Building Constituencies for Equality and Justice
Our Building Constituencies for Equality and Justice theme came out of the entry point of 'Voice'. From women's ability to exert control over the decisions that affect her everyday life to issues of representation and political effectiveness in institutions at all levels.
Our projects under this theme look at both how to change institutions to make them more accountable and responsive to women and at processes of policy change, alliance and coalition building that can bring about and support these changes.
A sample of our activities around this theme over the last year includes:
|After the Carnival parade in February 2007 to protest against the failure of the State Governor to create a Secretariat for Women’s Policies – featured on YouTube (see link), to popular acclaim – NEIM have now been approached to work with the State and Federal Governments on women’s policies. Cecilia Sardenberg has been invited to join the Advisory Committees of the Federal Government Special Secretary for Women’s Policies, the Pro-Gender Equity Programme and the Women and Science network. NEIM are also continuing to use the Carnival as a space for activism on women's issues. (See also: link to original report.)|
In Brazil, Ana Alice Costa from NEIM sought to turn an emerging influencing opportunity into an action research project aimed at enhancing women’s representation in national politics. In collaboration with AGENDE (Actions in Gender, Citizenship and Development), Casa da Mulher do Nordeste's Mulher e Democracia (Women and Democracy) project, the network of women representatives in the National Congress, the Commission on Participatory Legislation (CLP), the Commission on Social Security and the Family (CSSF), the Commission on Human and Minority Rights (CDHM) and the Commission on the Constitution, Justice and Citizenship (CCJ) of the Chamber of Deputies and with support from DFID-Brazil, she co-organised a seminar, in June 2007, that brought together international experiences of the successful implementation of quotas to explore lessons that Brazil might take into the political reform process. The seminar, 'Women's Pathways into Power: International Experiences of Affirmative Action', took place inside the National Congress itself, on the very day that delegates were due to vote on proposals for political reform. Speakers included Julie Ballington of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Rwandan MP Juliana Katengwa, IDS researcher Naila Kabeer and Palestinian women's rights activist, Suha Barghouti. The vote was adjourned, but the buzz the seminar generated will continue to fortify efforts to change the face of Brazilian politics in favour of women.
The Maria da Penha Law was passed in Brazil on 22 September 2006 and was the first federal Brazilian Law addressing violence against women.
Cecilia Sardenberg and Silvia de Aquino are National
and Regional Coordinators of the Maria da Penha Law
Observatory that is monitoring the implementation of
this new legislation around domestic violence in all 27 of Brazil’s states.
They have convened a consortium of nine research
centres and feminist NGOs, that won a grant from the
Brazilian Ministry of Public Policy for Women to create the Observatory. Within their positions on the observatory they are investigating women's struggles and pathways for the implementation and monitoring of public policies addressing violence against women.
They have participated in meetings of the Women’s Rights Commission of the State Parliament, a public meeting on ‘The Reform of the Justice Sector of the State of Bahia and the Creation of the Domestic and Familiar Violence Against Women Courts’ in August. See project update.
See also Takyiwaa Manuh's article on Domestic Violence in Ghana for Open Democracy under their 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence theme.