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President urges a ‘cultural shift’ over violence against women

PACE President Liliane Maury Pasquier has urged a “cultural shift” over sexist violence in society, including by addressing sexist stereotypes and clichés.

Addressing the plenary of the World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg on its opening day, she told participants: “We must denounce and combat violence against women as vigorously as possible through awareness-raising and prevention, in order to achieve a genuine cultural shift over sexist violence.”

The President, who moderated a panel during a plenary session, raised the issue of more subtle obstacles to gender equality, such as “stereotypes and cliches” about the respective roles of women and men in society which continued to exist. “We sometimes repeat these stereotypes and clichés in our behaviour – or even reinforce them – without realising that we are doing so,” she pointed out.

“Sexist stereotypes and the discrimination which flow from them are one of the major obstacles to a true equality between women and men. And violence against women is a direct consequence.”

The President also drew attention to the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention, which she said was a vital tool for reducing violence against women.