The first meeting of the new EuroMed Right’s Women’s Rights and Gender Justice Working Group took place from 27 to 29 May 2022 in Barcelona.
The members identified patriarchal violence as a priority issue to work on via two avenues: changing laws and changing mentalities. This was the first face-to-face meeting for over two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This meeting was an opportunity to look back at the work done in 2021, such as the “Backlash Map” which points out the regressions in terms of women’s rights and gender equality in the MENA region, the advocacy carried out in the framework of the EU’s Gender Action Plan III (GAP III) and the actions against gender-based violence.
A sad commonality between the two shores
The meeting led to a unanimous conclusion: in both Europe and the MENA region, women and gender minorities face a common challenge, that of violence which manifests itself in several forms (physical, economic and institutional). This violence is not the cause but the consequence of a patriarchal system. The response to it, like the cause, must be systemic.
The first axis of the working group will focus on the legislative level. The aim is to harmonise the laws of the countries in the region with international frameworks (including regarding laws on personal statuses), promoting the Istanbul Convention and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. Advocacy actions at the European level will also be planned, with a particular focus on the activities undertaken under the EU’s Third Action Plan on Gender Equality (GAP III) and the new Directive of the European Parliament and the Council on combating violence against women and domestic violence.
Aware that a change of laws will not be enough, the members of the group will work in parallel on a change of mentalities, attitudes and practices in the region, through awareness-raising activities on stereotypes in different spheres (education, media, social, etc.), with the objective of transformation. The path is set, all that remains is to start the work!
Should your organisation be interested by these themes and wants to know more about the potential partnership opportunities, please contact Raquel Reyes I Raventós, Programme Coordinator.