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News

Latest news from IPPF EN

Spotlight

A selection of news from across the Federation

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Ukraine

News item

Call To Action On Ukraine

Organizations urge the EU, European governments, the UN and other donor governments to protect SRHR and provide needed health care.
Gender and the Union
news item

| 16 July 2021

Podcast episode 4: Gender and The Union

Gender and The Union is a podcast exploring why policy changes matter to combat gender-based violence in the European Union, and why relationship and sexuality education is key to creating a more equal and safe future for all. In this 4-episode podcast series, we will create a dialogue between policy makers in the EU and the young people looking to advocate for positive change.      In this episode of Gender & The Union we discuss how the European Union and the government of Serbia prevent gender-based violence and fight inequalities, with Ms. Leonetta Pajer, head of Operations at the EU Delegation in Serbia and Gala, 16 years old and youth activist from Serbia. The podcast is moderated by Catherine Bailey Gluckman, programme advisor for youth work at IPPF EN. We have heard how gender equality, human rights, and relationship and sexuality education play an important role in the candidature of Serbia to the EU and how the EU and Serbia are working together to achieve a world free from sexism, violence and all forms of discrimination. Above all the relationship between the EU and Serbia should be a partnership that aspires to fulfil the hopes of young people like Gala. On her side, Gala has shared her expectations following the EU accession process, what progress she hopes to see on gender equality in Serbia, as well as what she is personally doing to better the lives of young people who want access to relationship and sexuality education, and who deserve a future where inequalities are diminished and harmful gender norms are a thing of the past. Quality relationship and sexuality education is necessary to ensure that young people live out the principles of gender equality but policy changes in the areas of rule of law, democracy and health are needed too.  We are now looking to both the Serbian government and the EU to make this happen together with young activists like Gala and her peers. This has been the final episode in our podcast series, Gender & The Union. Don't forget to catch up on the other three episodes.   This podcast series was commissioned by the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network, produced by Positive Stories and funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (REC 2014-2020), within the framework of the Youth SpectActors project. The content of this podcasts represents only the views of IPPF EN and is its sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

Gender and the Union
news_item

| 19 July 2021

Podcast episode 4: Gender and The Union

Gender and The Union is a podcast exploring why policy changes matter to combat gender-based violence in the European Union, and why relationship and sexuality education is key to creating a more equal and safe future for all. In this 4-episode podcast series, we will create a dialogue between policy makers in the EU and the young people looking to advocate for positive change.      In this episode of Gender & The Union we discuss how the European Union and the government of Serbia prevent gender-based violence and fight inequalities, with Ms. Leonetta Pajer, head of Operations at the EU Delegation in Serbia and Gala, 16 years old and youth activist from Serbia. The podcast is moderated by Catherine Bailey Gluckman, programme advisor for youth work at IPPF EN. We have heard how gender equality, human rights, and relationship and sexuality education play an important role in the candidature of Serbia to the EU and how the EU and Serbia are working together to achieve a world free from sexism, violence and all forms of discrimination. Above all the relationship between the EU and Serbia should be a partnership that aspires to fulfil the hopes of young people like Gala. On her side, Gala has shared her expectations following the EU accession process, what progress she hopes to see on gender equality in Serbia, as well as what she is personally doing to better the lives of young people who want access to relationship and sexuality education, and who deserve a future where inequalities are diminished and harmful gender norms are a thing of the past. Quality relationship and sexuality education is necessary to ensure that young people live out the principles of gender equality but policy changes in the areas of rule of law, democracy and health are needed too.  We are now looking to both the Serbian government and the EU to make this happen together with young activists like Gala and her peers. This has been the final episode in our podcast series, Gender & The Union. Don't forget to catch up on the other three episodes.   This podcast series was commissioned by the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network, produced by Positive Stories and funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (REC 2014-2020), within the framework of the Youth SpectActors project. The content of this podcasts represents only the views of IPPF EN and is its sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

Gender and the Union
news item

| 28 June 2021

Podcast episode 3: Gender and The Union

Gender & The Union is a podcast exploring why policy changes matter to combat gender-based violence in the European Union, and why relationship and sexuality education is key to creating a more equal and safe future for all. In this 4-episode podcast series, we will create a dialogue between policy makers in the EU and the young people looking to advocate for positive change.      In this episode of Gender and the Union we discuss what the European Union and all of us can do to create a society free from sexism and discrimination, with the EU Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli and our sexual and reproductive rights youth advocate, Amanda, from Sweden. The podcast is moderated by Catherine Bailey Gluckman, programme advisor for youth work at IPPF EN. The value of gender equality is close to the hearts of European citizens – with 91% of Europeans believing that its promotion is important to ensuring a fair and democratic society. So what steps is the European Commission taking to diminish gender inequalities? Commissioner Dalli tells us about what the EU is doing to tackle intersecting discrimination and reach those whose needs are greatest. Commissioner Dalli affirms that sexual and reproductive health and rights are at the core of gender equality, speaks out in favour of relationship and sexuality education (RSE), and affirms that RSE should be an essential component of the future EU Directive on Gender-Based Violence, as a way to prevent violence. We’ve heard how things are locally and nationally in Sweden including some inspiring best practices in how Amanda works with young people to make sure they feel empowered to take decisions about their lives and challenge harmful stereotypes. Amanda has underlined very clearly that it’s not just about a good legal framework in place to ensure sexuality education is delivered, implementation is crucial. And there needs to be investment in sustainable programmes, training new educators and school teachers continuously and ensuring that curricula for sexuality education are relevant up-to-date and that they reflect enough of a range of important life skills. Finally, we also heard that there is a lot of power to prevent violence, to fight inequalities and to adopt strong relationship & sexuality education programmes within the reach of individual EU countries themselves. This does require states to seize that responsibility and do the work. But it is also empowering to realize it’s achievable. That data is out there, keen and willing educators are out there, a supportive international community of practice exists. It’s entirely within the power of EU states to make the most of these resources and do their duty to ensure the safety of young people. As Helena Dalli said, this is the way to go.   This podcast series was commissioned by the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network, produced by Positive Stories and funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (REC 2014-2020), within the framework of the Youth SpectActors project. The content of this podcasts represents only the views of IPPF EN and is its sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

Gender and the Union
news_item

| 05 July 2021

Podcast episode 3: Gender and The Union

Gender & The Union is a podcast exploring why policy changes matter to combat gender-based violence in the European Union, and why relationship and sexuality education is key to creating a more equal and safe future for all. In this 4-episode podcast series, we will create a dialogue between policy makers in the EU and the young people looking to advocate for positive change.      In this episode of Gender and the Union we discuss what the European Union and all of us can do to create a society free from sexism and discrimination, with the EU Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli and our sexual and reproductive rights youth advocate, Amanda, from Sweden. The podcast is moderated by Catherine Bailey Gluckman, programme advisor for youth work at IPPF EN. The value of gender equality is close to the hearts of European citizens – with 91% of Europeans believing that its promotion is important to ensuring a fair and democratic society. So what steps is the European Commission taking to diminish gender inequalities? Commissioner Dalli tells us about what the EU is doing to tackle intersecting discrimination and reach those whose needs are greatest. Commissioner Dalli affirms that sexual and reproductive health and rights are at the core of gender equality, speaks out in favour of relationship and sexuality education (RSE), and affirms that RSE should be an essential component of the future EU Directive on Gender-Based Violence, as a way to prevent violence. We’ve heard how things are locally and nationally in Sweden including some inspiring best practices in how Amanda works with young people to make sure they feel empowered to take decisions about their lives and challenge harmful stereotypes. Amanda has underlined very clearly that it’s not just about a good legal framework in place to ensure sexuality education is delivered, implementation is crucial. And there needs to be investment in sustainable programmes, training new educators and school teachers continuously and ensuring that curricula for sexuality education are relevant up-to-date and that they reflect enough of a range of important life skills. Finally, we also heard that there is a lot of power to prevent violence, to fight inequalities and to adopt strong relationship & sexuality education programmes within the reach of individual EU countries themselves. This does require states to seize that responsibility and do the work. But it is also empowering to realize it’s achievable. That data is out there, keen and willing educators are out there, a supportive international community of practice exists. It’s entirely within the power of EU states to make the most of these resources and do their duty to ensure the safety of young people. As Helena Dalli said, this is the way to go.   This podcast series was commissioned by the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network, produced by Positive Stories and funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (REC 2014-2020), within the framework of the Youth SpectActors project. The content of this podcasts represents only the views of IPPF EN and is its sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

Gender and the Union
news item

| 16 June 2021

Podcast episode 2: Gender and The Union

Gender & The Union is a podcast exploring why policy changes matter to combat gender-based violence in the European Union, and why relationship and sexuality education is key to creating a more equal and safe future for all. In this 4-episode podcast series, we will create a dialogue between policy makers in the EU and the young people looking to advocate for positive change.  In this episode of Gender and The Union we discuss how relationship and sexuality education can be a way to prevent gender inequalities and gender-based violence, together with Predrag Fred MATIĆ, Member of the European Parliament & our youth activist, Luize. The podcast is moderated by Catherine Bailey Gluckman, programme advisor for youth work at IPPF EN. What are the challenges that young people in Latvia face when trying to access relationship and sexuality education? What is the European Parliament doing in terms of improving the lives of young people and advancing gender equality? What actions can we take to address violence against women? The answers of all this and more in this episode. We also discuss the landmark position on sexual and reproductive health and rights voted by the European Parliament right after the tapping of this episode. In this report, authored by MEP Predrag Fred Matić, the European Parliament recognised that SRHR is not only a human rights issue; it is also intrinsically linked with gender equality, women’s empowerment and combating gender-based violence.    This podcast series was commissioned by the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network, produced by Positive Stories and funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (REC 2014-2020), within the framework of the Youth SpectActors project. The content of this podcasts represents only the views of IPPF EN and is its sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

Gender and the Union
news_item

| 30 June 2021

Podcast episode 2: Gender and The Union

Gender & The Union is a podcast exploring why policy changes matter to combat gender-based violence in the European Union, and why relationship and sexuality education is key to creating a more equal and safe future for all. In this 4-episode podcast series, we will create a dialogue between policy makers in the EU and the young people looking to advocate for positive change.  In this episode of Gender and The Union we discuss how relationship and sexuality education can be a way to prevent gender inequalities and gender-based violence, together with Predrag Fred MATIĆ, Member of the European Parliament & our youth activist, Luize. The podcast is moderated by Catherine Bailey Gluckman, programme advisor for youth work at IPPF EN. What are the challenges that young people in Latvia face when trying to access relationship and sexuality education? What is the European Parliament doing in terms of improving the lives of young people and advancing gender equality? What actions can we take to address violence against women? The answers of all this and more in this episode. We also discuss the landmark position on sexual and reproductive health and rights voted by the European Parliament right after the tapping of this episode. In this report, authored by MEP Predrag Fred Matić, the European Parliament recognised that SRHR is not only a human rights issue; it is also intrinsically linked with gender equality, women’s empowerment and combating gender-based violence.    This podcast series was commissioned by the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network, produced by Positive Stories and funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (REC 2014-2020), within the framework of the Youth SpectActors project. The content of this podcasts represents only the views of IPPF EN and is its sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

Gender and the Union
news item

| 08 June 2021

Podcast episode 1: Gender and The Union

Gender and The Union is a podcast exploring why policy changes matter to combat gender-based violence in the European Union, and why relationship and sexuality education is key to creating a more equal and safe future for all. In this 4-episode podcast series, we will create a dialogue between policy makers in the EU and the young people looking to advocate for positive change.  In this first episode we discuss prevention of violence through education and dismantling harmful gender norms – with the President of the Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality of Portugal, Sandra Ribeiro, & our youth activist from Estonia, Susan. The podcast is moderated by Catherine Bailey Gluckman, programme advisor for youth work at IPPF EN. What are the priorities of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union when it comes to promoting EU values, including advancing gender equality and combatting gender-based violence? What are the challenges young people are facing concerning violations of gender equality and harmful practices? And how has COVID-19 impacted the lives of women and girls seeking education and safety from violence at home? These are just some of the topics we touch upon.      This podcast series was commissioned by the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network, produced by Positive Stories and funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (REC 2014-2020), within the framework of the Youth SpectActors project. The content of this podcasts represents only the views of IPPF EN and is its sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

Gender and the Union
news_item

| 14 June 2021

Podcast episode 1: Gender and The Union

Gender and The Union is a podcast exploring why policy changes matter to combat gender-based violence in the European Union, and why relationship and sexuality education is key to creating a more equal and safe future for all. In this 4-episode podcast series, we will create a dialogue between policy makers in the EU and the young people looking to advocate for positive change.  In this first episode we discuss prevention of violence through education and dismantling harmful gender norms – with the President of the Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality of Portugal, Sandra Ribeiro, & our youth activist from Estonia, Susan. The podcast is moderated by Catherine Bailey Gluckman, programme advisor for youth work at IPPF EN. What are the priorities of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union when it comes to promoting EU values, including advancing gender equality and combatting gender-based violence? What are the challenges young people are facing concerning violations of gender equality and harmful practices? And how has COVID-19 impacted the lives of women and girls seeking education and safety from violence at home? These are just some of the topics we touch upon.      This podcast series was commissioned by the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network, produced by Positive Stories and funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (REC 2014-2020), within the framework of the Youth SpectActors project. The content of this podcasts represents only the views of IPPF EN and is its sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

EU
news item

| 11 May 2021

A vote for women's health, safety and freedom in the EU (statement)

On the tenth anniversary of the Istanbul Convention - the most far-reaching international legal instrument to set out binding obligations to prevent and combat violence against women - the European Parliament Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee (FEMM) voted today in favour of the report presented by MEP Predrag Fred Matić on “the situation of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the EU” by 27 votes in favour. This resolution is the first European Parliament Report specifically dedicated to SRHR in almost 10 years. “The report provides an in-depth analysis of SRHR, recognising that SRHR is not only a human rights issue; it is also intrinsically linked with gender equality, women’s empowerment and combating gender-based violence. The report also provides a way forward on how the EU can deliver on reproductive freedom, safety and dignity for all”. – Caroline Hickson, Regional Director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN).  The report gives a high level of political importance to SRHR at EU level at a crucial time, with challenges in accessing the whole range of SRHR being compounded by COVID-19 measures and some Member States backsliding on women’s rights, gender equality and SRHR across Europe and globally.  “SRHR are at the core of several EU competency areas, including health, gender equality and non-discrimination, combating gender-based violence, fundamental rights and the rule of law. The EU is a longstanding SRHR supporter in its development and human rights policies and needs to safeguard SRHR both within and outside the EU for everyone.” – Cécile Vernant, Head of EU Advocacy at Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW). The Report has been tabled for a plenary vote at the European Parliament in June. EPF Secretary Neil Datta added: “Europe has a responsibility to take up a global leadership role on these issues, and this vote today is an important first step. It is crucial that we continue to work vocally in support of women’s rights, reproductive freedom and gender equality, and a positive result in the plenary will send a strong signal that MEPs are fully committed to protect and promote SRHR in the EU.”  

EU
news_item

| 11 May 2021

A vote for women's health, safety and freedom in the EU (statement)

On the tenth anniversary of the Istanbul Convention - the most far-reaching international legal instrument to set out binding obligations to prevent and combat violence against women - the European Parliament Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee (FEMM) voted today in favour of the report presented by MEP Predrag Fred Matić on “the situation of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the EU” by 27 votes in favour. This resolution is the first European Parliament Report specifically dedicated to SRHR in almost 10 years. “The report provides an in-depth analysis of SRHR, recognising that SRHR is not only a human rights issue; it is also intrinsically linked with gender equality, women’s empowerment and combating gender-based violence. The report also provides a way forward on how the EU can deliver on reproductive freedom, safety and dignity for all”. – Caroline Hickson, Regional Director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN).  The report gives a high level of political importance to SRHR at EU level at a crucial time, with challenges in accessing the whole range of SRHR being compounded by COVID-19 measures and some Member States backsliding on women’s rights, gender equality and SRHR across Europe and globally.  “SRHR are at the core of several EU competency areas, including health, gender equality and non-discrimination, combating gender-based violence, fundamental rights and the rule of law. The EU is a longstanding SRHR supporter in its development and human rights policies and needs to safeguard SRHR both within and outside the EU for everyone.” – Cécile Vernant, Head of EU Advocacy at Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW). The Report has been tabled for a plenary vote at the European Parliament in June. EPF Secretary Neil Datta added: “Europe has a responsibility to take up a global leadership role on these issues, and this vote today is an important first step. It is crucial that we continue to work vocally in support of women’s rights, reproductive freedom and gender equality, and a positive result in the plenary will send a strong signal that MEPs are fully committed to protect and promote SRHR in the EU.”  

Black Protest Poland
news item

| 10 April 2020

Polish ruling party exploits the current health crisis to undermine women and young people’s safety

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, bills banning abortion care in practice and endangering young people by criminalizing relationship and sexuality education are set to be voted in the Polish Sejm on 15 and 16 April 2020. The ultra-conservative ruling party is taking advantage of the enormous hardship faced by Polish people to continue its relentless series of attacks on women and young people’s safety and wellbeing. People are sick, domestic violence is growing, one million jobs have been lost, yet the government adds to the burden of lack of social supports.   The Polish law on abortion care is one of the most restrictive in Europe. Abortion is only lawful to safeguard the life or health of women, in situations of severe fetal anomaly or where the pregnancy results from rape or incest. In practice, 98% of legal abortions in Poland are performed on severe fetal anomaly grounds. During COVID-19 times, with travel restriction in place, hospitals overwhelmed by the health emergency, many from the medical staff already denying care based on personal beliefs or convenience, women’s options are drastically reduced. This proposed bill would result in a total abortion ban in practice, forcing women and families to go through pregnancies against their will in case of fatal fetal abnormality at a time of dramatic economic instability with no social support from the state. This shows how little women’s lives and dignity are valued by the Polish ruling class. The bill would also gag doctors by restricting what they can say to their patients about the condition of the fetus, violating patients’ rights to information. The change proposed by this bill is permanent and will place women’s health and lives at risk. “We know that when women and girls cannot access abortion care, in their desperation, they will resort to taking matters into their own hands, often with tragic consequences. Domestic violence is rising sharply, and families are stretched to the limits of their endurance. It is the moment when we most need to ensure we provide all the care that our societies need” said Caroline Hickson, IPPF EN Regional Director. The second bill would result in a complete ban on teaching relationship and sexuality education, sharing evidence-based information on the Internet, as well as forbidding doctors from providing contraceptive care to young people under 18. Those who work to protect young people by giving them information about healthy relationships, intimate life and prevention of violence could face a 3-year prison sentence under this draft bill. The only source of information young people could end up with is pornography and religious doctrines. UNESCO guidelines underline that education addressing equality between men and women and focusing on consent can reduce intimate partner violence. Why is this not a priority when violence against women is endemic and we know is even aggravated during the lockdown? “The timing of these bills is dodgy. As public protests cannot take place due to the measures put in place to fight the pandemic, women are silenced. The medieval forces behind these proposals know massive protests would have been organized across the country to fight these draconian bills. Enough is enough” said Irene Donadio, IPPF EN Senior Adviser. We call on Members of Poland’s Parliament to listen to the voices of women and families across Poland, to protect women’s safety and young people’s health and to reject these regressive bills. The Polish government must prioritise people’s health and wellbeing, democracy and the rule of law. Exploiting the health crisis to attack women’s health care is reckless, cruel and a guarantee of aggravated human suffering.   For more information or an interview please contact: Irene Donadio, Senior Adviser at IPPF EN, [email protected], +32 491 17 19 390

Black Protest Poland
news_item

| 14 April 2020

Polish ruling party exploits the current health crisis to undermine women and young people’s safety

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, bills banning abortion care in practice and endangering young people by criminalizing relationship and sexuality education are set to be voted in the Polish Sejm on 15 and 16 April 2020. The ultra-conservative ruling party is taking advantage of the enormous hardship faced by Polish people to continue its relentless series of attacks on women and young people’s safety and wellbeing. People are sick, domestic violence is growing, one million jobs have been lost, yet the government adds to the burden of lack of social supports.   The Polish law on abortion care is one of the most restrictive in Europe. Abortion is only lawful to safeguard the life or health of women, in situations of severe fetal anomaly or where the pregnancy results from rape or incest. In practice, 98% of legal abortions in Poland are performed on severe fetal anomaly grounds. During COVID-19 times, with travel restriction in place, hospitals overwhelmed by the health emergency, many from the medical staff already denying care based on personal beliefs or convenience, women’s options are drastically reduced. This proposed bill would result in a total abortion ban in practice, forcing women and families to go through pregnancies against their will in case of fatal fetal abnormality at a time of dramatic economic instability with no social support from the state. This shows how little women’s lives and dignity are valued by the Polish ruling class. The bill would also gag doctors by restricting what they can say to their patients about the condition of the fetus, violating patients’ rights to information. The change proposed by this bill is permanent and will place women’s health and lives at risk. “We know that when women and girls cannot access abortion care, in their desperation, they will resort to taking matters into their own hands, often with tragic consequences. Domestic violence is rising sharply, and families are stretched to the limits of their endurance. It is the moment when we most need to ensure we provide all the care that our societies need” said Caroline Hickson, IPPF EN Regional Director. The second bill would result in a complete ban on teaching relationship and sexuality education, sharing evidence-based information on the Internet, as well as forbidding doctors from providing contraceptive care to young people under 18. Those who work to protect young people by giving them information about healthy relationships, intimate life and prevention of violence could face a 3-year prison sentence under this draft bill. The only source of information young people could end up with is pornography and religious doctrines. UNESCO guidelines underline that education addressing equality between men and women and focusing on consent can reduce intimate partner violence. Why is this not a priority when violence against women is endemic and we know is even aggravated during the lockdown? “The timing of these bills is dodgy. As public protests cannot take place due to the measures put in place to fight the pandemic, women are silenced. The medieval forces behind these proposals know massive protests would have been organized across the country to fight these draconian bills. Enough is enough” said Irene Donadio, IPPF EN Senior Adviser. We call on Members of Poland’s Parliament to listen to the voices of women and families across Poland, to protect women’s safety and young people’s health and to reject these regressive bills. The Polish government must prioritise people’s health and wellbeing, democracy and the rule of law. Exploiting the health crisis to attack women’s health care is reckless, cruel and a guarantee of aggravated human suffering.   For more information or an interview please contact: Irene Donadio, Senior Adviser at IPPF EN, [email protected], +32 491 17 19 390

Gender and the Union
news item

| 16 July 2021

Podcast episode 4: Gender and The Union

Gender and The Union is a podcast exploring why policy changes matter to combat gender-based violence in the European Union, and why relationship and sexuality education is key to creating a more equal and safe future for all. In this 4-episode podcast series, we will create a dialogue between policy makers in the EU and the young people looking to advocate for positive change.      In this episode of Gender & The Union we discuss how the European Union and the government of Serbia prevent gender-based violence and fight inequalities, with Ms. Leonetta Pajer, head of Operations at the EU Delegation in Serbia and Gala, 16 years old and youth activist from Serbia. The podcast is moderated by Catherine Bailey Gluckman, programme advisor for youth work at IPPF EN. We have heard how gender equality, human rights, and relationship and sexuality education play an important role in the candidature of Serbia to the EU and how the EU and Serbia are working together to achieve a world free from sexism, violence and all forms of discrimination. Above all the relationship between the EU and Serbia should be a partnership that aspires to fulfil the hopes of young people like Gala. On her side, Gala has shared her expectations following the EU accession process, what progress she hopes to see on gender equality in Serbia, as well as what she is personally doing to better the lives of young people who want access to relationship and sexuality education, and who deserve a future where inequalities are diminished and harmful gender norms are a thing of the past. Quality relationship and sexuality education is necessary to ensure that young people live out the principles of gender equality but policy changes in the areas of rule of law, democracy and health are needed too.  We are now looking to both the Serbian government and the EU to make this happen together with young activists like Gala and her peers. This has been the final episode in our podcast series, Gender & The Union. Don't forget to catch up on the other three episodes.   This podcast series was commissioned by the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network, produced by Positive Stories and funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (REC 2014-2020), within the framework of the Youth SpectActors project. The content of this podcasts represents only the views of IPPF EN and is its sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

Gender and the Union
news_item

| 19 July 2021

Podcast episode 4: Gender and The Union

Gender and The Union is a podcast exploring why policy changes matter to combat gender-based violence in the European Union, and why relationship and sexuality education is key to creating a more equal and safe future for all. In this 4-episode podcast series, we will create a dialogue between policy makers in the EU and the young people looking to advocate for positive change.      In this episode of Gender & The Union we discuss how the European Union and the government of Serbia prevent gender-based violence and fight inequalities, with Ms. Leonetta Pajer, head of Operations at the EU Delegation in Serbia and Gala, 16 years old and youth activist from Serbia. The podcast is moderated by Catherine Bailey Gluckman, programme advisor for youth work at IPPF EN. We have heard how gender equality, human rights, and relationship and sexuality education play an important role in the candidature of Serbia to the EU and how the EU and Serbia are working together to achieve a world free from sexism, violence and all forms of discrimination. Above all the relationship between the EU and Serbia should be a partnership that aspires to fulfil the hopes of young people like Gala. On her side, Gala has shared her expectations following the EU accession process, what progress she hopes to see on gender equality in Serbia, as well as what she is personally doing to better the lives of young people who want access to relationship and sexuality education, and who deserve a future where inequalities are diminished and harmful gender norms are a thing of the past. Quality relationship and sexuality education is necessary to ensure that young people live out the principles of gender equality but policy changes in the areas of rule of law, democracy and health are needed too.  We are now looking to both the Serbian government and the EU to make this happen together with young activists like Gala and her peers. This has been the final episode in our podcast series, Gender & The Union. Don't forget to catch up on the other three episodes.   This podcast series was commissioned by the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network, produced by Positive Stories and funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (REC 2014-2020), within the framework of the Youth SpectActors project. The content of this podcasts represents only the views of IPPF EN and is its sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

Gender and the Union
news item

| 28 June 2021

Podcast episode 3: Gender and The Union

Gender & The Union is a podcast exploring why policy changes matter to combat gender-based violence in the European Union, and why relationship and sexuality education is key to creating a more equal and safe future for all. In this 4-episode podcast series, we will create a dialogue between policy makers in the EU and the young people looking to advocate for positive change.      In this episode of Gender and the Union we discuss what the European Union and all of us can do to create a society free from sexism and discrimination, with the EU Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli and our sexual and reproductive rights youth advocate, Amanda, from Sweden. The podcast is moderated by Catherine Bailey Gluckman, programme advisor for youth work at IPPF EN. The value of gender equality is close to the hearts of European citizens – with 91% of Europeans believing that its promotion is important to ensuring a fair and democratic society. So what steps is the European Commission taking to diminish gender inequalities? Commissioner Dalli tells us about what the EU is doing to tackle intersecting discrimination and reach those whose needs are greatest. Commissioner Dalli affirms that sexual and reproductive health and rights are at the core of gender equality, speaks out in favour of relationship and sexuality education (RSE), and affirms that RSE should be an essential component of the future EU Directive on Gender-Based Violence, as a way to prevent violence. We’ve heard how things are locally and nationally in Sweden including some inspiring best practices in how Amanda works with young people to make sure they feel empowered to take decisions about their lives and challenge harmful stereotypes. Amanda has underlined very clearly that it’s not just about a good legal framework in place to ensure sexuality education is delivered, implementation is crucial. And there needs to be investment in sustainable programmes, training new educators and school teachers continuously and ensuring that curricula for sexuality education are relevant up-to-date and that they reflect enough of a range of important life skills. Finally, we also heard that there is a lot of power to prevent violence, to fight inequalities and to adopt strong relationship & sexuality education programmes within the reach of individual EU countries themselves. This does require states to seize that responsibility and do the work. But it is also empowering to realize it’s achievable. That data is out there, keen and willing educators are out there, a supportive international community of practice exists. It’s entirely within the power of EU states to make the most of these resources and do their duty to ensure the safety of young people. As Helena Dalli said, this is the way to go.   This podcast series was commissioned by the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network, produced by Positive Stories and funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (REC 2014-2020), within the framework of the Youth SpectActors project. The content of this podcasts represents only the views of IPPF EN and is its sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

Gender and the Union
news_item

| 05 July 2021

Podcast episode 3: Gender and The Union

Gender & The Union is a podcast exploring why policy changes matter to combat gender-based violence in the European Union, and why relationship and sexuality education is key to creating a more equal and safe future for all. In this 4-episode podcast series, we will create a dialogue between policy makers in the EU and the young people looking to advocate for positive change.      In this episode of Gender and the Union we discuss what the European Union and all of us can do to create a society free from sexism and discrimination, with the EU Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli and our sexual and reproductive rights youth advocate, Amanda, from Sweden. The podcast is moderated by Catherine Bailey Gluckman, programme advisor for youth work at IPPF EN. The value of gender equality is close to the hearts of European citizens – with 91% of Europeans believing that its promotion is important to ensuring a fair and democratic society. So what steps is the European Commission taking to diminish gender inequalities? Commissioner Dalli tells us about what the EU is doing to tackle intersecting discrimination and reach those whose needs are greatest. Commissioner Dalli affirms that sexual and reproductive health and rights are at the core of gender equality, speaks out in favour of relationship and sexuality education (RSE), and affirms that RSE should be an essential component of the future EU Directive on Gender-Based Violence, as a way to prevent violence. We’ve heard how things are locally and nationally in Sweden including some inspiring best practices in how Amanda works with young people to make sure they feel empowered to take decisions about their lives and challenge harmful stereotypes. Amanda has underlined very clearly that it’s not just about a good legal framework in place to ensure sexuality education is delivered, implementation is crucial. And there needs to be investment in sustainable programmes, training new educators and school teachers continuously and ensuring that curricula for sexuality education are relevant up-to-date and that they reflect enough of a range of important life skills. Finally, we also heard that there is a lot of power to prevent violence, to fight inequalities and to adopt strong relationship & sexuality education programmes within the reach of individual EU countries themselves. This does require states to seize that responsibility and do the work. But it is also empowering to realize it’s achievable. That data is out there, keen and willing educators are out there, a supportive international community of practice exists. It’s entirely within the power of EU states to make the most of these resources and do their duty to ensure the safety of young people. As Helena Dalli said, this is the way to go.   This podcast series was commissioned by the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network, produced by Positive Stories and funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (REC 2014-2020), within the framework of the Youth SpectActors project. The content of this podcasts represents only the views of IPPF EN and is its sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

Gender and the Union
news item

| 16 June 2021

Podcast episode 2: Gender and The Union

Gender & The Union is a podcast exploring why policy changes matter to combat gender-based violence in the European Union, and why relationship and sexuality education is key to creating a more equal and safe future for all. In this 4-episode podcast series, we will create a dialogue between policy makers in the EU and the young people looking to advocate for positive change.  In this episode of Gender and The Union we discuss how relationship and sexuality education can be a way to prevent gender inequalities and gender-based violence, together with Predrag Fred MATIĆ, Member of the European Parliament & our youth activist, Luize. The podcast is moderated by Catherine Bailey Gluckman, programme advisor for youth work at IPPF EN. What are the challenges that young people in Latvia face when trying to access relationship and sexuality education? What is the European Parliament doing in terms of improving the lives of young people and advancing gender equality? What actions can we take to address violence against women? The answers of all this and more in this episode. We also discuss the landmark position on sexual and reproductive health and rights voted by the European Parliament right after the tapping of this episode. In this report, authored by MEP Predrag Fred Matić, the European Parliament recognised that SRHR is not only a human rights issue; it is also intrinsically linked with gender equality, women’s empowerment and combating gender-based violence.    This podcast series was commissioned by the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network, produced by Positive Stories and funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (REC 2014-2020), within the framework of the Youth SpectActors project. The content of this podcasts represents only the views of IPPF EN and is its sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

Gender and the Union
news_item

| 30 June 2021

Podcast episode 2: Gender and The Union

Gender & The Union is a podcast exploring why policy changes matter to combat gender-based violence in the European Union, and why relationship and sexuality education is key to creating a more equal and safe future for all. In this 4-episode podcast series, we will create a dialogue between policy makers in the EU and the young people looking to advocate for positive change.  In this episode of Gender and The Union we discuss how relationship and sexuality education can be a way to prevent gender inequalities and gender-based violence, together with Predrag Fred MATIĆ, Member of the European Parliament & our youth activist, Luize. The podcast is moderated by Catherine Bailey Gluckman, programme advisor for youth work at IPPF EN. What are the challenges that young people in Latvia face when trying to access relationship and sexuality education? What is the European Parliament doing in terms of improving the lives of young people and advancing gender equality? What actions can we take to address violence against women? The answers of all this and more in this episode. We also discuss the landmark position on sexual and reproductive health and rights voted by the European Parliament right after the tapping of this episode. In this report, authored by MEP Predrag Fred Matić, the European Parliament recognised that SRHR is not only a human rights issue; it is also intrinsically linked with gender equality, women’s empowerment and combating gender-based violence.    This podcast series was commissioned by the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network, produced by Positive Stories and funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (REC 2014-2020), within the framework of the Youth SpectActors project. The content of this podcasts represents only the views of IPPF EN and is its sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

Gender and the Union
news item

| 08 June 2021

Podcast episode 1: Gender and The Union

Gender and The Union is a podcast exploring why policy changes matter to combat gender-based violence in the European Union, and why relationship and sexuality education is key to creating a more equal and safe future for all. In this 4-episode podcast series, we will create a dialogue between policy makers in the EU and the young people looking to advocate for positive change.  In this first episode we discuss prevention of violence through education and dismantling harmful gender norms – with the President of the Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality of Portugal, Sandra Ribeiro, & our youth activist from Estonia, Susan. The podcast is moderated by Catherine Bailey Gluckman, programme advisor for youth work at IPPF EN. What are the priorities of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union when it comes to promoting EU values, including advancing gender equality and combatting gender-based violence? What are the challenges young people are facing concerning violations of gender equality and harmful practices? And how has COVID-19 impacted the lives of women and girls seeking education and safety from violence at home? These are just some of the topics we touch upon.      This podcast series was commissioned by the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network, produced by Positive Stories and funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (REC 2014-2020), within the framework of the Youth SpectActors project. The content of this podcasts represents only the views of IPPF EN and is its sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

Gender and the Union
news_item

| 14 June 2021

Podcast episode 1: Gender and The Union

Gender and The Union is a podcast exploring why policy changes matter to combat gender-based violence in the European Union, and why relationship and sexuality education is key to creating a more equal and safe future for all. In this 4-episode podcast series, we will create a dialogue between policy makers in the EU and the young people looking to advocate for positive change.  In this first episode we discuss prevention of violence through education and dismantling harmful gender norms – with the President of the Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality of Portugal, Sandra Ribeiro, & our youth activist from Estonia, Susan. The podcast is moderated by Catherine Bailey Gluckman, programme advisor for youth work at IPPF EN. What are the priorities of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union when it comes to promoting EU values, including advancing gender equality and combatting gender-based violence? What are the challenges young people are facing concerning violations of gender equality and harmful practices? And how has COVID-19 impacted the lives of women and girls seeking education and safety from violence at home? These are just some of the topics we touch upon.      This podcast series was commissioned by the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network, produced by Positive Stories and funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (REC 2014-2020), within the framework of the Youth SpectActors project. The content of this podcasts represents only the views of IPPF EN and is its sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

EU
news item

| 11 May 2021

A vote for women's health, safety and freedom in the EU (statement)

On the tenth anniversary of the Istanbul Convention - the most far-reaching international legal instrument to set out binding obligations to prevent and combat violence against women - the European Parliament Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee (FEMM) voted today in favour of the report presented by MEP Predrag Fred Matić on “the situation of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the EU” by 27 votes in favour. This resolution is the first European Parliament Report specifically dedicated to SRHR in almost 10 years. “The report provides an in-depth analysis of SRHR, recognising that SRHR is not only a human rights issue; it is also intrinsically linked with gender equality, women’s empowerment and combating gender-based violence. The report also provides a way forward on how the EU can deliver on reproductive freedom, safety and dignity for all”. – Caroline Hickson, Regional Director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN).  The report gives a high level of political importance to SRHR at EU level at a crucial time, with challenges in accessing the whole range of SRHR being compounded by COVID-19 measures and some Member States backsliding on women’s rights, gender equality and SRHR across Europe and globally.  “SRHR are at the core of several EU competency areas, including health, gender equality and non-discrimination, combating gender-based violence, fundamental rights and the rule of law. The EU is a longstanding SRHR supporter in its development and human rights policies and needs to safeguard SRHR both within and outside the EU for everyone.” – Cécile Vernant, Head of EU Advocacy at Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW). The Report has been tabled for a plenary vote at the European Parliament in June. EPF Secretary Neil Datta added: “Europe has a responsibility to take up a global leadership role on these issues, and this vote today is an important first step. It is crucial that we continue to work vocally in support of women’s rights, reproductive freedom and gender equality, and a positive result in the plenary will send a strong signal that MEPs are fully committed to protect and promote SRHR in the EU.”  

EU
news_item

| 11 May 2021

A vote for women's health, safety and freedom in the EU (statement)

On the tenth anniversary of the Istanbul Convention - the most far-reaching international legal instrument to set out binding obligations to prevent and combat violence against women - the European Parliament Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee (FEMM) voted today in favour of the report presented by MEP Predrag Fred Matić on “the situation of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the EU” by 27 votes in favour. This resolution is the first European Parliament Report specifically dedicated to SRHR in almost 10 years. “The report provides an in-depth analysis of SRHR, recognising that SRHR is not only a human rights issue; it is also intrinsically linked with gender equality, women’s empowerment and combating gender-based violence. The report also provides a way forward on how the EU can deliver on reproductive freedom, safety and dignity for all”. – Caroline Hickson, Regional Director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN).  The report gives a high level of political importance to SRHR at EU level at a crucial time, with challenges in accessing the whole range of SRHR being compounded by COVID-19 measures and some Member States backsliding on women’s rights, gender equality and SRHR across Europe and globally.  “SRHR are at the core of several EU competency areas, including health, gender equality and non-discrimination, combating gender-based violence, fundamental rights and the rule of law. The EU is a longstanding SRHR supporter in its development and human rights policies and needs to safeguard SRHR both within and outside the EU for everyone.” – Cécile Vernant, Head of EU Advocacy at Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW). The Report has been tabled for a plenary vote at the European Parliament in June. EPF Secretary Neil Datta added: “Europe has a responsibility to take up a global leadership role on these issues, and this vote today is an important first step. It is crucial that we continue to work vocally in support of women’s rights, reproductive freedom and gender equality, and a positive result in the plenary will send a strong signal that MEPs are fully committed to protect and promote SRHR in the EU.”  

Black Protest Poland
news item

| 10 April 2020

Polish ruling party exploits the current health crisis to undermine women and young people’s safety

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, bills banning abortion care in practice and endangering young people by criminalizing relationship and sexuality education are set to be voted in the Polish Sejm on 15 and 16 April 2020. The ultra-conservative ruling party is taking advantage of the enormous hardship faced by Polish people to continue its relentless series of attacks on women and young people’s safety and wellbeing. People are sick, domestic violence is growing, one million jobs have been lost, yet the government adds to the burden of lack of social supports.   The Polish law on abortion care is one of the most restrictive in Europe. Abortion is only lawful to safeguard the life or health of women, in situations of severe fetal anomaly or where the pregnancy results from rape or incest. In practice, 98% of legal abortions in Poland are performed on severe fetal anomaly grounds. During COVID-19 times, with travel restriction in place, hospitals overwhelmed by the health emergency, many from the medical staff already denying care based on personal beliefs or convenience, women’s options are drastically reduced. This proposed bill would result in a total abortion ban in practice, forcing women and families to go through pregnancies against their will in case of fatal fetal abnormality at a time of dramatic economic instability with no social support from the state. This shows how little women’s lives and dignity are valued by the Polish ruling class. The bill would also gag doctors by restricting what they can say to their patients about the condition of the fetus, violating patients’ rights to information. The change proposed by this bill is permanent and will place women’s health and lives at risk. “We know that when women and girls cannot access abortion care, in their desperation, they will resort to taking matters into their own hands, often with tragic consequences. Domestic violence is rising sharply, and families are stretched to the limits of their endurance. It is the moment when we most need to ensure we provide all the care that our societies need” said Caroline Hickson, IPPF EN Regional Director. The second bill would result in a complete ban on teaching relationship and sexuality education, sharing evidence-based information on the Internet, as well as forbidding doctors from providing contraceptive care to young people under 18. Those who work to protect young people by giving them information about healthy relationships, intimate life and prevention of violence could face a 3-year prison sentence under this draft bill. The only source of information young people could end up with is pornography and religious doctrines. UNESCO guidelines underline that education addressing equality between men and women and focusing on consent can reduce intimate partner violence. Why is this not a priority when violence against women is endemic and we know is even aggravated during the lockdown? “The timing of these bills is dodgy. As public protests cannot take place due to the measures put in place to fight the pandemic, women are silenced. The medieval forces behind these proposals know massive protests would have been organized across the country to fight these draconian bills. Enough is enough” said Irene Donadio, IPPF EN Senior Adviser. We call on Members of Poland’s Parliament to listen to the voices of women and families across Poland, to protect women’s safety and young people’s health and to reject these regressive bills. The Polish government must prioritise people’s health and wellbeing, democracy and the rule of law. Exploiting the health crisis to attack women’s health care is reckless, cruel and a guarantee of aggravated human suffering.   For more information or an interview please contact: Irene Donadio, Senior Adviser at IPPF EN, [email protected], +32 491 17 19 390

Black Protest Poland
news_item

| 14 April 2020

Polish ruling party exploits the current health crisis to undermine women and young people’s safety

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, bills banning abortion care in practice and endangering young people by criminalizing relationship and sexuality education are set to be voted in the Polish Sejm on 15 and 16 April 2020. The ultra-conservative ruling party is taking advantage of the enormous hardship faced by Polish people to continue its relentless series of attacks on women and young people’s safety and wellbeing. People are sick, domestic violence is growing, one million jobs have been lost, yet the government adds to the burden of lack of social supports.   The Polish law on abortion care is one of the most restrictive in Europe. Abortion is only lawful to safeguard the life or health of women, in situations of severe fetal anomaly or where the pregnancy results from rape or incest. In practice, 98% of legal abortions in Poland are performed on severe fetal anomaly grounds. During COVID-19 times, with travel restriction in place, hospitals overwhelmed by the health emergency, many from the medical staff already denying care based on personal beliefs or convenience, women’s options are drastically reduced. This proposed bill would result in a total abortion ban in practice, forcing women and families to go through pregnancies against their will in case of fatal fetal abnormality at a time of dramatic economic instability with no social support from the state. This shows how little women’s lives and dignity are valued by the Polish ruling class. The bill would also gag doctors by restricting what they can say to their patients about the condition of the fetus, violating patients’ rights to information. The change proposed by this bill is permanent and will place women’s health and lives at risk. “We know that when women and girls cannot access abortion care, in their desperation, they will resort to taking matters into their own hands, often with tragic consequences. Domestic violence is rising sharply, and families are stretched to the limits of their endurance. It is the moment when we most need to ensure we provide all the care that our societies need” said Caroline Hickson, IPPF EN Regional Director. The second bill would result in a complete ban on teaching relationship and sexuality education, sharing evidence-based information on the Internet, as well as forbidding doctors from providing contraceptive care to young people under 18. Those who work to protect young people by giving them information about healthy relationships, intimate life and prevention of violence could face a 3-year prison sentence under this draft bill. The only source of information young people could end up with is pornography and religious doctrines. UNESCO guidelines underline that education addressing equality between men and women and focusing on consent can reduce intimate partner violence. Why is this not a priority when violence against women is endemic and we know is even aggravated during the lockdown? “The timing of these bills is dodgy. As public protests cannot take place due to the measures put in place to fight the pandemic, women are silenced. The medieval forces behind these proposals know massive protests would have been organized across the country to fight these draconian bills. Enough is enough” said Irene Donadio, IPPF EN Senior Adviser. We call on Members of Poland’s Parliament to listen to the voices of women and families across Poland, to protect women’s safety and young people’s health and to reject these regressive bills. The Polish government must prioritise people’s health and wellbeing, democracy and the rule of law. Exploiting the health crisis to attack women’s health care is reckless, cruel and a guarantee of aggravated human suffering.   For more information or an interview please contact: Irene Donadio, Senior Adviser at IPPF EN, [email protected], +32 491 17 19 390