Cheeky Laughs (4) – Being a woman – resist to sexism and gender inequality

© Kianoush

Here is the last chapter of the conference organized by LIBREXPRESSION as part of the festival “Internazionale in Ferrara – 2018” (#intfe) dedicated to sexism and gender inequality. Always with the participation of the cartoonists: Marilena Nardi (IT), Anne Derenne (FR) and Zainab Fasiki (Morocco), the theme of this last part was dedicated to how to fight against sexism and gender inequality.

– One of the first way to resist is to inform about the problem. This means that the authorities must do all efforts to evaluate the problems and diffuse the information. A difficult task, as many violence, or harassment are not denounced. Availability of data on violence against women has increased significantly in recent years. Since 1995, more than 100 countries have conducted at least one survey addressing the issue. More than 40 countries conducted at least two surveys in the period between 1995 and 2014, which means that, depending on the comparability of the surveys, changes over time could be analyzed. Moreover, it takes time to elaborate those statistics. Therefore, individual or group actions are necessary like #metoo or in France #balancetonporc. It is true that such hashtags may stimulate delation or permit to attack innocent persons just to vindicate from other problems not having any link with sexxual violence, nevertheless, they have contributed to free many women from their shameful silence, as paradoxically many abuses are not denounced because the victims fell so ashamed that they prefer to keep silent.

 


– Information is absolutely necessary to convinced authorities to take measures against the shameful and stupid behavior of men. At least 140 countries have passed laws on domestic violence, and 144 have laws on sexual harassment. However, even when laws exist, this does not mean they are always compliant with international standards and recommendations or implemented. Still, 37 countries exempt rape perpetrators from prosecution when they are married to or subsequently marry the victim. And information is also necessary for many women who have not access to their right or more simply to basic information on their body, on sexual education, etc.


– And obviously individual actions or group actions by courageous women (and men) or associations, NGOs, are necessary. Such as the projects created by Zainab Fasiki and her friends (Women Power, Hshouma) to destroy taboo, offer sexual education, etc. This requires also the support of all men who cannot accept to see half of humanity beeing treated as inferior beings.


– Clearly the objective must not be transform women in men nor to transform men in women. Neither must it be to suppress desire, sensuality and sexuality. Neither to initiate a gender war. Women are not the ennemy of men, and men are not enemy of women. They have just to benefit from the same rights and dignity. This implies to suppress obstacles to the full potential of women, to recognize their right  to dispose of their body as they wish, to ensure their freedom of choices for their own life, just as the men do. As the US feminist Anne Zelenski put it: “We want to dispose of our bodies, not to offer it at disposal of everybody.”

 To know more:

United Nations – Ending violence:
http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women
thematic brief:
http://www.unwomen.org/-/media/headquarters/attachments/sections/library/publications/2013/12/un%20women%20evaw-thembrief_us-web-rev9%20pdf.pdf?la=en
– Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women New York, 18 December 1979
https://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CEDAW.aspx
– United Nations: The world’s Women 2015 – report trends and statistics.  The world’s women reports are published every 5 years; The 2015’s one is therefore the last one available:
https://unstats.un.org/unsd/gender/downloads/WorldsWomen2015_chapter6_t.pdf
Nevertheless,  the UN publishes an annual report on women, the last one published in 2018 cover the years 2016-2017:
http://annualreport.unwomen.org/en/2018

European Union
– European Agency for fundamental rights (FRA): http://fra.europa.eu/en

Council of Europe (CoE):
The CoE has succeeded to the adoption of the Istanbul Convention signed in Istanbul in 2011, entered into force in July 2014. Nevertheless, not all CoE’s Members ratified it. The Eu, as an Institution, ratified it in 2017, but in 2018 notwithstanding the request of The EU parliament in March, there are still 11 Eu Member states who didn’t ratified it yet.
– “Action against violence against women and domestic violence”
https://www.coe.int/fr/web/conventions/full-list/-/conventions/rms/090000168008482e
The CoE Commission for Human Rights deals with all themes linked to gender equality:
https://www.coe.int/en/web/commissioner/thematic-work/women-s-rights-and-gender-equality
Factsheet of the Human rights court on “violence against women”
https://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/FS_Violence_Woman_ENG.pdf

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Author

Economist and historian, director of the Center LIBREXPRESSION, Foundation Giuseppe di Vagno

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