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ewl for a feminist europe

Report on European Womens Lobby General Assembly from 2 - 4 June 2016 in Brussels. 

SUBMITTED BY LILIANE SEIDMAN, ICJW representative to EWL

The opening session was held at the Swedish Embassy, where EWL's recommendations on combating violence against refugee women and girls on the move were unveiled. This ties in with the five months project: "From conflict to Peace? Women's and girls' voices on the move" working together with the Women's Refugee Commission (WRC) and the European Network of Migrant Women (ENoMW).

The testimony of some refugees was appalling: no sanitary facilities, gender violence, no provisions for pregnant women and new mothers). Journalists should have the courage to speak up about this.

The Swedes presented their "Look-Go-Act plan, “the beginning starts with us".
The outgoing EWL President, Viviane Teitelbaum, called for action by Europe for a gender-sensitive humanitarian response.

The second day was focused on Feminist Economics. The need for public investments in all social and economic areas was stressed. Pension equality is an important point, while women still only have 42% of men's pensions. The austerity policies which are pursued in Europe are particularly harmful to women.

Separate discussion groups dealt with issues such as the private sector focussing on profit, the public sector on providing care - the impact of the introduction of robots - how do we envisage the EWL 50 years from now?

Following the discussion about surrogacy, as a commercial activity or as an altruistic action, EWL will arise some issues at both national and European level to stop this violation of women’s rights.

A shocking movie "Pornland" introduced a discussion on the manner in which pornography has high jacked our sexuality with a violent and cruel porn industry. Today the average age for first viewing porn is 11 years for boys. These later have difficulty forming healthy relationships. As a practical step to combat this, EWL will develop actions towards hotels in Brussels and liaising this work with EWL campaign on the abolition of prostitution.

The EWL uses the Webinar "From words to action" where they cover topics such as the Beijing +20 year; Women in armed conflicts (resolution UN1325); Refugee women's emergency etc.

At this meeting, once more, EWL reiterated its commitment to fighting for the rights of women in all areas and giving visibility to EWL work on Refugee women disseminating the outcomes of the “#Womensvoices project” and making sure that impunity is on the European agenda when it comes to violence against refugee women and girls.

Our outgoing president Viviane Teitelbaum made an emotional speech. As a born activist, a fighter for women's rights, she is a role model for us all.

The newly elected President is Dr. Edith Schwartsberger-Vecsel, a medical doctor from Austria. She will lead us in the fight for a FEMINIST EUROPE.