• 25 November 2020

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    Category : Reportage

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    ‘Violence against women is not something some group made up’

    The 25 of November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. At the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP), we took a look at the situation worldwide and the role of international cooperation with the gender specialist, Cecilia Güemes.

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    25 de Noviembre, Día Internacional de la Eliminación de la Violencia Contra la Mujer

    Approximately 15 million teenage women (15 to 19 years old) around the world have suffered forced sexual relations at some point in their lives according to UNICEF. Globally, one in three women has suffered physical or sexual violence, mainly from an intimate partner, according to the UN . A total of 72% of all victims of human trafficking globally are women and girls and four out of five women victims of trafficking are used for sexual exploitation according to UNODC. In addition, at least 200 million women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 have been subjected to female genital mutilation in 30 countries where representative data is available according to UNICEF.

    Faced with this reality, 25 November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. A specific type of violence that is exercised against women due to the mere fact that they are women: ‘Violence against women is not something some group made up – it refers to a specific type of violence directed at women and based on historical structural factors and the construction of roles where control, domination, and invisibility or the assignment of a specific role in the social representation of women is sought’, according to the president of the Research Group on Government, Administration, and Public Policy (GIGAPP), Cecilia Güemes.

    A doctor in political science and a lawyer, Güemes’s career has been spent in the field of research in matters such as social and political trust, public policies, and social cohesion. In addition, she collaborates with the Carolina Foundation and is the author of publications such as ‘Women in Ibero-America: Government Tools for a Change that Has Already Begun’ and ‘It will be Law.The Fight for the Legalisation of Abortion in Argentina’.

    For this specialist, public institutions play a key role in combating gender-based violence, something reflected in the commitments adopted in 2015, when 193 countries pledged to work towards compliance with the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The fifth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. With this in mind, this SDG establishes a number of targets such as eliminating all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including human trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation and approving and strengthening sound policies and applicable laws to promote gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels. According to Güemes, concrete actions of governments affect and shape social reality, so she defends the need for women and the gender perspective to be part of policy-making, that the gender perspective be integrated into all government actions and all areas, ‘not only that there are specific institutions dedicated to gender issues’, but that a budget be allocated to design, implement, and evaluate policies with a gender perspective and, finally, that civil servants in charge of managing the public be trained in the gender perspective.

    The FIIAPP’s Commitment

    The FIIAPP, as a cooperation agency that works closely with public institutions, is aware of the role of the Foundation in promoting collaboration between different social agents to create an environment of peace and sustainable development, from a gender perspective. This approach is applied from programmes funded by the European Union in various sectors such as security, the fight against human trafficking, access to justice in an inclusive way, the fight against corruption, and the mitigation of climate change. Programmes such as EUROsociAL+, a programme managed by FIIAPP in collaboration with other European agencies, are prioritising the gender approach in their action plans.

    This is also the case of the EUROCLIMA+ programme in Latin America, through which the integration and involvement of women in policy-making and decision-making regarding the effects of climate change are sought. They are not, however, the only projects that apply the gender perspective. European programmes such as EL PAcCTO and A-TIPSOM , which fight organised crime in Latin America and human trafficking in Nigeria, respectively, also apply working methods based on gender equality.

    In this way, the FIIAPP reaffirms its commitment to eradicating violence against women and the key role of cooperation to combat this problem, something which Güemes agrees with: ‘International cooperation is key insofar as it is capable of contributing with economic, human, and cognitive resources to the development of public policy, in monitoring and evaluating actions, and in the use of best practices, especially in societies that are resistant to these topics, where social roles are normatively established’.

    Reading to raise awareness this 25N

    ‘There are lots of books that I would recommend where you get a peek at the change of era and in which the external and internal struggles that occupy women today are portrayed’, explains this Carolina Foundation collaborator. ‘Two Argentine authors that I really liked are Luciana Peker (Putita golosa and La revolucion de las hijas) and Tamara Tenenbaum (El fin del amor). I also recommend following her work on social media’.

    In and from Europe, Güemes recommends Vanessa Springora’s recent work, Consent. ‘I liked it a lot as it reveals the hypocrisies and contradictions in Western societies’.

    Finally, regarding contemporary authors, the president of GIGAPP recommends reading women authors who describe the tensions suffered by women who seek to question or break with gender roles and contribute to the work, not only of deconstructing, but of building a new society in their stories.  ‘Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Olga Tokarczuk, Siri Hustvedt, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Vivian Gornick, to name some of the ones I liked the most’, she concludes.

    By Cristina Blasco, ( @cbm_cris ). FIIAPP communication team.

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