• 25 March 2021

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    Posteado en : Entrevista

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    The scars of gender-based violence are not always visible

    The head of the Human Rights and Equality Area of the National Police, Commissioner María Dolores López, analyses gender inequality and tells us about the work of the Police to combat this problem

    A conversation on gender violence and the work of the National Police to combat it with the head of the Human Rights and Equality Area, Commissioner María Dolores López, with the collaboration of América Pérez, Chief Inspector of the National Office for Gender Equality and Leticia Matarranz, Chief Inspector of the National Human Rights Office. 

    Is there a specific kind of violence that is committed against women? If so, why? 

    Yes, there is a specific kind of violence against women, simply because they are women. It manifests itself as the most brutal symbol of the inequality existing in our society, which is historical and which constitutes one of the most flagrant assaults on human rights. 

    This violence is rooted in gender inequalities that have been present for centuries in our society through stereotypes, gender roles and sexist ideas that we have been falsely taught about men and women.  

    When talking about violence against women, is it important to emphasise that there is physical but also psychological violence? Would you say that there are other areas or forms of violence against women?

    Of course abuse is not always physical or only physical, and the scars are not always visible. It is important to bear in mind that in addition to physical abuse, there are other forms of violence, such as psychological, sexual, labour, economic, institutional and symbolic violence, which feed off the stereotypes, messages and values that they transmit and contribute to the continuing repetition of relationships based on inequality. There is now also talk of obstetric violence, where a person giving birth experiences mistreatment or disrespect of their rights, including being forced into procedures against their will, at the hands of medical personnel. Such violence has its roots in the disregard for women’s rights in a natural process such as childbirth and ends up affecting the right to privacy and physical integrity in some cases.  

    What role do public institutions, specifically the National Police, have in the fight against this problem?

    Public institutions have a transcendental role in the fight against this scourge, not only because the constitutional mandate imposes the obligation to promote the conditions for freedom and equality to be real and effective and to remove the obstacles that prevent it on the public powers or as a result of the international commitments assumed by Spain, such as the Istanbul Convention, but also because the State has a duty to protect all its citizens. Spain’s public institutions have assumed this obligation since the promulgation of Organic Law 1/2004, which was a pioneering advance in the comprehensive protection of women against structural inequality linked to the lack of economic, social and cultural protection, including the development of specific preventive strategies on the matter, with the approval of the State Pact against Gender Violence.   

    In addition, the National Police, as part of the public institutions, and reinforcing its commitment to the defence of human rights, and particularly against any violation of them for reasons of gender, has established the promotion of comprehensive police action in the field of violence against women is an essential objective within its Institutional Strategic Plans.  

    Could you give some examples of the work of the Police against this violence? 

    In this context of prevention and fight against gender violence, and in order to improve the quality of service for victims, within Spain’s National Police, the first care services for women were created in 1986, known as SAM, which evolved into today’s Units of Attention to the Family and Women (UFAM) under the Judicial Police Area. 

    Based on the recognition of the uniqueness and complex characteristics of gender violence, the UFAM are specialised units that constitute the comprehensive police response service for dealing with gender violence, domestic violence, crimes against sexual freedom and crimes committed against minors. 

    Do you consider that society is committed to fighting violence against women? 

    Of course, society plays a fundamental role in combating this violence. 

    Despite the fact that Spain is a pioneer country in eradicating gender violence in all its forms and that society is committed to its eradication, data shows that there is still much work to be done. For this, an institutional, political and social consensus is needed that shows a seamless commitment of all the institutions to Spanish society. 

    To carry this out, it would be necessary to promote awareness-raising actions on the damage caused by inequality and violent behaviour, as has happened in recent campaigns in which the focus has been on the abuser and the victim’s environment. 

    It is crucial for victims to receive external support in escaping a situation of gender violence, as women who suffer it feel humiliated, having been isolated and had their self-esteem undermined in advance by the perpetrators. Faced with this scenario, the family and the victim’s most intimate circle have a privileged position to advise her and, if necessary, accompany her to report.   

    Although awareness should begin in the early stages of childhood, through education transmitted by families and should be reinforced in schools through the promotion of relationships based on respect and equality. Only if we act from the beginning will the fruits of prevention and awareness be obtained. 

     

  • 25 June 2020

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    Posteado en : Opinion

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    “The global challenge is clear: the widening in the gender gap is a reality”

    Icíar Bosch, Jimena Cazzaniga and Ana Cirujano, FIIAPP colleagues who are also part of the Foundation's gender group, tell us how they see gender equality as being in danger at the global level due to the Covid-19 crisis.

    It is a reality that the crisis generated by Covid-19 jeopardises the progress of the 2030 Agenda, especially the aspects linked to gender equality. In this complex situation, FIIAPP, through its know-how, is committed to not leaving women behind. As the figures demonstrate, women are more exposed to the virus and its social and economic impacts: approximately 70% of health staff in the world are women, as well as 80% of domestic and care personnel. On the other hand, caring for dependent relatives falls to a greater extent on women. As if this were not enough, it is women who represent the highest percentage of informal and part-time workers worldwide.

    FIIAPP can provide solutions in the form of public policy that take the gender perspective into account

    At FIIAPP, we have seen that strengthening public policies with a gender equality focus can aim to improve citizens’ lives. For example, during this crisis there is less access to sexual and reproductive health and a serious increase in gender-based violence. FIIAPP works in this field from different perspectives, such as supporting the creation of a Department of Gender Violence within AMERIPOL.

    On the other hand, the EUROsociAL+ Programme’s Democratic Governance Area has implemented innovative actions such as incorporating the gender perspective in systems to promote transparency and access to information, the differential impact of corruption on women, access to justice for especially vulnerable groups of women or assisting Latin American countries in implementing budgets with a gender perspective as an instrument to reduce inequalities.

    We consider that the need for women’s empowerment in times of crisis such as the current one is a central element when considering development strategies. Sometimes, the specific effects of a particular form of violence against them are added to this situation. Another example is occurring in the Sahel region, where women are seeing their rights being systematically limited. In the GAR-SI SAHEL project, FIIAPP has included a gender approach, not only to specifically protect women in conflict situations, but also as a commitment to the empowerment of women in the security forces and to increase the presence of women in these units.

    It also happens that the general discourse that frames the coronavirus crisis is profoundly masculine and riddled with warlike similes, in contrast, communication with equity should be present and extend to the use of an inclusive language that enables the visibility of women and girls. At FIIAPP, both in its communication department and in various programmes, there is a firm commitment regarding the use of non-discriminatory language. For example, the EU-Cuba Experience Exchange project to promote renewable energy sources and energy efficiency in Cuba, takes care to use inclusive language every time it communicates through an invitation, presentation, etc.

    This is why, at a time when the inclusion of the gender perspective is perceived as a secondary aspect, projects such as Living Together Without Discrimination are recognised as being valuable. The latter is an approach based on human rights and gender in which FIIAPP contributes technical assistance specialising in gender. After a thorough diagnosis, a series of tools were developed that allow all the people and institutions involved to integrate the gender perspective throughout the intervention. This enabled the existence of specific guidelines that ensure the incorporation of the gender perspective in each of the project’s tasks, processes, activities and results. As a result of all this work, the project has managed to ensure that gender-balanced candidate lists are positively considered in FIIAPP recruitment processes.

    But despite the enormous amount of information produced on the Covid-19 crisis, there are very few analyses that contain data on the situation of women, who are once again invisible. The gender impact of the various crises, including the climate crisis, is an undeniable fact. In the framework of programmes managed by FIIAPP such as EUROCLIMA+, initiatives that take into account the gender perspective are promoted, specifically through the collection and use of information disaggregated by sex, the establishment of gender-sensitive indicators, the creation of methods to facilitate the participation and consultation of women, as well as monitoring, evaluation and accountability from a gender perspective.

    As we mentioned before, women occupy a high percentage of precarious and informal jobs, many of them linked to unrecognised care tasks. The solution to the current crisis lies in repositioning these jobs and economically empowering women. For example, the Bridging the Gap (BtG) programme, being aware of such discrimination on multiple levels, is working to improve the employability of disabled women or those who have disabled children. Empowerment, as in other FIIAPP actions, is at the centre of BtG’s action to achieve women’s autonomy.

    These initiatives, selected from a series of proposals compiled by the FIIAPP Knowledge Management team, demonstrate that the raw material is there. However, it is necessary, on the one hand, to systematise and make this work visible, and on the other, to put this experience at the service of a gender strategy.  In this sense, FIIAPP is working, with the support of a group of professionals from within the organisation, on preparing and implementing its 1st Equality Plan. This tool has a double internal and external objective: to promote gender equality within the institution, as well as to equip the institution itself with the tools and processes that allow it to be systematically incorporated into the projects managed by the institution.

    With the arrival of the pandemic and the implementation of different emergency measures to face it, the global challenge is clear: the widening of the gender gap is a reality. It is our responsibility to work to minimise it, the solution is to be found in gender equality.

    Icíar Bosch, Jimena Cazzaniga and Ana Cirujano

    Project technicians in the FIIAPP gender team

     

  • 28 March 2019

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    Posteado en : Reportage

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    8 de marzo: en busca de la igualdad

    International Women’s Day has become one of the most strongly supported international days of the year. At FIIAPP, we are aware of the importance of gender inclusion in our projects and we are committed to an equality plan within the Foundation

    Currently, around 7.55 billion people inhabit the planet. According to United Nations data, 49.5% of these are women, which translates into 3.71 billion.

     

    There are many obstacles that women face by simply being women. The OECD report “The Pursuit of Gender Equality: An Uphill Battle”, shows that women are still at a disadvantage in all areas of life and in all countries with respect to men.

     

    The Global Wage Report 2016/2017 prepared by the International Labour Organization (ILO) highlights that the wage gap increases as wages increase. According to data in a Eurostat report, in Spain in 2016, the gender wage gap was 14.9% compared to a European average 16.7%.

     

    Likewise, of all the people living in extreme poverty, 75% are women and girls. Of the total number of children who do not attend school, 60% are girls and, although women account for half of the food produced, they only own 1% of cultivated land.

     

    8 March, International Women’s Day

     

    tw_mujer-1024x512-jpgInternational Working Women’s Day was institutionalised by the United Nations on 8 March 1975 under the name International Women’s Day. However, the day was celebrated for the first time on 19 March 1911 in Europe, specifically in Germany, Austria, Denmark and Switzerland, and since then its commemoration has expanded to other countries.

     

    Year after year, 8 March has become one of the international days with the greatest impact on society, as it has become a day marked by a global call-to-arms in which women join forces to demand gender equality and a fair society. An ever increasing number of men are joining in and becoming aware of the problem of inequality that women face.

     

    Gender equality is, fundamentally, a matter of power. We live in a world dominated by men, with a culture that is dominated by men. “Only when we understand the rights of women as a common goal, as a path to change for the benefit of all, will we begin to tip the balance“, the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres highlighted in his message for World Women’s Day in 2019.

     

    “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change”

     

    In 2019, the slogan for International Women’s Day has been “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change”. This slogan places innovation by women at the centre of their efforts to achieve gender equality, since this requires social innovations that are valid for both men and women “leaving nobody behind“.

     

    #Metoo movement

     

    In a similar way to 8 March, women are also joining forces to raise their voices to advocate for gender equality through the #Metoo movement, which has become a protest movement that is active 365 days of the year. Through it, women around the world have had the opportunity to write about their experiences on social networks, reporting cases of sexual abuse and receiving support.

     

    SDG 5: Gender equality

     

    According to the United Nations, “gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but the foundation needed to achieve a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world“. In order to fulfil the objectives of the 2030 Agenda, gender equality has been included as the fifth of the Sustainable Development Goals . The wide-ranging aims of this goal include seeking to put an end to all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere, eliminating all forms of violence against them, the adoption and strengthening of sound policies and the applicable of legislation to promote gender equality.

     

    Likewise, people with disabilities also suffer from gender inequality, especially when it comes to access to education. According to Ola Abu Ghraib, Director of Research and Global Influence at the Leonard Cheshire Organisation, “mechanisms must be improved to integrate girls with disabilities into the education system, and to integrate gender into the 2030 Agenda”.

     

    FIIAPP and gender mainstreaming

     

    On the occasion of International Women’s Day, on 7 March, FIIAPP held a round table that was attended by the Government Delegate for Gender Violence, Pilar Llop Cuenca, and the Director of the Spanish Observatory on Racism and Xenophobia (OBERAXE), Karoline Fernández, who highlighted the discrimination suffered by immigrant women in our society. The conclusion of this debate was the importance of “mobilising and raising awareness about gender violence through education“.

     

    FIIAPP wants to position itself as the first Spanish foundation active in the field of public sector cooperation to apply gender inclusion both internally and externally. The Foundation is, therefore, developing an equality plan that aims to offer the same opportunities to men and women within the institution.

     

    Similarly, FIIAPP is already working with various projects that have this gender insertion, such as EUROsociAL+ , EL PacCto:Support to AMERIPOL and the Convivir sin discriminación project.

     

    According to Manuel Sánchez, a project technician with FIIAPP, the Foundation “has two main challenges: one is to include a focus on gender within the foundation with a plan and a specific programme for this, and on the other hand the responsibility we have as male and female workers to incorporate this into our projects.