On 14 April 2016 AER organised the Equal Opportunities Forum on “Women in Emergency situations” in Timis County (RO) in the framework of the Committees’ spring plenary meetings. The Forum gathered around 50 participants from AER member regions, to speak about European experiences, solutions and the regional perspective on this hot topic.
As the European Parliament has urged the European Commission to deliver a new communication strategy on gender equality and women’s rights for 2016-2020, the member regions of AER aimed to define common messages based on their diverse and vast knowledge, and also on their experiences on equal opportunities, on women’s rights.
AER vice-president for Equal Opportunities and Inclusion, Mrs Ana Tomanova Makanova, chaired the Forum and spoke about Voivodina’s experience together with Danca Todorov, Provincial Ombudsman for gender equality whose lead topic was “Gender Equality & Disaster Risk Reduction”. Among the conclusions of this project supported by UN Women in 2015, it was noted that there is no practice of a quick gender-sensitive needs assessment of the population, that gender differences are mostly manifested in the manner of information about the disaster, as well as in skills, and that participation of women and other CSOs would contribute to a better risk, needs and capacities assessment, as well as data collection regarding the population’s vulnerability.
Monika Laurinaviciute-Kocmann from the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) shared with us the general position of women in Europe and the EIGE work.
Kenneth Johannesson from Värmland (SE) shared his regions project “A handbook for regional cooperation in Värmland”, designed to combat intimate partner violence against women. He stressed the importance of keeping in mind the definition of equal opportunities: “Women and men have the same power to shape the society and their lives. This calls for same possibilities, rights and obligations in all areas of life.”
Lenica Bucur from Alba County Council (RO) talked about domestic violence, and the social services developed in Alba County, according to Romanian legislation, in order to prevent and combat domestic violence, with a focus on specialised services developed by Cugir Town to protect victims of domestic violence.
The Forum was also the stage of a lively discussion and an opportunity to highlight a key message of the Sendai Declaration (outcome and declaration of the Heads of State and Government, ministers and delegates who participated in the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction) that “Catastrophes don’t discriminate, society does!”