Walking the talk

25 May

When my grandmother was born, women did not have the right to vote or to be elected. Her father did not think girls’ education was that important, so he pulled her out of school so she could help around the house. When my mother was born, women did not have the right to buy a house or open a bank account without the consent of their fathers or husbands. Female civil servants getting married were usually fired the next day. And when I was born, rape within marriage was still legal.

By now, women outnumber men in higher education in most countries accross the world, women have the right to vote and to be elected and drive cars and open bank accounts in all countries but one, and sexual and gender based violence is considered a crime almost everywhere.

We’ve come a long way. But we’re not there yet by far.

Too often, I have to defend myself when I call myself a feminist. Too often, I hear sighs and chuckles, even at political meetings, when I ‘pull the gender card’.  Too many girls are still kept at home from school, forced into early marriage or genital mutilation. Too many women still suffer from violence, sexual harrassment and rape. Too many women don’t have decent work, and don’t receive equal pay.

That’s why I was so happy to be asked to co-write, together with Jamila Aanzi and Hedy d’Ancona, the Gender Action Plan for the Progressive Alliance Gender Equality and Decent Work conference, which took place in Rotterdam from 22 to 23 May 2015.

We may have come a long way, but we’re not there yet by far.

That’s why we call for:

more awareness, political, economic and social participation, equal pay, financial independance, gender quotas for positions of power, equal job opportunities and equal access to health, education, housing, childcare and social security, more inclusive legislation, public and workplace safety and bodily integrity, sexual and reproductive rights, no more stereotypes and discrimination, more cooperation with social partners, female entrepreneurship and property rights, recognition of female farmers and, last but not least, gender parity in parliament and government.

The Gender Action Plan was adopted unanimously last Friday. That’s great news for all men and women who care about an inclusive world, but it’s only the beginning. We may have come a long way, but we’re not there yet by far.

Now, it’s time to walk the talk. Are you walking with me?

3 Responses to “Walking the talk”

  1. deraz May 25, 2015 at 11:22 pm #

    .لو لا يوجد تاريخ لما عرفنا المستقبل كيف يكون أفضل.

  2. Marjon Reiziger May 26, 2015 at 8:12 am #

    Hi Kirsten, Goed werk.

    Welke criteria zie jij voor het YEP op het gebied van Gender? Het zijn vaak technische waterprojecten, waar kunnen wij specifiek opletten in de beoordeling van de projectproposals?

    Met vriendelijke groet, Marjon Reiziger

    Program Manager Young Expert Program (YEP)

    Netherlands Water Partnership • Bezuidenhoutseweg 2 • 2594 AV Den Haag T 070 304 37 14/ M 0646081292 • I http://www.nwp.nl / http://www.yepwater.nl

    > Op 25 May 2015, om 14:09 heeft The Change Agent’s Blog het volgende geschreven: > >

    • kirstenvandenhul May 28, 2015 at 4:04 pm #

      Dank Marjon! Je zou bijvoorbeeld na kunnen denken over gender-sensitive procurement en budgeting en uiteraard over participatie van vrouwen in het project, en over de m/v balans in het selectieproces. Een mooie basis voor organisaties en bedrijven is de door de VN opgestelde WEP (rijmt ook nog op YEP!): http://weprinciples.org/Site/PrincipleOverview/
      Praat ik graag nog eens over verder!
      Groet, Kirsten

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: