Declaration of “Women Power” study session

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2-9 April 2006, Budapest

We, the participants at the study session “Women Power!” – representing over twenty youth, green and women`s organisations from over twenty European Countries – have met at the European Youth Centre in Budapest to:
Share THE needs and dreams we brought with us;
Share experiences, methods and other good practices for empowering women;
Identify educational and social strategies for empowering women;
Explore the role of women`s rights mechanisms;
Explore the perspectives of the feminist movement both collectively and individually;
Discuss the role of youth policy in women empowering;
Create a network of socially and politically active women to give ourselves the courage to be engaged and to work on solutions of problems that we recognize;

In the area of Culture

A. We have recognised the expectations that society puts on women are disproportionately high in comparison to those placed upon men, creating pressure to e perfect;

B. We believe that women still meet many prejudices, such as bearing the whole responsibility for children`s welfare and domestic chores;

C. We are especially concerned with the fact that women are treated as objects in many situations;

D. We acknowledge that women are very often confronted with the problem of glass-ceiling;

E. We are also alarmed that women often suffer from opression connected to religious and ideological conservatism;

F. We are aware that today`s societies demand too much of people which makes it hard to combine the professional and the personal life, especially for women;

G. We are sad to notice that, despite many programmes in the whole of Europe many state governments still do not cooperate with non-governmentalorganisations on gender equality; or take into account the issues of gender equality;

In Politics

A. We recognise that women are underrepresented in almost all political bodies in the world;

B. We believe that today`s political system is structured by men thus favouring men;

C. We are alarmed by the fact that women in politics are still very often confronted with sexism and the use of stereotypes to discourage;

D. Very often the political resolutions are not implemented and have no impact on the real lives of women in Europe;

In the field of our own organisations

A. We are alarmed that even women who are engaged in political or social work are often discouraged by an existing hierarchy, which does not allow them to get to reach the top positions;

B. We are aware that women`s voices are very often underrepresented, and women seem to be invisible in many ways;

C. We are sad to notice that, despite of many achievements we still suffer from a lack of communication and the sharing of information within our organisations;

D. Too much demand is put on local NGOs to solve the problems which are not being considered by the governments and parties ;

E. We are sad to mention that women as politicians are very often discriminated discriminated against in the media concentrating on their appearance and their gender roles;

At the labour market

A. We are sad to notice that many women meet glass ceiling on their way to achieve the highest position at their work place;

B. We are alarmed that there are more unemployed women than men, although women are as educated and skilled;

C. We acknowledge that precarity affects women in special way;

D. We frown upon discrimination of women because of reproductional differences, pregnant women should have equal opportunities;

E. It is important to mention that fields, such as social work, where women are overrepresenteted, are very often not equally valued;

F. We belive women should receive equal pay for equal work.

As individuals

A. We recognise that the road to equality is a path of continous learning;

At the same time we would like to stress the following concerns:

• The public sphere is structured by men thus favouring men, and creating a public sphere accepting different value systems should be our first aim to achieve;

• Youth programmes and youth policies often marginally consider the problems of gender balance;

• Girls and young women`s participation and influence in women`s rights organizations often remains worryingly low or insufficient; and many women are not aware at all of being discriminated;

• Often societies that have reached a high level of development still contain women facing problems in claiming their rights and achieving equal opportunities;

• Globalisation and the increasing gap between rich and poor in many European societies is likely to further expose women to economic dependency and social exclusion and, generally, to legitimize economic discrimination;

Proposals and recommendations

1. The mass media should be encouraged to let women express their opinions for a wide public, show their contribution to the societies and give them a chance to take part in the deciding process, so that media will fulfil their role in democracy;
2. We encourage medias to promote women in all occupations and reject gender stereotypes;
3. There is a need to continue setting a network of cooperation between women in all European countries;
4. We strongly call all women to support each other;
5. We encourage all people interested to organise as many as possible other gender related meetings to involve more women into the feminist movement;
6. We recommend to provide gender education in different fields of education, also gender studies departments should be created in all universities,
7. We recommend to work on positive actions, that have an empowering role especially for young women;
8. There is a huge need to work on breaking stereotypes concerning the women right`s movement, therefore we call for intensive education in public schools, public medias;
9. There is a need to encourage women to be more politically counscious and consider individual parties commitment to gender equality when voting;
10. We call FYEG and other feminist organisations to plan and set any kind of “Politicians- School for Women”;
11. We call our organisations to analyse their own system of organisation and work for empowering women, and it is necessary to improve it, so that their voice will be heard;
12. We want to involve all men interested into our actions and work on gender issues;
13. Equality systems should be set into local practices, so that at least formal equality will be implemented in the every day life of women in Europe;
14. We want to work on having broader feminist representation and perspective in politics of all kind;
15. We think that it is important to achieve the same parental rights and responsibilities for men and women;
16. We strongly recommend to implement temporary quotas not only in political bodies but also in companies;
17. We decide to plan our careers by improving different skills, being more assertive, using our talents to become more self-confident and accumulating knowledge about what can occur on woman`s way to success;
18. We recognise a need to assert ourselves in working relations and to set limits in order to combine successfully personal activity with professional life.

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