Speaking on the occasion of International Women's Day, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Liliane Maury Pasquier urged strong action against sexism and violence against women, driven by ongoing inequality between women and men.
“What the #MeToo movement revealed is just the tip of the iceberg. Alas, that is only one of the many faces of violence against women, ranging from sexism and harassment through to physical violence, beatings, rape and murder,” she pointed out.
“To truly eradicate the roots of violence against women, we need women and men everywhere to take a strong stand, greater numbers of women in politics, and stronger legal tools,” she said.
"Violence against women is omnipresent; it affects all areas, undermining the very foundations of our democratic societies. That is why I invite you, on this Women's Day, to mobilise to stop violence against women by declaring:
#NotInMyHome, #NotInMyCity, #NotInMyOffice, #NotInMyUniversity, #NotInMyHospital, #NotInMyFactory, #NotInMyCountry, #NotinMyClass, #NotInMyNeighbourhood...”
“In my own workplaces, the Swiss Parliament and PACE, I have already launched the #NotInMyParliament social media initiative which aims to stamp out sexism and violence against women, parliamentarians and parliamentary officials, in every Council of Europe parliament,” the President underlined.
“Sexism and violence against women lie on a continuum, and I see a direct line between the under-representation of women in politics, discrimination in public life and harmful stereotypes, on the one hand, and gender-based violence on the other.”
“I am deeply convinced that more women active in politics would help to create a more favourable environment. When women are no longer the exception in a predominantly male environment, new types of behaviour can emerge, a new ‘normal’ becomes possible. And ultimately, this allows mindsets to change.”
Finally, the President underlined the vital importance of legal tools and texts in combating violence against women, urging all countries that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention.
In November 2018 PACE launched a social media initiative to combat sexism, harassment and violence against women in parliaments, #NotInMyParliament. PACE members have committed themselves to take action in their national parliaments to eliminate such behaviour. PACE's action follows the recent publication of a joint regional study by the Parliamentary Assembly and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), which reports alarming levels of sexism, harassment and violence against women in national parliaments.