Tag Archives: women’s rights

Dutch burqa ban challenges

Around one hundred people, mainly women, protested in  The Hague, The Netherlands on August 9 against “Burqa ban“, which came into effect in the on August, 1.

Around couple of dozens of women wore a niqab and carried plates with texts like “I am getting robbed of my freedom“, “Hands off my niqab”, “We are the victims of symbolized politics” and “Human rights are being violated” during the silent protest.

The demonstration took place at the Koekamp Park, and passed without incidents. The protesters demand the Dutch government to recall the law. A few secular human rights activists were present to demonstrate their solidarity and support to the Muslim believers.

According to the organizers, the law violates freedom of movement, freedom of religion and self-determination of women. In addition, they think that woman wearing a niqab/burqa are excluded from social life and that the law leads to polarization of society.

The new Dutch law partially prohibits face-covering clothing. It means that people are no longer allowed to enter public space such as hospitals, government buildings, schools and public transport with face-covering clothing, such as a burqa, niqab and balaclava.

The Party for Freedom (PvV) leader Geert Wilders sees it differently: as far as he is concerned, the Dutch government should deport all those burka/niqab groupies to Saudi Arabia, where then can practice their cult without risking to clash with democracy, fundamental rights and equality.

However the biggest challenge of Dutch government is that the overwhelming majority of these women were born in the Netherlands, and have Dutch nationality. Their mothers were eager to integrate, and they were not wearing Muslim veils.

When the law passed in June 2018, Upper House of the Parliament press officer Gert Riphagen estimated that it concerns between 200 and 400 burqa or niqab-wearing Muslims  in the Netherlands, out of a population of 17 million people.

The Dutch law is similar to bans in the other European countries: in France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Denmark, some of which go further than the prohibition, but they impose fines: 1,000 Danish kroner (€100) in Denmark and  €150 in France.

In October 2018 the United Nations Human Rights Committee opposed the bans, explaining that it violates the human rights of Muslim women and risks “confining them to their homes.” However the opinion of international experts did not have any effect on the implementation of the legislation.

 

 

Tusk vows respect gender balance for EU top jobs

The president of European Union Council Donald Tusk announced he is looking for the best candidates for the EU’s top jobs this year and underlined he aimed to offer at least half of them to women.

Gender balance means at least two women. Whether this is possible — we will see, but it is my plan and my personal ambition and I felt very strong support from almost everyone in this aspect,Tusk said at a press-conference concluding the EU Informal summit.

 

#8March: Europarl employees protest against inequality

#InternationalWomenDay European Parliament staff went on strike, protesting against inequality in the European parliament. In 60 years only two women reached the positions of speaker, however they both were elected last millennium.

at the European Parliament main entrance at Simone Veil Agora: “We demand that women no longer have to bear the consequences of policies that don’t respect us”. The organisers of the event are the only gender-balanced group in the European Parliament. “We stand up for workers, environment, feminism, peace & human rights. Another Europe is possible!” says the European United Left/Nordic Green Left group, on its Twitter micro blog page.

International Women’s Day

“Europe ranks among the safest and most equal places for girls and women in the world”, says the statement of the European Commission issued on the occasion of the 8th of March International Women’s Day.

“…Also in Europe women are still facing challenges, inequalities and threats in their everyday lives: abuses and harassment, lower wages, fewer job and career opportunities. And that is unacceptable. […] Many of the remaining inequalities are linked to the place of women at work. The EU’s new rules on Work-Life Balance will contribute to getting more women at work by giving families a real choice on how to organise their professional and private life. […] Women remain underrepresented in politics. In the upcoming European elections, we would like to see more women across the EU not only voting, but standing and succeeding as candidates.

“The Commission also calls for more women to be represented in the highest level of all EU institutions, including as Commissioners. This Commission has been leading by example: today we have 9 female Commissioners and women account for almost 40% of our managers.

“…Gender equality is also at the core of our continuous engagement with partner countries worldwide. […] We are committed to giving all women and girls equal access to health services, education and economic empowerment, and the opportunities to shape their own future.”

The Commission has also published its 2019 report on equality between women and men in the EU, under the responsibility of First Vice-President Timmermans and Commissioner Jourová. n in law enforcement. For more information on the Commission’s action in the field of gender equality, click here. Eurostat data on the gender employment gap is available here, on women in managerial positions here, and statistics on women in national parliaments and governments here.

EU: women in politics striving for equality

Exactly one hundred years after women won the vote or were first elected to parliament in some EU countries, the data show that women continue to be under-represented in politics and public life, in the European Parliament, national parliaments and governments, and local assemblies.

Virginija Langbakkdirector of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) shares her view on major obstacle for women to reach equality with men in politics.

The arguments for gender balance in politics are numerous, and benefit not only women and female politicians, but also parties themselves and the rest of society. After all, women form half the population and need to be better represented in power structures. However, there is now solid evidence both of obstacles and of the strategies that are effective when it comes to increasing women’s participation and representation.

The political parties and the media can be both barriers and important enablers. The EU has committed to achieving a gender balance in political representation and participation as a matter of justice, equality and democracy. Concrete recommendations have been made for achieving this goal, including specific action that could be taken by the EU institutions, national governments, political parties, civil society and the media. In the run-up to the European elections in May 2019, new mandates in the Commission and European Council, and the end of the EU’s current strategy for gender equality, there is a particular focus on how a better gender balance (at least 40 %) or gender parity (50 %), could be achieved in the next Parliament and for other high-level posts in the EU institutions, and how the EU and its Member States can move towards true parity democracy.

The EP press service has organised a seminar for journalists at the occasion of the 2019 International Women’s Day on “Women’s power in politics”, with a particular focus on the upcoming European Elections.

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Saudi women protest against abaya

Saudi campaigners have urged Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to abandon rules for the Kingdom’s rigid dress code for women, launching a social media action posting photos, wearing their abayas inside out in protest.

Women in Saudi Arabia have for decades been required to wear the abaya — a loose, all-covering black garment — in public, a dress code strictly enforced by police.

Prince Mohammed said in March that women needed only to dress “modestly” and were not required to wear abayas. But Saudi women  see  that in practice nothing has changed, and they are demanding the promised freedom.

I’ve started wearing my compulsory hijab called abaya (this black robe) turned inside out to express my objection on Sharia law violating Saudi women’s freedom to clothe,” tweeted one, referring to the Islamic law that effectively governs the kingdom.

‘”I’ve started wearing my compulsory hijab called abaya (this black robe) turned inside out to express my objection on Sharia law violating Saudi women’s freedom to clothe,” tweeted one, referring to the Islamic law that governs the Kingdom.

Irish voted to legalize abortion

In a historic victory the Republic of Ireland has voted to effectively legalize abortion, removing a clause in the constitution that had been described by the UN as a violation of human rights.

The Irish electorate voted 1,429,981 to 723,632 in favor of repealing the Eighth Amendment of the country’s constitution.

The result removes the equal right to life of the unborn and mother from the constitution. The conservative 1983 law had effectively banned all abortions, leading to thousands of Irish women travelling abroad to countries such as the UK to undergo the procedure.

The vote came as a total defeat of anti-abortion campaigners, who have already assessed the referendum results as a “tragedy of historic proportions”; they also quoted the Vatican, pointing out that while giving right to a women, the abortion denies an unborn child his or her “most basic right, to life itself.”

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