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International Women's Day Bulletin, 8 March 2014


International Women’s Day – successes to celebrate

EVAW in the news

Looking ahead to UN visit and local elections


International Women’s Day – Celebrating women’s achievements


Happy International Women’s Day!  We are celebrating major campaigning victories of inspiring women and girls and speaking out against violence against women around the UK.


Today, our co-Chair, Liz Kelly, spoke alongside many others at the Million Women Rise Rally in Trafalgar Square in Central London.Last night our Director Holly Dustin spoke at London Assembly Member Jennette Arnold’s Inspiring Change event at City Hall alongside Ikamara Larasi from the Rewind&Reframe project to tackle sexism and racism in music videos. They paid tribute to inspiring young women such as Fahma Mohammed the Bristol schoolgirl who got Education Secretary Michael Gove to agree to write to all schools to warn them of the risks of Female Genital Mutilation before the Summer.


EVAW Board member Janet Veitch says in her blog that it’s time for action on violence against women, and you can catch another of our Board members Dr Aisha Gill on the Sunday Politics tomorrow (9 March) in the London section debating how to tackle forced marriage with Heidi Alexander MP and Angie Bray MP.


Criminalising ‘rape porn’ – following a highly successful campaign by our member Rape Crisis South London to criminalise the possession of ‘rape porn’, the Prime Minister promised to take action last year. We are delighted that the new Criminal Justice and Courts Bill includes this change and our campaigning was praised in Parliament by Shadow Justice Minister Andy Slaughter. We have submitted evidence to the Parliamentary Committee looking at the Bill. In light of strong evidence about the harmful impact of porn on boys’ attitudes, we would welcome a debate about how sexually violent pornography more broadly can be tackled.


Home Office teen abuse campaign – the Home Office’s important ‘thisisabuse’ campaign targeting boys and young men with messages about seeking consent and non-abusive behaviour has had a new push. It comes as Rape Crisis revealed the scale of calls they receive from adult women reporting sexual assault experienced when under-18.


Getting policy to address ‘demand’ for prostitution on the agenda – the European Parliament voted significantly in support of a report endorsing the ‘Nordic model’ of response to prostitution, where women ‘selling’ sex are decriminalised but men who create the demand are not. The UK Parliament’s APPG on prostitution & trafficking also published a significant report echoing the same call. EVAW members are pleased to see the abuse in prostitution being pushed onto national and international political agendas.


EVAW in the news…

Following publication of new EU research showing high rates of violence against women across Europe, we echoed the authors’ call for the European women’s rights convention (known as the ‘Istanbul Convention’) to be ratified urgently by the UK.


Like many others, we have real concerns about the sensationalised reporting of Oscar Pistorius’ trial for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp. Holly’s Mumsnet blog on Paddy Power’s grubby ‘money back if he walks’ ad (now withdrawn and subject to an investigation by the ASA) is here and comment in the Huffington Post here.  


EVAW appealed for responsible reporting on sexual violence as more high profile sexual abuse trials concluded in the UK. Current media reporting shows how relevant the Leveson recommendations still are, and why we need a third party complaints entitlement if we are ever to challenge this. The Just the Women report by women’s groups on media sexism was referred to in Kira Cochrane’s recent article on the fightback against sexualisation.


Looking ahead – Rashida is on her way…

There is a flutter of excitement through our members all over the UK as UN Special Rapporteur Rashida Manjoo’s visit to the UK is now just a couple of weeks away. She will travel around our nations and talk to the media in the middle of April and report formally to the UN on the UK’s work in this area in September.


Local elections are also just around the corner on May 22nd and a critical opportunity for telling politicians that they must prioritise women’s safety and support in local communities. Let us know if you will be taking action. Our local election ‘asks’ will be published shortly.


If you would like to support our campaigning for a safer world for women and girls so that we can put pressure on government to take action you can make a donation. Every penny helps so many thanks!


We are very grateful for the support of all our supporters and funders, including Comic Relief, Esmée Fairbairn, Sigrid Rausing, Rosa, JMG, Trust for London and Amnesty International UK.

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