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Strengthening the Role of Women in the Neighbourhood


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Strengthening the Role of Women in the Neighbourhood

  1. 1. BACKGROUND NOTE March 2011Children’s visions of gender equality: winning entries from Algeria, Egypt, Syria and Ukrainefrom the 2010 and 2009 editions of EuropeAid’s Gender Equality drawing competition Strengthening the role of women Neighbourhood cooperation to achieve gender equalityE quality between men and women is a fundamental right of the Charter of Human Rights, but also a fundamental value of the EU’s Founding Treaties and the Lisbon Treaty. The promotion and protection of women’s rights figures highly in EU external policy. In line with this commitment, the Foreign Affairs Council in June 2010 adopted the EU Action Plan on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Development for theperiod 2010-2015, underlining that: “The EU reiterates its strong commitment to gender equality as a human right, a question of social justiceand a core value of the EU development policy.” Strengthening the role of women in society is one of the key issues addressed by the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, with apledge to take measures to achieve gender equality, preventing all forms of discrimination and ensuring the protection of the rights ofwomen. In the last years, a concerted effort has been underway towards this end, underlined by the Conclusions adopted by Ministers of theUnion for the Mediterranean (UfM) at the second Ministerial Conference on Strengthening the Role of Women in Society held in Mar-rakech on 11-12 November 2009. Following on from the first Euro-Med Ministerial Conference on ‘Strengthening the Role of Women in Society’ in Istanbul in 2006, Minis-ters in Marrakech spelled out the cornerstone of the policy, underlining the need for “actions at national, sub-regional and regional levels,targeted towards improving women’s status, strengthening the role of women in political, civil, social, economic and cultural life, and combatingENPI INFO CENTRE - GENDER EQUALITY PRESS PACK: BACKGROUND NOTE
  2. 2. all forms of discrimination against women and girls.” UfM Ministers stressed the need for “concrete measures”, outlining specific commitments in the three main areas of civil and politicalrights, economic rights, and cultural and social rights, and proposing to integrate gender equality as one of the priority project areasof the Union for the Mediterranean. In cooperation with the Eastern Neighbourhood, the issue of integrating women into social and economic life is covered in the regionalPriority Area of people to people activities, while the both regional and national strategy papers all stress that, “gender will be mainstreamedas a cross-cutting issue in all assistance measures.”A regional approach “Gender equality is essential for growth and poverty reduction, and it is key to reaching the Millennium Development Goals. How-ever, gender inequalities are still entrenched in many cultural, social and political systems. In the developing world, women sufferdisproportionately from poverty and its related ills, such as malnutrition, poor health and illiteracy.” EuropeAid Development and Cooperation websiteT he promotion and protection of women’s rights is a key priority and gender equality in eight countries of the Southern Mediterra- in every national Action Plan, and is systematically discussed nean, which aim to provide actors and stakeholders with a baseline at bilateral level between the EU and its partner countries. At study of the situation in the region. The reports present an overview the same time, there is an important regional component to of ongoing reforms and dynamics in terms of women’s civil and po-Euro-Mediterranean cooperation on gender equality. The European litical rights with special emphasis on legal reforms, gender-basedCommission’s Regional Strategy Paper (2007-2013) and Regional violence and political participation.Indicative Programme (2007-2010) for the Euro-Mediterranean An ENPI Info Centre feature story, Combating discrimination andPartnership underlines the importance of the regional approach violence against women, draws attention to the work of the pro-in the promotion of gender equality, saying, “regional support gramme, while an interview highlights its main priorities.networks among the Mediterranean partner countries provide asource of external policy leverage that is not necessarily perceivedas pressure from another culture.” The programme follows policy priorities set out in the Five-yearwork plan adopted at the 10-year celebratory Barcelona Summit inNovember 2005. This attested to the commitment of partner coun-tries to increase the participation of women in decision-making inpolitical, social, cultural and economic positions. Enhancing Equality Programme The European Commission has, up to now, supported equality andgender issues mainly by programmes implemented directly withcivil society. The current regional programme “Enhancing genderequality between men and women in the EuroMed region” (EGEP),which runs until 2011, introduces a governmental dimension bygranting capacity building and training to governmental and para-governmental bodies on gender equality, the fight against violenceand the follow-up of the Istanbul process. The 3-year €4.5 million programme has three main objectives:the full implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of AllForms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the strengthen-ing of strategies on fighting gender-based violence against women,and support to the follow-up of the 2006 Istanbul Ministerial Con-ference. It seeks to build on the achievements of an earlier project, ‘Role ofWomen in Economic Life’, which ended in January 2009. That 3-year,€5 million programme, aimed to expand opportunities for women’seconomic participation. In October 2010, EGEP issued a series of reports on women’s rights Photo: © ENPI Euro-Med Gender Equality Programme (EGEP)ENPI INFO CENTRE - GENDER EQUALITY PRESS PACK: BACKGROUND NOTE
  3. 3. Features and interviews: click on the image to download the PDF Gender equality: find out moreUseful links Cooperation and Development: Gender webpage Monitoring the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Dis- crimination Against Women (CEDAW)-2007 External Action Service – Euromed and Women mainmed.php?id=45&id_type=9&lang_id=450&subject=12 EuropeAid Feature - Masarat - A journey through Palestinian women’sEuropean External Action Service – Women’s Rights in EU External lives tine_gender-equality_masarat_en.pdfEU and Gender Equality webpage ENPI Info Centre feature: Combating discrimination and violence against womenEnhancing Equality between Men and Women in the Euromed region der%20Descr.%20Lebanon%20Syria%20Palest.v.2%20ENG.pdfEnhancing Equality between Men and Women in the Euromed region ENPI Info Centre feature: Breaking the wall of silenceproject website Info Centre – Gender webpage tinian%20Audiovisual%20(en).v.2.pdfthememed.php?subject=12 Culture and Communication, Key Factors for Changing Mentalities &Gender Drawing Competition (EC-2010) Societies - Study by the Anna Lindh Foundation for the 2006 Euro-aid/what/gender/drawing-competition-2010_en.htm Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on ‘Equality of Opportuni-ENPI Info Centre – Photos on gender ties’ alf_0406_en.pdfENPI Info Centre – gender publications Women as Full Participants in the Euro-Mediterranean Communitylist_type_med.php?id_type=9&subject=12 of Democratic States - EuroMeSCo Report - April 2006 http://www. Women and Economic Development in the Mediterranean - InstitutUfM Second Ministerial Conference on Strengthening the Role of de la Méditerranée, France in Society – Conclusions (Nov. 2009) euromed/women/docs/women_0406_en.pdfexternal_relations/euromed/women/docs/2009_11_conference_ Euromed Women’s Conference Barcelona + 10 (Nov. 2005)en.pdf Istanbul Conference follow up webpage ticle_en.pdfeuromed/women/gender_followup_en.htmEU Action Plan on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Press contactsDevelopment for the period 2010-2015 http://www.consilium.euro- DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities - Press cers Toolkit on Mainstreaming Gender in development cooperation ec_spokespersons/employ_en.htmENPI INFO CENTRE - GENDER EQUALITY PRESS PACK: USEFUL LINKS
  4. 4. International Women’s Day 2011: some events in partner countries8 March 2011 is the hundredth anniversary of International Women’s Day, marked for the first time in 1911. Across the EU’s Neighbourhoodpartner countries, activities will be held to highlight EU involvement in promoting women’s rights. Some of the events are listed below:ISRAElInternational Women’s Day activities in the framework of EU-supported projects under the programme: “Investing in People - Gender Equality”Maan/WAC women’s march for fair employment. In the framework of the EU supported project Job Opportunities for Arab Women in agri-culture, a march of Arab and Jewish women protesting for fair employment will set out from Rothschild Boulevard. in Tel Aviv, and end with a bigrally in the Meir Park where various artists will perform. When: 8 March, 16:00; Where: Rothschild Blvd. Tel AvivThe UNICO students’ organization, a partner in the Equality for Women in Israel: Adopting a Holistic Approach project, will carry out the fol-lowing activities on 8 March“Breaking the Glass Ceiling” Panel- A panel of leading women in various fields will discuss the “glass ceiling” from different perspectives: busi-ness, politics, media and academia. The panel will be held at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya at 14:30.“Female beauty as a key to success”- The event will examine the relationship between the “glass ceiling” and the ideal of beauty. The film “killingme softly” will be screened followed by a discussion about female representation in advertisements. At Tel – Hai College, Upper Galilee 18:00.“Made in Dagenham”- Screening of the movie “Made in Dagenham”, Based on the true story about a group of women who decided to go onstrike in a local Ford factory in England due to poor working conditions. At Ben Gurion University, Beersheva 20:30.“Between Feminism and Chauvinism”- An all day activity at Haifa University will examine the terms that define the “edges” of Gender Discourse:Feminism and Chauvinism. The discussion will integrate students and their opinions in order to find new concepts and ideas regarding old andnew terms in Gender Discourse. Haifa University, 10:00-16:00JORDANAat Network & AlBalad Theatre – International Women’s Day Festival, co-funded by the EUPerformances, 8pm: 20-22 March: AWT II: In the lost & Found, play by Lana Nasser; 23 March: Ana Hurra, from Palestine, by Valentina Abu Oqsa.Workshops, 5-8pm: March 8-12: “Language of Gesture”, Algerian artist Taous Khazem; March 21-23: “Unfolding Stories”, Dr. Fadi Skeiker, Syria/JordanCommunity Outreach: 12 March: Special event for young women from Gaza Camp-Jarash & Al-Ghore.Films, 8pm: March 8 The Kingdom of Women, March 9 The Absence of Mr and Mrs B, March 10 Kul Yome Eid, March 22-23: Audio Video ArtProject, by Muna al Mufti Steve Al-Alai.Where: All events are held at AlBalad Theatre, Jabal AmmanlEBANONOn the Occasion of International Women’s Day, the Lebanese NGO KAFA (enough) Violence & Exploitation is launching its Regional Lobbying and MediaCampaign on Lifting the Reservations on Article 16 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) withinthe framework of the EU-funded project “CEDAW from Theory to Practice”. The event will include testimonies from victims of domestic violence and willbe addressed by EU Head of Delegation Angelina Eichhorst.Financed through the Investing in People programme, the project aims at coordinating ef-forts in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria to promote implementation of CEDAW and push governments towards lifting their reservations on the convention.When: 7 March, 3pm; Where: Hotel Crowne Plaza, Hamra, BeirutOCCUPIED PAlEStINIAN tERRItORyThree projects related to women and human rights will be organising events on International Women’s Day.In Gaza, the National Centre for Community and Rehabilitation is organising an event in honour of disabled women under the projectCombating discrimination and Human Rights Abuse of marginalized children and womenIn East Jerusalem, the ‘Al Maqdese for Society Development’ organization will honour distinguished women (the EU funds one of theirprojects about ‘ending exploitation in East Jerusalem’ under the Human Rights programme)The Psycho Social Counseling Center For Women (under one of the EU’s Partnership for Peace programmes: Women can do change) willbe presenting the results of a needs assessment for women in the West Bank on a workshop on 15 March.UkRAINEInternational Women’s Day – History in PhotosA photo exhibition presented by the EU Delegation in Ukraine together with the United Nations in Ukraine, with the support of the State Servicesfor Youth and Sports. The exhibition illustrates how the image of women and their role in society have altered during the last hundred years.When: 3-13 March; Where: National Centre for Business and Cultural Cooperation “Ukrainskiy Dim (Ukrainian House)”, the Great Exhibition Hall. 2,Khreshchatyk Str., Kyiv, 01601This press pack (2011) was prepared by the ENPI Info Centre (, an EU-funded Regional Information and Communication project highlighting thepartnership between the EU and Neighbouring countries. It does not represent the official view of the EC or the EU institutions.