This year marks the sixth incarnation of the UN’s initiative – 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, with the theme for 2018 being #HearMeToo. The focus is on engaging local, national, regional and global women’s movements in an inclusive and diverse manner to represent all women.
It is fitting then, that MCWH had its EQUAL Network meeting just last week. At the end of last year, the EQUAL Network was created as a means of connecting Victorian migrant women’s organisations and groups to share experience and expertise. Last Monday. we hosted the second EQUAL Network meeting with representatives from African Family Services, Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights, Australian Vietnamese Women’s Association, Doncaster Women’s Friendship Group, InTouch and Gabriela.
As well as discussing the great work each organisation and group has done with and for migrant women over 2018, the network also discussed what is currently missing in their respective spaces for the prevention of gender-based violence. Some of the key issues echoed by many were:
- Providing practical resources to migrant women experiencing violence;
- Ensuring that the gaining of women’s trust is at the forefront of all interactions;
- Facilitating the sharing of resources and information among members of the network and broader communities.
In keeping with our theme of solidarity and working together, the EQUAL Network also touched on the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, which, starting on 25th November – the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – and going until 10th December – Human Rights Day, an important time to galvanize action to end violence against migrant women and girls around the world. Together with the EQUAL network, we aim to amplify migrant women’s voices and showcase the leadership that they take in their lives, communities, workplaces and families every day. Migrant women’s leadership is a central component in the process of preventing gender-based violence.
Throughout the campaign, we will be highlighting some of the nearly 500 statements and anecdotes we have received from women who we have met through our training and health education programs this year.
These statements and anecdotes, which express migrant women’s dreams, opinions and priorities, and are written on leaves as part of our “Leave No Woman Behind” initiative, will be shared on our social media platforms throughout the coming weeks. We hope you will hear them and share them, helping us keep migrant women’s voices and their concerns at the centre of our action around gender-based violence, were they should be!