14th meeting of the Gender Equality Commission of the Council of Europe (5-7 December 2018, Strasbourg, France)
The Gender Equality Commission (GEC) held their 14th meeting in Strasbourg from 5 to 7 December 2018. During this meeting, the GEC elected its new Chair (Charles Ramsden, United Kingdom) and Vice-Chair (Kira Appel, Denmark) for one year. The GEC finalised and adopted the text of a draft Committee of Ministers recommendation to prevent and combat sexism, advancing an international definition of sexism and proposing measures to address it. It will now be for the Committee of Ministers to consider and adopt the text in 2019. Exchanges took place with the Chair of the UN Committee on the elimination of discrimination against women (CEDAW), the Chair of the Committee of Ministers Rapporteur Group on Human Rights, and representatives from various other Council of Europe sectors such as the PACE Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination, corruption, violence against women and media. Thematic debates on work with perpetrators of violence, gender-responsive budgeting and a mobile phone tool also took place.
World Forum for Democracy - “Gender Equality: Whose Battle?” (Strasbourg, 19-21 November 2018)
A year after the #MeToo movement first started, the 2018 Council of Europe World Forum for Democracy focused on gender equality and women’s rights. Dolores Delgado Garcia, Spanish Minister of Justice, and Marlène Schiappa, French Minister of State for Gender Equality, both spoke in the opening session. Intellectuals, politicians, activists, experts and young people from all over the world came together to debate the following topics: moving towards 50/50 in decision-making; the fight against sexism, discrimination and violence against women; women, security and democratisation. Roundtables took place on topics as diverse as artificial intelligence and gender (in-)equality; women as film-makers; women and migration; the links between democracy and gender equality; national policy approaches to achieving gender equality; feminist investigative journalism; and faith and feminism. “Lab” sessions addressed the challenges from different angles and presented some measures which have already been implemented. These sessions helped to identify a democratic response to the issues which were raised throughout the Forum.
Equality and women's rights at the centre of the Finnish Presidency of the Committee of Ministers
The Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe passed from Croatia to Finland in November 2018. Gender equality is a key priority for the Finnish Presidency. In particular, the Council of Europe Gender Equality Strategy 2018–2023 is recognised as an essential tool and its implementation will be promoted. A conference will be held to bring attention to the priority of eliminating sexism and stereotypes. Other priorities include strengthening the system of human rights and the rule of law in Europe and promoting an open and inclusive society (with a focus on young people and the prevention of radicalisation).
Council of Europe loud and clear about ending violence against women on 25 November 2018, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
“All women and girls have the right to live free from violence. Unfortunately, this is not the reality. One in three women has experienced physical or sexual violence – 22% at the hands of their partner. More than half of all women have been sexually harassed with 20% of young women reporting online sexual harassment”, said Dunja Mijatović, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights. [more]
To mark the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Council of Europe clarified serious misconceptions about its landmark Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (the Istanbul Convention). [more]
The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) launched a new initiative to counter sexism and sexual abuse in parliaments across Europe, #NotInMyParliament. [more]
“Violence against women and girls is a serious human rights violation. […], we all must come together and take steps to eradicate this utterly unacceptable scourge. The Council of Europe Istanbul Convention is a modern, far-reaching and effective instrument to prevent violence against women and domestic violence as well as protect victims and punish perpetrators. The Finnish Presidency of the Committee of Ministers urges all States to ratify and implement the Istanbul Convention without delay," stated the Finnish Minister of Foreign Affairs. [more]
Violence against women - co-operation activities of the Council of Europe
The following are some highlights among the many ongoing co-operation activities in the area of violence against women by the Council of Europe:
A new HELP course on Access to Justice for Women available on the HELP Platform Developed under the Partnership for Good Governance (PGG) project “Strengthening Access to Justice for Women Victims of Violence in the Six Eastern Partnership Countries”, the course offers legal professionals in Europe a distinct and concrete tool for the promotion of gender-sensitive justice. [more]. Armenia A face-to-face course on violence against women for legal professionals developed in Armenia (10–11 November 2018) [more] Armenian Police and Academy of Justice strengthen the response to violence against women and domestic violence (13 December 2018) [more]
Georgia Kick off of Phase II of the Council of Europe’s project in Georgia to prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence (30 November 2018) [more] Strengthened justice response to cases of violence against women and domestic violence in Georgia (29 November 2018) [more]
Slovenia Recommendations for the development of the Slovenian national programme on preventing and combating domestic violence and violence against women: Challenges, gaps and best practices report. [more]
“The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” Macedonian lawyers trained to better protect victims of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence [more]
Gender equality on the agenda (January–March 2019)
63rd United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, New York, 11-22 March 2019 The 63rd session of the CSW will dedicated to the topic of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girl. The Council of Europe, in partnership with the Finnish Permanent Mission to the UN, is organising a side-event to the forthcoming CSW on “Sexism, Harassment and Violence against Women in Parliament”. This side-event, co-organised also with the Inter-Parliamentary Union, will take place at UN HQ in New York on Tuesday 12 March 2019.
Council of Europe conference “Tackling gender stereotypes and sexism”, Helsinki, 28-29 March 2019 The Gender Equality Commission of the Council of Europe is organising in partnership with the Ministry of Family Affairs and Social Services of Finland a conference on “Tackling gender stereotypes and sexism”. The conference will take place in Helsinki on 28-29 March 2019 and will address both the positive and the negative impact of new media in tackling gender stereotypes and sexism (including sexist hate speech) both on- and off-line, and identify examples of good practices in tackling problems.
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