March is the month when the International Women Day happens. We at the World Solidarity Forum believe it should not just be a day to celebrate women and remember all the fights and struggles that happened to guarantee them important rights. It should also be the occasion to inspire us to work harder to make sure that many women that still suffer from violence, abuse and the denial of their basic rights are supported and that these degrading treatments come to an end.
Which is why we are going to run across the month a campaign to raise awareness of the many challenges that are still to be met and the much needed work that the international community can do to make violence on women history everywhere in the world.
We would like to start our campaign with the report of a workshop on women empowerment we run yesterday titled “Gender Inequality in the EU Institutions”. The goal of the event was to start from a discussion of the experiences of discrimination felt by the participants within the European institutional context to move forward to discuss what can be done more to empower women there and everywhere else.
Around 20 participants gathered at the Brussels Press Club to engage in this discussion. The event started with a recollection of personal anecdotes from different participants, most of whom were professionals working in European affairs, about feeling ignored or dismissed on the base of their gender. This quickly connected to the issue of intersectionality, with factors like age and race also playing a role in people’s experience.
The shared feeling was to not have been being given the same credit and attention as male counterparts, but it was also agreed that these biases were subtle and hard to prove as such. This brought about the discussion on the topic of education.
Starting on this input, our guest speaker Manel Mselmi, an experienced teacher and researcher in environmental humanities with specific expertise in the way feminism and environmental questions overlap, remarked the importance of education for both men and women.
She argued that women need to be more inspired and be allowed to learn to be more self-confident, which is extremely important when they have to react to being taken advantage of. It is also very important to engage with men so that they understand the real value of feminism as a fight for justice – only when the two genders work together we can achieve a fairer society.
Manel’s words also moved the participants to engage in a lively discussion about what could be the best projects and campaigns to support the transition to a more equal society via the means of education. They discussed many ideas, such as campaigns highlighting the strength of women and their roles as leaders, and we are happy to sat the WSF will pick pick up on many of the suggestions and proposals and include them in our future communication campaigns.
If you want to join the discussion, stay tuned to learn more about this issue and join us on the 27th March at the European Parliament for a discussion on what the international community can do to stop violence on women everywhere.