The GEC joins the global debate launched by UN’s campaign against gender-based violence

16 Dec 2021

The ICA Gender Equality Committee (GEC) has joined, once more, the United Nations' 16 Days of Activism campaign against Gender-based Violence “Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now”. To culminate the involvement of the cooperative movement in this global campaign, the GEC organised on the 9 December the webinar “End violence against women now".

Moderated by the GEC’s chairperson, Ms María Eugenia Pérez Zea, the discussion had three objectives:

  • To inspire with successful stories of prevention of gender-based violence (GBV) through effective strategies and measures
  • To boost women leadership and increase participation in decision making
  • To reinforce the recognition and experience of the cooperative movement in relation to GBV prevention

Divided in two segments, the event started with representatives of SEWA (Self-Employed Women's Association) and ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation), who shared the actions taken by their organisations to advocate for inclusive, comprehensive and long-term strategies against GBV. Ms Reema Nanavaty of SEWA pointed out “In our experience, we have learnt that poverty is the worst form of violence and one of the major causes for exacerbating GBV”. Ms Marieke Koning, ITUC, made an overview of existing measures to prevent and eliminate GBV in the world of work. “Women in our network are increasingly taking leadership by organizing, campaigning and lobbying for the international treaty that aims at the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work”, she specified.

In the second segment of the event, GEC regional representatives presented concrete actions developed by their networks to end violence against women and girls and promote women’s empowerment in their own regions. The panelists were the following: Esther Gicheru, GEC Executive Committee member from Africa; Xiomara Nuñez de Céspedes, GEC Executive Committee member from Americas; Chitose Arai, GEC Executive Committee member from Asia-Pacific; and Annalisa Casino, GEC Executive Committee member from Europe.

In the follow-up debate, Ms Xiomara Nuñez de Céspedes suggested “create an observatory within the cooperatives to internally evaluate that measures are correctly implemented internally” as an additional measure to fight against GBV. On behalf of Ms Chitose Arai, Ms Simren Singh, added the following proposal: “to generate political will among ICA members, which are largely national and sectoral apex organisations led by men, to take on board the idea of gender equality in a serious manner”.

Ms María Eugenia Pérez Zea closed the event by calling to “work together with men to increase women’s representation and visibility within cooperatives and cooperative organisations”.

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