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Enabling Women for Democratic Change

7 March 2018

As we mark International Women’s Day, we look at EED’s contribution to empowering women in the democratic process. Read some of the stories of our partners who contribute to the positive change, working towards creating a more gender equal world.

Activists taking part in a rally for gender equality in Moldova organised by EED-supported Group of Feminist Initiatives © Dinu Bubulici

This year's campaign theme is #PressForProgress, highlighting a strong call for gender parity and an inclusive society, a key to progress in all spheres. EED is strongly committed to developing gender equality in democracy building and to creating equal power relations. In 2017, a quarter of our funded initiatives included a specific component related to gender. However, ensuring a gender perspective remains a constant challenge, in particular in societies where women are marginalised from decision-making and politics.

Empowerment of women has been a focus for a number of Syrian initiatives, including one offering capacity building and civic and political training for women refugees in the Beqaa valley in Lebanon.

The Group of Feminist Initiative is fighting sexism and breaking stereotypes about feminism in Moldova. In 2017, the initiative made waves by actively battling discrimination of women in the public sphere, particularly in politics. It backed a campaign to introduce quotas for women in parliament and has since broadened its scope to raise awareness of other aspects of gender equality that are not explicitly tied to feminism.

"Post-Soviet societies are very patriarchal; notions of how men and women should interact are deeply ingrained", says Polina Ceastuhina, the co-founder of the initiative.

In Morocco, Hakima Lebbar of Galerie Fan-Dok has been very successful in re-igniting public debate about the issue of equality of inheritance, through literature, art exhibitions, and discussions. The project has received both international and local media coverage due to the participation of a Salafi cleric in the call for equating inheritance between men and women.

An initiative by a Lebanese NGO KAFA (“Enough” in Arabic) seeks to eliminate exploitation and violence against women. with a film tackling religious personal status laws that govern all family affairs. Renowned investigative journalist Diana Moukalled captured personal stories of women from very different backgrounds and religious groups to increase awareness of how these laws discriminate against women and perpetuate domestic and institutional violence against them.

Following the current societal developments and fuelled by movements like #MeToo, #TimesUp, we believe that this is the right moment to #PressForProgress. These stories are an insight to our partners' work - and just some of the many ways in which we all can contribute to the change.

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