GENDER EQUALITY REFLECTIONS: Five years of blogging through a journey of reflection and inspiration
We are very happy to celebrate the fifth anniversary of CIDSE’s Gender Blog. When we launched this initiative, we wanted to create a new space to share many unheard stories and reflections on how our work for social justice intersects with the individual struggles of women and men from around the world fighting for gender equality and the rights of women. As you will see through this collection of articles, we were able to read and hear a rich diversity of voices and perspectives on what gender equality and justice mean to them, each one coloured and woven in their particular context. We are grateful to all who courageously shared their stories and experiences with us, who trusted us to honour their struggles and celebrate their achievements. We are very proud to be a part of such a powerful process and we hope you experience something new as you re-read some of these testimonies or discover what brings us together as we continue to stand for the rights of women, and equality and justice for all, but most especially the courageous individuals who must challenge systemic gender injustice in their day-to-day lives. You have our respect and gratitude.
Josianne Gauthier, CIDSE Secretary General
GENDER AND AGROECOLOGY
Anabel Torres, founder of Cantera and member of the Congregation of Saint Agnes of the USA.
“We have evidenced changes at the community level in several areas such as the participation of men in domestic work and in dialogue and participation with their life partners, in their own and community productive activities; formation and support of the “Agroecological Network of Promoters” who provides technical accompaniment to producers in their communities by promoting ecological agriculture”. Read the full story.
Photo: Cantera Project.
THE EUROPEAN GREEN DEAL FROM A FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE
Eva van de Rakt, Heinrich Böll Foundation and Lisa Tostado, International Climate, Energy & Agriculture Policy Programme at the EU office.
“The narrative framing of the “just transition” is an example of how European Green Deal initiatives could step-up gender mainstreaming. The first thing that pops into most people’s minds when confronted with “just transition” are male coal workers. It is not enough, though, to understand the “just transition” as a concept looking at male employed workers only, in particular in high-emitting industries”. Read the full story.
Photo: CC-BY-4.0 © European Union 2019 – Source EP.
WOMEN AT THE HEART OF THE FOOD SOVEREIGNTY MOVEMENT IN MALI
Anne Berson is the Program Coordinator in West Africa and an Agro-environmentalist at BEDE.
“The Convergence of Rural Women for Food Sovereignty in Mali and one of BEDE’s partners in West Africa, is exemplary in how it engages women in the food sovereignty movement. The convergence, which was created six years ago, is made up of 36 rural women’s cooperatives that comprise 3,900 members throughout Mali and works to promote food sovereignty by supporting women farmers in advocacy and agro-ecological production”. Read the full story.
Photo: Flickr.com/Project Photos.
WOMEN ARE HOPE
Dr. Vaishali Patil, anti-nuclear activist and member of the National Alliance of Anti-Nuclear Movements.
“As an activist who has been supporting the organisation and mobilisation of communities against this disastrous project, what has been amazing for me to witness is how in the last 10 years the women have come to understand what nuclear power is, how radiation impacts the human body and the potential negative impacts to their livelihoods”. Read the full story.
Photo: Flick.com/Luca Tomac.
STRUGGLE TO REPORT SEXUAL ABUSE
“One particular form of sexual abuse occurred regularly and was never publicly reported. The army were deployed at various entry points and would search anyone arriving. Passengers would be asked to disembark from their vehicles when they got to the check points for searching. Female military officers were assigned to search for diamonds even inside women’s private parts. Women were asked to remove their underwear, lie down and the female military officers searched inside the women’s vaginas using bare fingers to look for diamonds.” Read the full story.
PALESTINIAN WOMEN IN THE GAZA STRIP
Amal Syam, activist and advocate of women’s human rights and gender equality.
“During this 14-year siege, Israeli forces also launched three military offensives on the Gaza Strip in 2008, 2012, and 2014. Nearly 4000 Palestinians were killed, including nearly 500 women, and thousands were injured. Furthermore, thousands of homes were demolished, and families were forcibly displaced. A lot of these homes still have not been rebuilt”. Read the full story.
ADVOCATING FOR WOMEN RIGHTS IN PALESTINE
Ms. Amal Syam, Director of Women’s Affair Center (WAC).
“Palestinian women’s movements face numerous challenges, even as they became an organic component of national struggle and activism. They are misrepresented in decision-making processes, and achieve only limited access to equal opportunities in the public sphere. At the same time, the Palestinian women’s movement has transformed from a grassroots struggle to an elite and professional issue which is led by dedicated NGOs”. Read the full story.
FIGHTING FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION
Thérèse Coulibaly, animator and activist.
“An information campaign was being conducted on television and radio about the consequences of circumcision. This is when I saw a television program on the consequences of circumcision that described at the end my own reproductive health issues: the sharp pain, the heavy bleeding during and after the procedure, the difficulties of giving birth, the loss of a baby; to say that all this was caused by circumcision. Then I knew I would not subject my daughters to circumcision.” Read the full story.
Photo: Flickr.com/UNICEF Ethiopia
WOMEN NATURE DEFENDERS VS BIG COMPANIES
Mirtha Vásquez, lawyer with GRUFIDES in Cajamarca, Perú.
“Women defenders, explained Mirtha, are one of the most vulnerable categories in the eco-territorial fight. Firstly, in a patriarchal society, women face repression, social stigma and discrimination. But there is more: women are particularly vulnerable to aggression. As home-makers and careers, they are the ones who do and are responsible for many domestic chores; their home and families depend on them. When they are attacked, the whole structure they hold up is threatened”. Read the full story.
EXTRACTIVISM THREATENING WOMEN AROUND THE WORLD
Kelly Di Domenico, Communication Officer for Development and Peace – Caritas Canada.
“At the end, these courageous Protectors of Mother Earth made a plea to let her be still. To stop exploiting her, and to let her breathe and continue to give life. This message was reiterated over the weekend, as the women present expressed the inseparable bond they have with Mother Earth and that abuse to her is abuse to all women and vice-versa”. Read the full story.
THE STRUGGLE FOR CONSENT
Nonhle Mbutuma, founding member of the Amadiba Crisis Committee and resident of Xolobeni.
Women sit at the frontlines of the harm extractives projects cause, facing the double-burden of a gendered division of labour and unequal power to make decisions in the community. When land is taken it is women, the primary subsistence producers who are ignored and not compensated for their unrecognised informal land rights. When water is polluted women walk further and longer, in often dangerous areas, in search of clean drinking water for their families. Read the full story.
Photo: Flickr.com/UN Women.
A POWERFUL CONNECTION
Tchenna Maso, lawyer with Movimiento de Afectados y Afectadas por Represa in Brazil.
“Many women provided food sovereignty through the varied crops from their gardens. They never had to buy produce in the market. So far, most of these women have received no compensation or emergency aid to compensate for this activity. The dam bursting also buried livelihood projects, many of which related to women’s financial independence, like that from the growers in Gesteira who had started a cooperative have been destroyed by the disaster.” Read the full story.
WHAT IF THE ECONOMY WAS FEMALE?
Sr. Alessandra Smerilli, Professor of Political Economics.
“If the economy was a woman, it would talk about care. For example: it would treat care-taking as an essential dimension of human activity, apart from work. And with the thoughts of Jennifer Nedelsky we would discover how we should rethink the timing of work and care, and that care could and should enter the public sphere. Sharing her ideas, we would imagine a world in which when we meet a person for the first time, we would ask them “who do you care for?” and not just “what do you do?””. Read the full story.
THE PLACE OF WOMEN IS… IN THE STRUGGLE
Sr. Mary John Mananzan, Benedectin nun and an activist.
“The poorest of the poor are women and this is what is known as feminization of poverty. Although men are also poor, there is a greater severity of poverty among women than among men. This poverty leads to a lack of longevity, health education or knowledge, decent standards of living, and social and political participation”. Read the full story.
Photo: Flickr.com/Collin Key.
WOMEN: BE BRAVE
Daniela Ordowski, board member of MIJARC Europe.
“Being a feminist and being active inside the catholic church seems to be a big contradiction. This is how I feel much of the time. When I was invited to meet 300 international youth in Rome to work on a document for the Synod on Youth I was thrilled. And on the other hand, I was uncertain of what to expect. The catholic church is diverse global community, and I was strongly hoping that I would see that reality reflected at this meeting”. Read the full story.
ROLE OF MEN IN FEMINISM
Sandy Ruxton, Honorary Research Fellow in Durham University.
“Men’s participation in gender justice movements could strengthen feminist efforts. Some forms of participation could include taking action online to defend women’s rights; supporting national and local campaigns opposing violence against women; raising awareness about sexism, for example in local sports teams or music venues; educating young people in schools and universities; and joining organisations working for gender justice”. Read the full story.
Photo: Flickr.com/Ted Goldring.