The Commission on the Status of Women agrees conclusions on the elimination and prevention of all forms of VAWG
The 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women has taken place in New York over the last two weeks.
Amongst the agreed conclusions, Imkaan particularly welcomes conclusions that promote equal access to education, encourage appropriate responses to VAWG by statutory services, recognise the specific needs of women in conflict and post-conflict situations, migrants, and women with HIV, and the important role of the media and ICT in eliminating VAWG:
- The acknowledgement of the important role of prevention and elimination of discrimination.
- The right to education as a human right, and the elimination of illiteracy, ensuring equal access to education, in particular in remote and rural areas and closing the gender gap at all levels of education, empowers women and girls and thereby contributes to eliminating all forms of discrimination and VAWG.
- The commission urges states to strongly condemn all forms of VAWG and to refrain from invoking custom, tradition or religion to avoid their obligations as set out in the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women.
- Ensure women and girls access to justice and effective legal assistance and processes.
- Develop and implement multisectoral national policies, strategies and programmes with the effective participation of women and girls which include measures for prevention, protection, support services, data collection, research, monitoring and evaluation and national benchmarks for results to be achieved.
- Adopt and fund policy reforms and programmes, and support education to train and strengthen the capacity of the judiciary, police, military, those working in education, health, social welfare, justice, defence and immigration; hold public officials accountable for not complying with laws and regulations related to VAWG.
- Recognise the important role of the media in the elimination of gender stereotypes and in promoting non-discriminatory and gender-sensitive reporting, and in improving public awareness on VAWG, to train those who work in the media and to develop and strengthen self-regulatory mechanisms to promote balanced and non-stereotypical portrayals of women as creative human beings, key actors and contributors to and beneficiaries of the process of development.
- Support the development and use of ICT and social media as a resource for the empowerment of women and girls including access to information on prevention and responses to VAWG and mechanisms to combat the use of ICT and social media to perpetrate sexual harassment, exploitation, child pornography, trafficking, cyber stalking and bullying.
- Adopt and implement measures to ensure the social and legal inclusion and protection of women migrants, including women migrant workers.
- Eliminate discrimination and violence against women and girls living with HIV.
- Ensure that in armed conflict and post-conflict situations, sexual and gender based violence are prioritised and addressed through investigation, prosecution and punishment of perpetrators to end impunity and remove barriers to women’s access to justice. This includes establishing mechanisms of complaint and reporting, access to health care, including sexual and reproductive health services.
The CSW conclusions provide a critical opportunity for states to implement, strengthen and monitor the work to eliminate and prevent all forms of violence against women and girls. The UK Government has been participating in these discussions and we hope to see targeted efforts from government to ensure that the conclusions are adopted to strengthen existing work on VAWG in the UK.
Imkaan’s Accredited Training Programme is Open for Bookings
Accredited Training Programme
24-25 April Understanding the effects of DV on BME women
OCN Levels One and Two
15-16 May Understanding the effects of DV on BME women
OCN Levels One and Two
26-27 June Understanding forced marriage and ‘honour-based’ violence; Risk and Case Management
OCN Level Two
10-11 July Understanding forced marriage and ‘honour-based’ violence; Risk and Case Management
OCN Level Two
Other available courses
- BME women and sexual violence
- Feminism for BME women
- Training for trainers
To book a place on any of these courses, or to request in-house training, please email email@example.com.
For more information about Imkaan’s training programme click here.
Challenging racist and sexist music videos
Young women lead new multimedia project to challenge racism and sexism in music videos
Imkaan, EVAW and Object are working together to enable young women to design and run a multimedia project where they can highlight and criticise racism and sexism in music videos. Black and minority ethnic young women have told us they want a space to talk about the racism and sexism they see.
Read an article by Imkaan’s Executive Director, Marai Larasi MBE, on why we are doing this work here.
Through online resources for UK schools and organisations, plus a national lobbying campaign, the project aims to educate and empower young women to speak out and change attitudes. A ‘music sexism and racism’ website will be built including a space for uploading and sharing videos which portray either positive or negative messages. The website will also include a space for a blog where young women can write about their experiences and debate relevant issues and share via Facebook and other social media.
The project will also encourage young women to lobby artists, regulators and music industry directly about videos or songs that they feel are negative, sexist and/or racist. Using apps and other tools affected women will be able to complain directly to regulators such as the ASA and Ofcom.
Minister for Women and Equalities, Jo Swinson, said:
“For too long women have been objectified and stereotyped in the media. Through the government’s Body Confidence Campaign, we have been working to reduce the pressures that popular culture can place on individuals’ self-image and self-esteem. The images on display in magazines and on television often objectify women. These images are very powerful and influential and young girls may interpret these as a way to be seen as attractive.
“That is why projects like this are important in encouraging public debate and challenging the industry – it is vital that young women feel able to speak out and talk about the issues that are affecting them. We need to encourage young girls to feel valued not because of what they look like, but for what they can contribute and achieve.”
Dorett Jones, Development and Training Manager at Imkaan said:
“Imkaan is excited to work on this project in collaboration with EVAW and Object. Our combined specialism and expertise ensures a dynamic process for the young women, as well as a unique environment for all involved to learn, organise and challenge. This opportunity comes at a very important time when we witness the continuous rise of racist and sexist attitudes towards women and girls on a global scale. This project will provide a much needed platform for young women across the UK to affect change in a meaningful and sustainable way.”
Holly Dustin, Director of EVAW said:
“This project will empower young women to speak out about sexism and racism in the music industry which we know provides the context in which violence against women and girls flourishes. We will ensure that young women’s voices are heard and that their actions lead to real change. We are very excited to be working with Object and Imkaan to create positive change in the music industry. This is part of our ongoing work to tackle the media’s portrayal of women and girls and links into our Everydaymediasexism project.”
Silvia Murray Wakefield from Object said:
“OBJECT is thrilled to have the opportunity to work in partnership with EVAW and Imkaan to shine a spotlight on the ways the objectification of women plays out in both sexist and racist forms in popular culture, and to give the young women who want to challenge these messages a voice and a platform to speak out, where they will be heard by those in power.”
Maggie Baxter, the Chair of Rosa, which is generously funding the project welcomed the project announcement:
“Rosa is very pleased to be able to support this important project taking on the shocking way young women and girls are objectified in music videos. This work will challenge negative stereotypes which can limit girls’ aspiration and will empower young women to speak up about the sexism they encounter on a daily basis. It will use social media and online campaigning tools, as well as more traditional methods, to campaign for changes in government policy and practices within the industry. Supporting the EVAW, Object and Imkaan initiative furthers Rosa’s objectives of funding innovative projects to bring about social change for women and girls.”
Watch this space for more details as the project takes off…
What Do Young Women Think About the ‘Sexualised’ Pop Culture Around them? Has anyone asked them?
Article written by Imkaan’s Executive Director, Marai Larasi MBE, in today’s Huffington Post.
On Thursday, celebrities will dance in Parliament Square to draw attention to the scale of violence against women and girls all over the world, while inside Parliament a cross-party group of women MPs will lead a debate on making sex and relationships education compulsory - as a key way to ensure that all young people in the UK learn about sexual consent and respectful relationships, gender stereotyping and sexualisation.
Over the last few years there has been increasing attention to what is now often referred to as ‘sexualisation’. This focus has resulted in new government policies which are designed to address the fact that young people might be less equipped than adults to interpret and critique the powerful, sexualised messages present in advertising, TV, film, music, and social media. Recommendations to Number 10 have included new age restrictions on music videos and video games, restrictions on billboard advertising, and a new website portal which makes complaining to media and advertising regulators easier.
The political debate around sexualisation has been largely framed however around parental concerns and obviously explicit content. Inevitably this has resulted in a focus on the need for greater restrictions and improved complaint mechanisms. It has not focused on children’s and women’s rights to be free from harm. Critically, it has so far failed to make the links between a wider context of sexualisation and women’s unequal status in all our societies. There has been no ‘connecting the dots’ in terms of policies on sexualisation and its harms, preventing violence against girls and media regulation reform (an argument we made at the Leveson Inquiry).
Has anyone asked girls and young women (and boys and young men) what they think about the sexualised world around them, and what, if anything, they think should be changed?
Women’s groups do innovative work in some UK schools to help deliver sex and relationships education. What those doing this work hear from young people, time and time again, is confusion about the gendered roles they feel that they are expected to fulfil. Many young people feel that they are given mixed messages about what sexual consent is, where the lines are, and when you can say ‘no’. Many young men hold worryingly common attitudes that say sexual pressure and even force, as well as physical violence, is acceptable. As a result the Home Office, recognising the high incidence of violence against girls, is today re-launching a campaign to challenge such views.
These attitudes exist in a context where violence against women and girls is facilitated and promoted through the media, for example in music videos which normalise sexual harassment and other forms of abuse. Artists like Katy Perry, Kanye West and Skepta have all released videos, often significantly aimed at a teen market, which ‘play’ with ideas and images about pimping, sexual violence, submission and domination, male sexual entitlement, pornography and more. Some newspapers routinely carry ‘up-skirt’ photographs which imply that the subject has not consented to the image being taken. Facebook has hosted pages which joke about and trivialise rape; and while social media has many benefits, it has also (especially on smartphones) enabled cases of sexual bullying as highlighted in this NSPCC report and which for example lead to the death of Chevonea Kendall-Bryan.
When Imkaan worked with young black and minority ethnic women, they consistently voiced their disillusionment and sense of helplessness about the way they are represented in music and other media. They said that they want opportunities to discuss this and have their concerns addressed. As those young women noted, there are powerful racist as well as sexist messages throughout media, with black and other minority women ‘exoticised’ in very specific ways (I won’t even link to the porn ads featuring a menu of different women listed by ‘racial’ origin, but it’s a couple of clicks away and young people are more than aware of the racist-sexist stereotypes being promoted, not to mention profited from). Boys and girls from all backgrounds and ethnicities receive and respond to these messages in different ways. Many of them want to talk about it and they want to change it. They are telling us that they are being misrepresented and that they want to tell their diverse stories using their own ‘voices’ and ‘images’. This is why Imkaan, the EVAW Coalition and Object are launching a new multimedia project funded by Rosa which young women will use to build a platform to highlight and critique sexist and racist music videos.
Young women should be at the heart of policy making to address sexualisation and sexual abuse. Our project will contribute to this, but schools and the government should get proactive on involving young women in challenging attitudes which condone and tolerate abuse. Only this will ensure we get a rights-based, rather than parents-focused, solution.
Million Women Rise
SATURDAY 9TH MARCH 2013
Meet: 12.00pm Oxford Street
Set off: 1.00pm
Rally: 3.00pm Trafalgar Square
This year the whole of Oxford Street will be closed to traffic from 12pm, making way for Million Women Rise to reclaim Oxford Street.
Why women only?
The Million Women Rise march is open to all women and children. Million Women Rise has planned for the march to be women-only for a number of reasons:
Women and children in the UK and elsewhere around the world continue to experience violence every minute of every hour of every day in our homes, on our streets, on our public transport, at our places of work and in countries where there is war.
The idea for the Million Women Rise event came from a group of women who dreamed of a strong visible presence of thousands of women marching together, in unity, to say ‘enough is enough’.
Women have been socially, culturally and economically conditioned to defer to men, to take our lead from men, to behave in ways approved of by men. On this particular day, Million Women Rise want women to come and feel the strength, the exhilaration and power of being with other women, to celebrate ourselves, to sing, shout and chant at the top of our voices, in all our diversity, to demonstrate however we want because we’re women in the company of other women.
Support Million Women Rise
Million Women Rise is a collective of women who work autonomously as volunteers, without any corporate sponsorship or formal funding. They promote real change that is based on truth, unity and solidarity, peace and love. Million Women Rise rely on the support of donations to keep their voice autonomous.
Raised funds will go towards costs including public liability insurance, stage hire, screen and audio equipment for Trafalgar Square, and other related activities including The Million Women Rise Project; Million Women Rise organise conscious raising events and activities throughout the year and are currently developing a space to provide support groups for women who are overcoming their experiences of male violence.