm at Conference is great! How can we keep the momentum going?
One participant was overheard suggesting that the structures and attitudes back at the union often prevent women from achieving many of the goals which can take women forward and which support Gender Equality.
Has that been the experience of the sisters? How have you dealt with situations such as these? Share with us, help a sister achieve.
Wilma Clement, Barbados Workers' Union.
Ending violence against women is everyone’s responsibility. We envision a safe and just world where women and girls are in control of their lives and live free from violence. Violence against women must end, because: • It violates women’s and girls’ right to a life in safety. • It causes physical and psychological harm that reduces women’s and girls’ ability to lead a normal life, obtain the education they need, earn a living, develop their own future and participate in public life. Most survivors of violence against women do not get support in their efforts to overcome the consequences of violence. Dedicated psychosocial, health and legal services tend to be few and far between. Social norms often “blame the victim”, i.e. they hold survivors responsible for their ordeal. As a result, many survivors find themselves socially marginalized and debilitated by crippling health conditions such as chronic pain, severe injuries, or depression. We should be support a wide spectrum of efforts to end violence against women, including: • Advocacy for better laws and better enforcement of laws and policies, so that women’s rights are enshrined in national legislation and women can safely take legal action. We should supports women’s organizations and networks, as well as other organizations that support women’s rights, to undertake such advocacy. • Services to support survivors of violence against women in ways that enable them to take their lives in their own hands and provides capacity building and networking opportunities. • Campaigns for change in social norms and behavior condoning violence against women (for example the norm that husbands and fathers must “discipline” their wives and daughters). Sensitization meetings, peer education by community volunteers, , and other mass communication are commonly used in such campaigns. • Girls’ empowerment through dedicated projects and as part of education programs that strengthen girls’ capacity to protect themselves and claim their rights. • Engaging men and boys so that they contribute to ending violence against women. Many men and boys are perpetrators of violence against women, but that does not mean that all men are violent. Arguably, most men and boys would prefer to live without violence, and can play an important role to change social norms. They are important allies for us . Therefore, we and its partners encourage men and boys: • To develop non-violent ways to be “real men” and to respect women as equals • To support women survivors of violence against women • Invite men and boys to participate in the struggle to end violence against women, as equals and allies to women’s organizations • Preventing violence against women makes sure women participate in planning and implementing humanitarian interventions. • Promoting women’s leadership for change towards greater equality between women and men (“women’s transformative leadership”), to ensure women obtain equal access to resources and opportunities
Apinya Tajit Thailand
From the floor, women's conference delegates share their experiences on organising and violence against women.
Fadia Koleilat Georgevitch, Syndicate of Middle East Airlines and Affiliare Companies, Lebanon: "I am the first woman in the history of Middle east airlines to be elected as a deputy leader of my union. At the moment our focus in the union is on gaining ratification of national legislation on violence. Meanwhile the economic crisis has encouraged women to access the labour market and to improve their living standards."
Ekaterina Yordanova, Federation of Transport Trade Unions in Bulgaria: "We’ve been negotiating, fighting and striking. We have reduced the impact of the economic crisis. We’ve been part of all the ITF campaigns and have successfully organised men and women into the union."
Jaya Agarwal, AIRF, India: "Last year was 'Break the silence against violence year. We achieved, after campaigning, a win in national legislation that guarantees the need for sexual harassment committees in all workplaces."
Severine Scaillet, Secteur Cheminots de la Centrale Generale des Services Publics, Belgium: "I am a train driver and in my union we are fighting the fourth railway package. Join us on 25/2 in our fighting for our public services. We are young workers and we need to wake up."
Find out more on the European campaign against the Fourth railway package >>