Gamag Europe, the European regional chapter of GAMAG, the World Alliance on Media and Gender has been invited to moderate the online event Fighting Gender-based violence in the Four Motors for Europe, that has taken place last Wednesday as a side event of the II Congress on the Eradication of Gender-Based Violence, organized by the Catalan Women’s Institute. It was our colleague from GE, Elena Tarifa, who moderated this panel on the third day of this online congress edition, with more than 1600 participants during the three days it lasted.
This II Congress on the Eradication of Gender-Based Violence had the specific goal of highlighting the impact of the pandemics and lock-down from the gender-based violence point of view, as well as the strategies, alliances and learnings that have been generated among different social agents in the time of Covid-19.
This side event then pretended to share experiences on the way the pandemic has affected the services and actions addressed by the the four regions part of the Four Motors of Europe alliance to fight gender-based violences and which are the learnings and challenges in this area now
The Four Motors For Europe is one of the most stable interregional cooperation network in Europe, signed in 1998 by 4 of the most highly industrialised and research oriented regions in the EU: Auvergne-Rhröne-Alpes in France, Baden-Würtemberg in Germany, Catalonia in Spain and Lombardy in italy with the aim of increasing the economic, scientific, social and cultural potential of these territories and actively participate in the European construction, mainly through joint positions.
Since september 2020, Catalonia holds the presidency of the Four Motors for Europe network. The program of the Catalan presidency is based in the 17 SDGs of the 2030 Agenda, as well as in the European Green Deal and it includes the development of 30 specific initiatives, one of them this side event.
Laura Martínez, president of the Institut Català de les Dones, the organizer of the Congress, said at the end of the conference that: “We can only overcome the pandemic and any other future threat if we invest in the promotion of human rights, gender equality and sustainability. ”. She added that “the pandemic has aggravated structural gender inequalities.”
The opening of the event was made by Elisabeth Nebreda, Secretary of Foreign Action and EU, of the Catalonia Government.
Then there was the turn of Núria Ramon, director of the Catalan Women’s Institute, who explained how the services for women suffering gender-based violence had to be adapted to lockdown in Catalonia, and of Andrea Bosch, from the coordination office of the working group of autonomous shelters for women in Baden-Württemberg, who exposed the complexity of co-financing for work in this region “a growing lack of safe spaces and places for women and their children, the complex reorganization as well as all the processes and restrictions imposed by the pandemic. During this time the ability to lower the risk of infection is being reduced. We are going to look for new spaces such as rental apartments and other alternatives.
Anna Lorenzetti, coordinator of “Gender violence: legal and psyco-social issue project” and associate professor in Constitutional Law at the University of Bergamo explained the difficult situation they had to go through in their region, one of the most impacted by the pandemic, and how women suffering domestic violence could contact with the support services by giving a secret code in pharmacies. Finally, Cécile Langeois, regional deputy director in charge of women’s rights and equality in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, took the floor and talk about how they establish a specific phone line “Ne frappe pas” to denounce domestic violence during lockdown and expressed the need of working in network with other regions in Europe so to eradicate gender-based violence and face the effects of the pandemic on it.
Also participating during these days in the Congress was Rita Segato, an Argentine anthropologist and feminist activist. This researcher is known for her work focused on gender issues in indigenous peoples and Latin American communities, sexist violence and gender relations, racism and colonialism. She affirmed that gender relations are a field of power and that it is a mistake to speak of sexual crimes and not crimes of power, domination and punishment. He coined the term femigenocide to describe crimes committed against women that achieve the degree of against humanity or genocide and that do not prescribe. The sociology professor at the UB, Núria Vergés, also spoke about the crisis of the priests and its impact in times of pandemic.