“Violence against women and girls is still one of the most serious human rights violations across Europe and throughout the world, deeply rooted as it is in multiple forms of gender inequality and discrimination. Despite progress, better laws and better policies in many countries, women’s rights remain fragile: they are among the first to be curtailed when democracy is under threat,” declared PACE President Tiny Kox on the eve of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November).
“We must continue fighting for equal rights if there is to be an end to violence against women and girls one day. Women and girls need equal access to resources and opportunities, enabling them to control their own choices and destinies, and women and men must pull together to achieve this. Men and boys must also be key players to ensure gender equality and the prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls,” the President further emphasised.
“To effectively combat violence against women, we must change the patriarchal mindset that perpetuates and normalises unequal power dynamics which are the core challenge to gender equality. The first step towards meaningful change is empowering women and girls in all their diversity. In this context I heartily welcome the recent launch of the PACE Vigdís Prize for Women’s Empowerment,” declared the Assembly’s General Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Etilda Gjonaj (Albania, SOC).
“It is paramount we support enhanced access to education, economic resources with a focus on gender budgeting and access health information, as well as increased involvement in decision making for women and girls, thereby contributing to dismantling existing power imbalances and creating a more just and equitable world for future generations. We need to work with national parliaments, engage with civil society and collaborate with other stakeholders. By addressing the root causes of gender-based violence, the Assembly aims to pave the way for widespread ratification and implementation of the Istanbul Convention across all Council of Europe member states, with the ultimate goal of fostering gender equality and eradicating violence against women at its core,” she concluded.