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Fighting gender-based violence in the Four Motors for Europe

Representatives of the Four Motors for Europe exposed the impact of the pandemic and lockdown from a gender-based violence perspective as well as presenting the experiences and strategies of the four regions in tackling them.  The online event took place on October 28 as a part of the II International Congress for Elimination of Gender-Based Violence and was followed by more than 180 viewers. 

The event was inaugurated by Elisabet Nebreda, Secretary for Foreign Action and European Union of the Government of Catalonia. Nebreda welcomed the speakers and audience before pointing out that the regions need to make sure they provide the necessary mechanisms to be able to avoid the pain that gender-based violence creates. She emphasized the value of initiatives such as this event, claiming that the “actions we take are important because this evil is not generational”.

Ms. Núria Ramon, director of the Catalan Women’s Institute and representing Catalonia, remarked the different initiatives launched by the Catalan Government to fight against gender-based violence during the lockdown. Ramon underlined that “it is vital to keep up the efforts to coordinate inter-institutionally, achieving an effective side-by-side public administrations and expert organisations management” in order to keep the ongoing struggle “for gender equality in all aspects of our lives, because the best way to prevent sexist violence is by achieving real equality, going beyond the formal equality”.

Ms. Andrea Bosch, from the coordination office of the regional working group of autonomous women’s shelters in Baden-Württemberg, reported on the complexity of reorganizing, funding and finding new safe shelters for women and children after the restrictions due to the pandemic.

Professor Anna Lorenzetti, from the University of Bergamo, and coordinator of the project Gender violence: legal and psyco-social issue, focused on the initiative implemented by the Lombardy region jointly with local administrations. Among others, they activated a phone and chat line, and were involved in the reception of women in endangered situation and collaborated with pharmacies in order to implement the emergency mask initiative as a help code. Promoting this initiative, she exclaimed that “it has served to strengthen the network conformed by regional and local institutions, the private sector, university and public policies”.

Ms. Cécile Langeois, regional deputy director for women’s rights and equality of the French National government in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, presented the initiatives put in place in France and at a local level. She stressed that currently, according to the new legislation, “it is the aggressor who must leave the house”. Langeois concluded that “the emergency has not created sexist violence; it has simply aggravated the phenomenon of sexist violence in our society”.

In the closing remarks, Ms. Laura Martínez Portell, president of the Catalan Women’s Institute, summarized the speaker's common views, stating, “Learning from each other and creating knowledge together are key factors if we are to overcome this crisis”. As a conclusion, Martínez determined that “we can only overcome this pandemic and any other future threat if we invest in the promotion of human rights, gender equality and sustainability”. “So now is the time to work together to transform our society. Changing exploitation and inequality for an inclusive world”, she added.

Watch the debate again: link