Meeting of the UN Gender Theme Group

GTG meeting, Tbilisi, GeorgiaOn 25 April UN held a Gender Theme Meeting in Tbilisi that was devoted to key challenges for LGBT activism in Georgia. This time the meeting was facilitated by Sara Laginder, Kvinna till Kvinna’s field representative in the South Caucasus region. The Gender Team Group (GTG) meeting was attended by different donor foundations working in Georgia.

Key objectives of the meeting were to familiarize the GTG with the issues and challenges faced by LGBT communities and activists in Georgia; secure support from the GTG for the International Day of Homophobia and Transphopbia (IDAHO) events foreseen around 17 May through statements, participation, mentioning the events with relevant government officials to ensure political support and security of the participants, and to identify some entry points and opportunities for further partnership.

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Dear EU, where are the women?

EU is currently developing a new strategy for its cooperation with the Western Balkans and Turkey from 2014-2020. It is a bold but welcome move to commit to such a long time-period. There are also specific guidelines for EU support to civil society in the enlargement countries. In the guidelines, several things are mentioned that we see as positive trends; EU is “aiming for longer term contracts, recognising that capacity building and advocacy work requires time and resources; moving away from project based support to a more flexible approach that fosters partnership and coalition building; and doing more to reach out to grass-root organisations, in particular through re-granting and flexible support mechanisms to respond to their immediate needs.” This is very positive, and somehow very close to the Kvinna till Kvinna work-method.

But.

When the Directorate General for Enlargement is organising a “multi-country consultation workshop” with the purpose to “improve, with the contribution of all relevant stakeholders, the guiding principles of civil society support in the enlargement region for the period 2014-2020″, only ONE women’s organisation is invited. Out of 44 representatives that will participate, ONE represents a women’s organisation (from Croatia).

This is a serious problem, and again, this document risks becoming fine words unless women’s organisations are also consulted.

Dear EU, you should live as you learn.

Happy 20 years anniversary, dear KTK!

Today, the Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation (KTK) celebrates the 20  years anniversary of its establishment and I take this chance to express my admiration for the passion and commitment the foundation demonstrates to support women during their tough time, times of war and conflicts.

Mainly, KTK collaborates with women’s organizations who play an active part in peace and rebuilding processes, in several countries who go through conflicts and political turbulence, assuring that women are great agents of peace.

As a young lady who experienced living through a war – 1994 civil war in Yemen- I can’t stress enough on the importance of achieving peace. Wars don’t just kill people and destroy properties, it also destroy souls. In the wake of wars, what it is even more saddening is the violence that follows and unfortunately women are the ones who suffer the greatest harm.

Having said that, how can one not admire foundations such as KTK which works passionately in investing in peace!

Happy 20 years anniversary, dear KTK!

Photo: ©Kvinna till Kvinna/Sara Lüdtke

Women’s Rights Movement Unstoppable

The following is a piece I wrote for 100år event done in Norway to remark the 100 Year Anniversary of Norwegian women’s suffrage, this year. The piece sums up what I spoke about during the 100år seminar that took place last week, titled, “Power to Change: Strategies in Feminist and Human Rights Activism” .

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Photo via Femen France

Just over the past two weeks, a 19-year-old Tunisian woman, identified only as Amina sparked massive controversy when she posted two photos of herself topless on the Femen Tunisian Facebook page (FEMEN is a women’s movement promoting women’s rights through  topless struggle). In one of the picture Amina posed while smoking a cigarette, baring her breasts and it was written across her chest “my body belongs to me and it’s not the source of anyone’s’ honor.” The purpose behind that was “to make the voice of the Tunisian women heard and protect them from suppression,” Amina told a local Tunisian press.

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