Gender Equality & Ganja EYC 2016
July 26, 2016 -
By Carina Autengruber @AUT_Carina
The opening of the European Youth Capital 2016 Ganja on 4 May was followed the day after by a seminar on gender equality. Young women from the Austrian National Youth Council (ÖJV), British Youth Council (BYC), Estonian National Youth Council (ENL), European Youth Forum (YFJ) and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) were invited to travel to Ganja to speak along with two Azeri government representatives as experts and to share their personal stories on gender equality.
In our input, we addressed topics such as stereotypes young women face, experiences of gender equality in our families and home countries, and violence against women. More than 200 youth participants, NGO representatives and government representatives attended the discussion. In the question and answer session afterwards, young people were particularly interested in common challenges women face all over Europe and how they can be solved.
As young experts we also hosted group workshops following the discussion on the role of women in politics, women in business and professional life, gender-based inequalities such as the gender pay gap, access to education and domestic violence. In these sessions, young people discussed their daily struggles with their peers and also provided possible solutions for more gender equality.
Living FREE of violence – You & Me
In 2016 violence against women is still a reality for every fourth women in the world. In Europe every third woman experiences violence at least once in her lifetime. Azerbaijan is among the few Member States of the Council of Europe which did not sign or ratify the Istanbul Convention. The Convention is the most comprehensive legal tool on European level combating violence against women. Violence in the Azeri society is still considered as a private issue. It was therefore a crucial step to host the gender equality seminar to discuss topics that concern young women in an open and free space.
Young people and children are affected directly or indirectly by violence within their families. All children and young people have the right to grow up free from violence. In order to achieve this, preventive work is an important contribution. The Austrian National Youth Council together with the Association of Austrian Autonomous Women’s Shelters and the Domestic Abuse Intervention Centre Vienna ran a two year campaign: “living FREE of violence – You & Me”. The aim of the campaign was to do preventive work in different societal areas to stop violence against women and children. During our campaign we organised more than 150 workshops and reached more than 2500 young people all over Austria.
With methods of non-formal education we already used in the workshops in Austria I facilitated a session in Ganja with a focus on violence against women. During the workshop young people were invited to share their experiences with violence in their life. They also learnt about the differences between visible and invisible violence. Even though most of the participants stated that they already experienced violence at least once in their life, it was the first time that they discussed it among their peers. In the wrap up session of the workshop, young people also stressed their demands for education about violence in schools from an early age, having awareness raising campaigns in the media, setting up helplines for children and young people, and implementing educative measures for parents